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Caramoor Jazz Festival 2011

Five diverse artists in a low-key, natural setting

Edmar Castaneda, Caramoor Jazz Festival 8-11
Fred Hersch, Caramoor Jazz Festival, 8-11
Jason Moran, Caramoor Jazz Festival, 8-11
Robert Glasper, Caramoor Jazz Festival, 8-11
John Scofield, Caramoor Jazz Festival, 8-11

You really couldn’t come up with a prettier setting for a jazz festival than the Caramoor Center for the Arts in Katonah, N.Y., about an hour north of Manhattan in Westchester County. Nestled among tall trees and part of an 81-acre former estate that also hosts an art museum, the outdoor Venetian Theater is tented to protect audiences from the elements (a plus on such a blisteringly hot day) and boasts wonderful sound and sightlines. Used for classical concerts as well as the annual jazz fest, Caramoor is a perfect day trip for city slickers who want to hear some of the most prominent jazz artists of the day without going very far to do so.

This year’s three-day festival had already hosted Renee Rosnes, Christian McBride, James Farm and others by the time it wrapped its 18th season on Sunday, August 7. Whether the relatively light attendance (the house was one-third to one-half filled at its peak) owed to the muggy, buggy atmosphere-the cicadas in the surrounding treetops provided plenty of sonic competition for the human musicians-or the fact that Newport, Litchfield and other jazz festivals were also taking place in the Northeast this weekend, Caramoor remained a low-key affair throughout the course of the day, with many ticketholders opting to take picnic breaks or stroll the grounds when the sweat began to drip too heavily.

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Originally Published