Top 10 Moments of the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival

From bent bop to old-school blues to pulse and skronk, this year’s fest had a lot going for it

George Clinton at the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival
George Clinton at the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival (photo: Marek Lazarski)


It’s helpful that, at age 77, George Clinton has a bit of belly. When you’re sporting a T-shirt that features your key album covers, and those key albums stack up to double digits, you can use some extra real estate. Uncle Jam announced his retirement earlier this year, so go ahead and deem these final tour dates a victory lap for a sage R&B architect and funk icon whose vision has brought the world some of its most irresistible grooves. Those grooves were in full effect during the fest’s closing set, where Clinton and crew cranked the volume and brokered a splash of next-level elation from the crowd. The stage was filled with 15+ musicians, and those numbers more than doubled when a bevy of audience members were invited up to keep the party going. The leader was beaming, his many accomplishments—from sustaining a band for a half-century to dispensing tumultuous joy on the reg—playing out before his eyes.

Jim Macnie

Jim Macnie is a music writer who contributes to DownBeat and blogs at Lament For a Straight Line. He’s been working in digital media since since 2000, initially as’s Managing Editor and, currently, as a Senior Producer and Editor at Vevo. He enjoys Little Jimmie Dickens, Big Joe Turner and Medium Medium.