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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

It’s kind of neck and neck for the best moment in the veteran threesome’s gig. Bassist Reggie Workman, Andrew Cyrille, and Oliver Lake had just sliced their way through a tranquil passage that allowed silence to be their fourth band member, and some Lake sopranino chatter was messing with the negative space as the bassist began explaining the theatre background to his next piece. As he began accelerating his spin on Othellotexts, his acting became increasingly animated, and when it came time to reference Desdemona’s soft tears, he threw the Bard an editor’s note: “Lighten up, Willie.” Perfect. When the next tune began, Cyrille was pummeling every tom in site, illustrating how he earned his rep as a master percussionist, and applying enough momentum to make it feel like we were rolling on the Acela to Boston. At its final stop-beat, the 78-year-old smacked the snare dramatically and leapt to a standing position, à la the D.C. hardcore band Bad Brains’ drummer H.R. flying into the rafters of a club back in the punk rock days. Turns out his fluid uproar was a tribute to Art Blakey.

Originally Published

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.