Sunday, August 8, 2010

Newport Jazz Festival 2010

As I write this I can still hear the muffled sounds of Chris Botti wafting over the bay from Ft. Adams into my living room. I am now relaxing after a marathon couple of days that I'll try to recount here...

What I Heard:
Darcy James Argue and the Secret Society
Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra
Chick Corea's "Freedom Band" with Roy Haynes, Kenny Garrett and Christian McBride
Anat Cohen
Ben Allison Band
Gretchen Parlato
and snippets of many others.

Also, as if the lineup on Saturday weren't enough, I trekked up to Acton to hear Jerry Bergonzi and Phil Grenadier on Saturday night.

What I (sadly) Did Not Hear:
Any real representation of the local New England scene.
Yes, there was a septet from the Berklee Global Jazz Institute on Saturday morning at 11:00, but in a region where a partial list of local cats includes:
Jerry Bergonzi
George Garzone
Hal Crook
Phil Grenadier
Greg Abate
Bruce Gertz
Rick DiMuzio
Jared Sims
The Fringe
and many many more, why no love for the local artists?

My only real frame of reference for big summer jazz festivals is the Chicago Jazz Festival in September. This has always taken place over several venues and stages (much like Newport), featured a great mix of local artists with national/international acts, even having a "local artist" stage for awhile (much unlike Newport), and was FREE (decidedly unlike the $75.00/day Newport festival).

Please let me be clear, the Newport Jazz Festival and George Wien is a blessing and an American institution. Consider the history: Duke's Crescendo and Diminuendo in Blue, Brubeck's many appearances, "Jazz on a Summer's Day" Trane's 1961 date...on and on. But, a festival that is considered to be the perfecter of the genre should, in this writer's opinion, do a bit more to support the "Blue Collar" jazz musicians who live and work in its shadow throughout the year.

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