Newport Jazz Festival 2018, Fort Adams, Rhode Island

Music keeps you young. One didn’t have to look further than 92-year old George Wein introducing 80 year-old Charles Lloyd on Saturday to figure that out. Wein, co-founder and patriarch of all things Newport Jazz, was delighted when Lloyd wanted to kick off his ninth decade at Newport and Wein bestowed him the honor of 2018’s artist in residence, with Lloyd performing in strikingly different musical settings over the festival’s three days.   Count myself lucky this year to cover both the Folk and Jazz weekends at the Fort and still had the glow from the Folk Festival as the town pivoted with ease from one to the other. Monday night was a table setter at the 5th Element for trumpeter Doug Woolverton and Joshua Hill, an up and coming pianist who sat in, and I would get to know better as the week went on (and so will you in the years ahead).   As with Folk the previous weekend, discoveries are at the heart of Newport Jazz. And while I consider myself pretty steeped in the stuff, I was familiar with, perhaps, a quarter of the acts coming into Friday. While Still Dreaming featuring Joshua Redman and Brian […]
Jun 08
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Reflections and Musings of a Jazz Fest Photographer – 2018 Edition

April 27 – May 6, 2018 Best Jazz Fest ever? It’s a tie between the last one and the next one. Jazz Fest 49 was no exception. Seven Fest days and 30 minutes of rain. Unheard of. Unexpected discoveries? Check. Food I’m still working off? Check. Love in an Elevator? Never mind. Yes, Aerosmith at Jazz Fest had some folks head scratching when announced, but they went over big at their only gig of the year. And, as any Fest vet knows, it ain’t about the BNAs (“big name acts”). While this year was solid with the likes of Sting, Rod Stewart, Beck, Jack White et al. who knew the place would be abuzz over Socks in a Frying Pan from Ireland? Aah, but I digress… This photographer is fortunate to have a few ease in days ahead of Fest and we got in the mood Thursday night with Tony Hall, Terence Higgins, Roosevelt Collier and Jonathon “Boogie” Long funking up Jimi at NOLA Brewing on Tchoup. Fueled by a bellyful of BBQ pork and house brew, this was a boatload of fun with plenty of room to move in the beer warehouse by day room. The playing was loose, […]

Newport Jazz Festival 2016

July 29-31, 2016 Newport Jazz. Coltrane’s last performance. History that reaches back to 1954. And, yes, the oldest annual jazz festival in North America is still under the stewardship of founder George Wein for one last year. Newport, along with the Monterey Jazz Festival on the West Coast in September, stands taller than the rest and for good reason. The stunning Ft. Adams setting, the showcase for fresh directions and emerging acts, and the legacy of musical giants past and present all converge for an event that has long been on my jazz bucket list. Having the good fortune to drop in at Newport Folk the past few years, this was my first shot at Newport Jazz, which retains the stage layout from the previous week’s Folk Fest. The smallest tent is barely more than a dozen rows deep, while the largest stage is set against a backdrop of breathtaking bay and bridge views. Both events are incredibly relaxed and attendance is capped at 10K, creating one of the more intimate festival experiences of any year. Sure, the crowd and vibe skew differently between weekends, but damn if jazz isn’t alive and well in the Northeast, and a younger Millenial […]

Lucinda Williams, Royce Hall

March 4, 2016 It seems many established acts are getting more artistically liberated in the deep end of their careers, or is that just me? Whether it’s an unusual union (David Crosby and Snarky Puppy come to mind in the moment), reaching way back into an early catalog, or running through entire albums from first groove to last, there’s a more untethered attitude towards a body of work than I ever recall. With a thriving concert renaissance, such deep track experiences and artistic reach have become especially rewarding for fans and bands alike (despite Billy Corgan’s distaste). Less constrained by sales and image, these can indeed be very satisfying times. Lucinda Williams knows this territory well. Long before Bruce rolled out The River from coast-to-coast, Williams played a 5-night stand at the El Rey Theatre running through her first five albums in their entirety in 2007. Yet, in the early days of her career, albums and tours had the frequency of a Terence Malick flick. Then “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” reached the masses and deservedly expanded her audience who mostly knew her tunes, but not the writer. A mighty vein was struck and an outpouring of excellent albums […]