Jazzmobile Summerfest, Newport Jazz Festival

Ron Scott | 7/11/2019, 3:23 p.m.
Despite the metamorphoses of Harlem—or plain old forced gentrification—there has been one constant mainstay in Harlem and that is Jazzmobile, ...
Barry Harris

The festival was established in 1954 by Elaine Lorillard. She and husband Louis Lorillard hired George Wein to organize the first festival and bring jazz to Rhode Island. Since that time the most established and emerging musicians have performed. Some artists on the 1956, July 5-7 roster included; Count Basie & His Orchestra, Charles Mingus, Sarah Vaughan, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Anita O’Day, Duke Ellington & His Orchestra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars, the Dave Brubeck Quartet and Toshiko Akiyoshi.

This 2019 festival will feature NEA Jazz Master, multiGrammy award and Oscar winner pianist, composer Herbie Hancock who has appeared at Newport with the Miles Davis quintet that redefined jazz music. On this festival outing as the Artist-in-Residence he will be joined by the festival’s artistic director, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta. Another Miles alumni of that great quintet was bassist Ron Carter, who will be performing with his trio.

Jon Batiste & Friends will also appear. There are entirely too many artists to name but here are a few of my top picks; the vocalists Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Memphis Soulphony, Buika the Spanish singer poet, composer and music producer (who has a cult following much larger and international but similar to Amy Winehouse and the French singer Édith Piaf). Her music influences range from jazz and flamenco to soul and African polyrhythm. During an interview with her two years ago at South Africa’s Joy of Jazz Festival, Buika said, “I see it as music, good music without any categories.”

Gary Bartz 50-year anniversary of “Another Earth” featuring Ravi Coltrane with special guest trumpeter Charles Tolliver (produced by Revive Music); Ravi Coltrane/David Virelles (another incredible young pianist from Cuba), his combination of classical music studied in Cuba, African melodies and NYC avant-garde culture will make for an exciting duo; Marika Hughes The New String Quartet (the cellist always swings her audiences to the edge of the river with infused rock, classical, jazz and whatever else she and the strings invoke). Whenever the saxophonist/clarinetist, composer, and visual artist Matana Roberts is performing it is my mission to be there. She takes you into the deep deep waters, she is a satirist, who takes time out for political commentary.

Joel Ross, the vibraphonist from Chicago is a force to any band he plays with. For this Newport date he steps in with his newly formed band “Good Vibes” and with a new debut release by the same name. The drummer Billy Hart now in jazz legend territory will appear with his long standing quartet; saxophonist Mark Turner, pianist Ethan Iverson, and bassist Ben Street.

There is a lot of talk about saxophonist, composer Kamasi Washington; for me he has that Sun Ra Arkestra vibe. The Arkestra will also be there and the inclusion of the hip-hop philosopher Common just solidifies that words of hard truth will be swinging through the house. The saxophonist Marcus Strickland and Twi-Life are always working on something captivating.

For a complete schedule and tickets on the Newport Jazz Festival log on to www.newportjazz.org.