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Review: The Newport Jazz Festival 2014

At 60, not only still going, but still growing

Anat Cohen and the Newport All-Stars, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Bobby McFerrin, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Cécile McLorin Salvant, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Dee Dee Bridgewater, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Django Festival All-Stars, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Darcy James Argue Secret Society, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
George Wein, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Dick Hyman, Jay Leonhart and Howard Alden, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Gregory Porter, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Joey DeFrancesco, David Sanborn, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Lee Konitz and Grace Kelly, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Miguel Zenón and the Identities Big Band,Newport Jazz Festival 2014
SFJAZZ Collective, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Stefano Bollani and Hamilton de Holanda, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Trombone Shorty, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Warren Wolf, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Jon Baptiste, Backstage at the 2014 Newport Jazz Festival
David Sanchez and Mao Sone Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors featuring David Sanchez, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Dave Douglas, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Miguel Zenón, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Henry Cole with Miguel Zenón & The "Identities" Big Band, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Cecil McBee, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Cécile McLorin Salvant, Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Dave Holland and Kevin Eubanks, Newport Jazz Festival, 2014

The 60th anniversary Newport Jazz Festival added an extra full day of music to its usual two, going out of its way to use its three stages to tout the music’s future while remaining mindful of its past. And the wet weather Saturday and Sunday did little to dampen festival-goers’ spirits.

Friday’s daytime sets were added largely to give exposure to newcomers of various types, kicking off with the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors (led by David Sanchez) and University of Rhode Island Big Band before moving onto primarily still young but solidly established pros. Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society was next onto the Ertegun Fort Stage (i.e., the main one), up against Mostly Other People Do the Killing on the CB Harbor Stage. The former showed off mostly unrecorded music, including tributes to computer science pioneer Alan Turing (“Code Breaker”) and rocker Levon Helm (“Last Waltz for Levon”) and the premiere of a new work commissioned by the festival, titled “Tensile Curves,” which Argue said was inspired by a famous moment from Newport’s past. He’d normally give the audience three guesses, Argue teased the crowd, “but you’re just so hip, I wouldn’t dare.” (That telltale phrasing suggested Duke Ellington’s famous, career-resurrecting 1956 performance, and sure enough, the new work was based on “Crescendo and Diminuedo in Blue,” but with Paul Gonzalves’ epic tenor sax solo stripped out and the piece refocused on Duke’s piano work.) Festival founder George Wein, indulging the sweet tooth many of his generation share for big bands, caught most of the Argue set from his golf-cart “Weinmobile,” and doubled back later to catch Miguel Zenón’s impressive “Identities” Big Band (Zenón’s longstanding quartet augmented by a top-flight horn section) blaze through material from Zenón’s forthcoming album, due in November.

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Originally Published