[JPL] Newport

Eric Jackson eric-jackson at comcast.net
Wed Aug 16 09:56:49 EDT 2006

I just published this on the WGBH blog but since Tom And Steve posted their 
comments about Newport here, I figured I'd share my thoughts.

The JVC Jazz Festival at Newport, better known as the Newport Jazz Festival 
was this past weekend. WGBH was there, in lots of ways. About 4 years ago 
WGBH started going down on Sundays to the festival with a busload of Members 
and supporters. This year we went down both Saturday and Sunday. Kevin Ball 
and I were on the bus Saturday and on Sunday, I was joined by Steve Schwartz.

‘GBH staffers were busy onstage and backstage. Al Davis, Kevin Ball, Ron Gill, 
Steve Schwartz and I did a lot of the onstage introductions. Backstage, we 
scurried about with mic in hand, doing a number of interviews. Jason Moran, 
George Benson, McCoy Tyner, James Carter, and Andy Bey are just some of the 
performers WGBH folks were able to interview.

Being busy does have a cost sometimes because you just can’t be in two places 
at one time. On Saturday I had just walked off the stage from introducing 
McCoy Tyner when I heard a voice over someone’s walkie-talkie asking, “Have 
you seen Eric Jackson?” They were looking for me to rush to another stage to 
introduce Cyrus Chestnut. A similar situation happened the next day. I 
introduced Savion Glover on one stage and as soon as I came off the stage I 
was taken by golf cart to another stage to introduce James Carter. I guess 
the multi-stage approach to jazz festivals always causes a kind of dilemma 
for festival goers as they try to figure out who they want to see.

My favorites on Saturday were McCoy Tyner with that all-star band he had with 
him and Cyrus Chestnut but Al Jarreau and George Benson, who performed 
several tunes together, were the obvious crowd pleasers. Benson just played 
and sang hit after hit. They both mentioned they have a new album coming out 
shortly on Concord where they perform together.

I really enjoyed the James Carter Organ Trio and their performance on the 
Pavilion Stage. A couple performances from the Waterside Stage that I saw 
were exciting. The wonderful vocalist and pianist Andy Bey gave a beautiful 
performance. Eddie Palmieri and Brian Lynch were billed as a duo but they 
were joined by saxophonist Donald Harrison who had played with McCoy’s band 
the day before. He stayed busy on Sunday, sitting in with Chris Botti, and 
his nephew, trumpeter Christian Scott. I didn’t catch Christian’s set but I 
did hear some of our WGBH travelers saying how much they enjoyed it. And what 
can you say about Dave Brubeck? He’s in his mid 80s and still making fresh 
vibrant music.

In addition to the good music, Newport is always a good time. Most of the 
folks are very friendly. You can hear conversations starting between festival 
goers as people introduce themselves. With the beautiful weather we had this 
past weekend and the wonderful location by the water, it was a great weekend! 

Eric Jackson
8 pm - mid Mon - Thurs
WGBH Boston
89.7 FM

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