[JPL] Newport

TomtheJazzman tomthejazzman at embarqmail.com
Tue Aug 12 23:21:23 EDT 2008

I certainly have a different opinion regarding the JVC Newport 
Festival.  The URBAN music did not fit with the other performances.  
Aretha is not what I am talking about.  Le;isi and Anthony Hamilton 
certainly did not fit the mold of this Festival and had very few 
followers there.

Chris Potter really showed he is the heir apparent to the Michael 
Brecker followers in his performances with Dave Holland, Herbie Hancock 
and Marco Benevento.   Anat Cohen, say ANOT, was awesome with George 
Wein as was Esperance Spalding.  The Mark Rapp band played some very 
tasteful selection with a new release coming next month.  He plays a 
cool trumpet.   It was good to see and hear Jimmy Cobb playing with 
George Wein, expecially being the lone survivor of the Kind Of Blue Band 
with Miles.  Jimmy has a new release on Chesky.  Another of the 
highlights was Warren Vache with John Alred on Trombone.

Lionel Loueke did not disappoint in his own set or while playing with 

Many of us commented we were disappointed that Chris Botti played the 
same set Friday night and Saturday afternoon with the same jokes and 
comment.  Mark Whitfield and Billy Childs were killers as was Billy 
Kilson on drums.  Ledisi did the same set both Friday night and 
Saturday, but she has only one CD and not much book so that could be 

Herbie did a wonderful set as did Sonny Rollins.

The new organization, Festival Network is learning and will get better.  
Most and generally the festival was good but not one of the stronger 
festivals.  I thought the attendance was down quite a bit from previous 

Those are my few cents worth.

Dr. Jazz wrote:
> This week's sponsor:  Lisa Hilton
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>  Smooth mix of jazz legends and new faces in Newport
> By Steve Greenlee, Globe Staff  |  August 11, 2008
> NEWPORT, R.I. - The people who program the annual jazz festival at the 
> water's edge here always manage to assemble a balanced mix of the 
> music's most respected practitioners, its most promising upstarts, and 
> crowd pleasers who can sell tickets. This year the JVC Jazz Festival 
> outdid itself with a perfect blend of the old and the new, of the 
> highly regarded and the highly entertaining.
> Over the course of two days in Newport's historic Fort Adams State 
> Park, 28 acts spread out across three stages, without a dud in the 
> bunch. The range of styles touched nearly every corner of what could 
> be considered jazz or its outliers.
> There was the tasteful, sympathetic interaction of bassist Charlie 
> Haden, guitarist Bill Frisell, and pianist Ethan Iverson, who gathered 
> just for the occasion. There was the infectious Latin jazz of 
> Guillermo Klein y Los Guachos, the pulsating funk of Soulive, and the 
> rock-band attitude of the Marco Benevento Trio, which covered songs by 
> Led Zeppelin, My Morning Jacket, and Deerhoof. Then there were the 
> superstars: jazz icons Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne 
> Shorter, and the marquee pop names of Aretha Franklin and trumpeter 
> Chris Botti.
> With music playing concurrently on the three stages, it was impossible 
> to catch more than a fraction of the action. Yet we sampled just about 
> everything, and - it being the season for such things - we feel moved 
> to hand out some medals.
> *Event*: The Newport debut
> *Gold medal*: Ledisi. If there had been a roof at the park, the singer 
> would have torn it off the sucker, with her hot-and-steamy blend of 
> R&B, funk, soul, jazz, and hip-hop. Drawing largely from her 
> Grammy-nominated album "Lost & Found," she jokingly threatened to stop 
> her set and go home if the people in the audience didn't stand up and 
> shake their booties. They obliged.
> *Silver medal*: Melody Gardot. The 23-year-old chanteuse, disabled at 
> 19 when a car struck the bike she was riding, more than lived up to 
> the hype surrounding her. She hypnotized us by opening with a bluesy 
> tune called "No More My Love" that was accompanied only by her own 
> snapping fingers.
> *Bronze medal*: Lettuce. The seven-piece funk outfit, whose members 
> met as teenagers at the Berklee College of Music, played a tight set 
> of greasy funk that recalled James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic, and 
> Earth Wind & Fire. Joined by JB's trombonist Fred Wesley, the band 
> generated so much excitement that hundreds of people skipped Aretha's 
> set on the main stage so they could hear the whole head of Lettuce.
> *Event*: The veteran performance
> *Gold medal*: Sonny Rollins. The titan of the tenor sax hadn't played 
> Newport in more than 40 years, but last night he owned it, with a 
> hard-blowing set that closed the festival. He improvised endlessly on 
> the repeating two-bar figure that serves as the framework of "Sonny 
> Please." He played ahead of time and against time, punctuating phrases 
> with quick jabs, shrieks, and honks. Be it burner or ballad, he blew 
> and blew, and he never ran out of ideas.
> *Silver medal*: Wayne Shorter. The legendary saxophonist's quartet - 
> including pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer 
> Brian Blade - constitutes one of today's finest working groups. It 
> brewed up a fiery marriage of postbop ideas and free improvisation 
> that dispensed with conventional notions of structure. Each song bled 
> into the next, with no regard for boundaries. The music was at once 
> coarse and gorgeous.
> *Bronze medal*: Chris Potter. It was hard to keep track of how many 
> times he took the stage - with Dave Holland, with Herbie Hancock, with 
> Marco Benevento - but his star turn came with his own group, 
> Underground. The quartet - which includes Adam Rogers on guitar, Craig 
> Taborn on Fender Rhodes electric piano, and Nate Smith on drums - 
> played modern postbop laced with fusion and funk. Leading off with the 
> tune that gave the group its name, the band put on a veritable clinic 
> in extended improvisation, each musician feeding off the other three 
> to build momentum.
> *Event*: The crowd rouser
> *Gold medal*: Esperanza Spalding. The Berklee grad (class of '05) and 
> Berklee instructor (hired in '05) drew four or five times as many 
> people as the small stage was intended to hold. Most of those who 
> showed up couldn't even see her. It mattered not. The joy created by 
> the effusive bassist and singer flowed through her audience. When she 
> scatted and sang wordless vocals through a celebratory tune called "I 
> Adore You," the feeling became mutual.
> *Silver medal*: Aretha Franklin. She's still got it, and she delivered 
> it, with a set that included her biggest hits - "Respect," "Chain of 
> Fools," "Natural Woman," "Freeway of Love" - and some nice twists, 
> including a version of "My Funny Valentine" that began as a soulful 
> ballad and evolved into a tour de force of R&B. One complaint about 
> the sound: Her big band and gospel choir sometimes drowned her out, 
> and the speakers crackled at several points.
> *Bronze medal*: Chris Botti. I am not yet a convert to Botti's 
> buttoned-down instrumental pop, but there is no denying the power of 
> his opening and closing numbers. He blew a furious flurry of notes 
> during a funky take of "When I Fall in Love" and then allowed his 
> terrific backing musicians to stretch out. He afforded them the same 
> luxury during the closer, "Indian Summer," which featured a riotous 
> drum solo by Billy Kilson. Too bad most of what came between was 
> milquetoast.
> *Event*: The audience irritant
> *Gold medal*: The airplane dragging a banner advertising auto glass 
> that flew over the main stage during Ledisi's beautiful rendition of 
> the Beatles' "Yesterday," right when she sang the line, "There's a 
> shadow hanging over me." There sure was, and it ruined half your song.
> *Silver medal*: The cigarette and cigar smokers who puffed throughout 
> the festival, with no regard for their neighbors at a lung's length 
> away on every side. Would it kill you to step away from the masses 
> when you need to light up?
> *Bronze medal*: All the boors who think it's OK to yak incessantly 
> during the music. True, the lawn at Fort Adams is not a jazz club, but 
> there were half-hour breaks between sets. Save your lengthy 
> conversations for then.
> /Steve Greenlee can be reached at greenlee at globe.com 
> <mailto:greenlee at globe.com>./
> © Copyright <http://www.boston.com/help/bostoncom_info/copyright> 2008 
> The New York Times Company

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