Dressing to the calendar and not the weather and we end up here; coughing, sneezing and headache. Double digit days into the month and it’s still a nip in the air; June can’t get here soon enough. We need that steady dose of 75/80-degree weather. That’s not all we should look forward to at the top of June. Blue Note New York is getting ready to kick off the summer with their 11th annual Sony presents Blue Note Jazz Festival. The festival kicks off on June 1 with a free show in Washington Square Park headlined by Robert Glasper in association with Washington Square Park Conservancy. This marks the start of Blue Note’s partnership with the Conservancy and the return of large-scale live music in the park. The full roster of shows for the month are as follows:
5/31 – 6/1 – DOMi & JD Beck – Blue Note New York
6/1 – Robert Glasper – Washington Square Park (FREE)
6/2-3 – Madeleine Peyroux – Sony Hall
6/2-5 – Kenny Garrett – Blue Note New York
6/3 – An Evening with Kenny G – The Town Hall
6/6 – Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Latin Experience – Blue Note New York
6/7 – The Robert Cray Band – Sony Hall
6/7-12 – Al Di Meola – Blue Note New York
6/8 – The Legendary RAKIM with Special Guest Ravi Coltrane – Sony Hall
6/10 – Fabrizio Sotti w/ Ice T & M1 of Dead Prez – Sony Hall
6/11 – Herbie Hancock w/ Special Guest Opener: Keyon Harrold – SummerStage (FREE)
6/13 – Raul Midón – Blue Note New York
6/13 – Bilal – Sony Hall
6/14 – Los Pericos – Sony Hall
6/14-19 – José James – Blue Note New York
6/15 – George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic – Summerstage
6/16 – The Zappa Band – Sony Hall
6/18-19 – Chris Botti – Sony Hall
6/21-26 – Dave Holland and Kenny Barron Trio with Johnathan Blake – Blue Note New York
6/22 – Big Bad VooDoo Daddy – Sony Hall
6/23 – Con Tumbao ft. Robert Ameen, Issac Delgado, Oscar Hernandez, Conrad Herwig, Pedrito Martinez – Sony Hall
6/26 – An Evening with Charles Lloyd w/ The Chapel Trio featuring Bill Frisell & Thomas Morgan + Kindred Spirits featuring Bill Frisell, Jason Moran, Reuben Rogers & Kendrick Scott – Sony Hall
6/27-29 – Theo Croker – Blue Note New York
6/29 – Harlem Gospel Choir Sings Nina Simone – Sony Hall
6/30 – Dizzy Gillespie Big Band – Sony Hall
6/30 – 7/3 – Macy Gray – Blue Note New York
The Blue Note Jazz Festival should be the perfect precursor for what goes down the following month as the Blue Note expands its reach and the impact of the brand to the left coast with the debut of the Blue Note Jazz Festival Napa Valley. This will mark the first Blue Note Jazz Festival presented as an outdoor, multi-day and multi-stage event. The especially intimate festival, with limited capacity, will be held at the historic Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena, Calif. on July 30 and 31.
Ironically this festival will also be set off with the talents of Grammy Award-winning multi-genre pianist, songwriter, and producer Robert Glasper, who serves as the festival’s Artist-in-Residence. Glasper’s set, hosted by comedian Dave Chappelle, includes performances by special guests Erykah Badu, Ledisi, D Smoke, Terrace Martin, and BJ the Chicago Kid.
“The idea for the Blue Note Jazz Festival Napa Valley came out of Robert Glasper’s month-long residency at the Blue Note New York, held each October and dubbed Robtober,” says Blue Note Entertainment Group President Steven Bensusan. “Glasper curates a month of shows and collaborations spanning across the genres of jazz, R&B, hip hop, soul and comedy resulting in impromptu performances by celebrities and unannounced special guests. It is our plan to create an outdoor festival style version of Robtober in the spirit of a traditional jazz festival featuring spontaneous collaborations and once in a lifetime improvised performance.”
The two-day, three-stage festival will feature performances by Maxwell, yasiin bey & Talib Kweli reuniting as Black Star, Thundercat, Maurice “Mobetta” Brown featuring Anderson.Paak, Flying Lotus, The Soul Rebels featuring GZA & Talib Kweli, Corinne Bailey Rae, Emily King, Keyon Harrold, Domi & JD Beck, Phony PPL, Chief Adjuah (formerly Christian Scott), Derrick Hodge, Th1rt3en (Pharoahe Monch, Daru Jones & Marcus Machado), Butcher Brown, Isaiah Sharkey, and Frédéric Yonnet. Honoring the festival’s spirit of collaboration, artists will sit in on each other’s sets.
“I can’t wait to hold a festival with some of my favorite artists along with my boy Dave Chappelle in Napa,” says Glasper. “On a vineyard with music and wine?! It’s going down! Come drink some wine with us!”
Blue Note Jazz Festival Napa Valley will also host a funk-filled after party for attendees on Saturday night, featuring the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown a.k.a. Erykah Badu plus special surprise guests. Word is the gig is already sold-out but hope rings eternal.
Over and out. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.