Wednesday, August 03, 2011
A Keyboard Kaleidoscope: Four Generations of Jazz Piano Perform at Newport Jazz Festival Presented by Natixis Global Asset Management
August 5 - 7, 2011 International Tennis Hall of Fame at Newport Casino Fort Adams State Park Produced by George Wein and the Newport Festivals Foundation(tm) Jazz Writer Eugene Holley Celebrates Pianists Performing at 2011 Newport Jazz Festival
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Sitting at the top of the ivory throne is the majestic, 6' 7", octogenarian pianist/composer Randy Weston: the music's most profound living link to Africa, born in Brooklyn to parents whose roots are in Jamaica, Panama, and the American south. Pianistically, he is a descendant of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Nat King Cole and John Lewis, which accounts for his storytelling, bone deep keyboard touch; anchored in the ancient, ancestral ache of the blood, sweat and tears of his people. Mr. Weston has written some of the most identifiable jazz standards of the modern era, including the hip-notizing "Little Niles," and the immortally cool "Hi-Fly." Unlike a lot of people who talk about Africa, Weston actually lived in the Motherland, ran a jazz club in Morocco, and established life links with the mysterious Gnawa musicians of that country. A recipient of an NEA Jazz Masters Award, and the co-author of a long-awaited autobiography, African Rhythms - co-written by Willard Jenkins - Weston comes to the Newport stage on Saturday August 6, 2011, with his African Rhythms Trio, featuring his long-time cohorts bassist Alex Blake and drummer Neil Clarke, for a sizzling and spiritual set for the head, heart and hips.
Another equally and eternally hip pianist is Spanish Harlem's indestructible pianist/composer/bandleader Eddie Palmieri. His driving rhythms and finessed phrasing perfectly bridge Afro-Cuban rhythms and jazz, with a drum-like, Thelonious Monk-meets McCoy Tyner-style dissonance that makes them dance from Havana to Harlem. He was an innovator of salsa music with his two-trombone La Perfecta groups in the sixties, and his amazing Fania records make him "The Sun of Latin Music." And he'll shine his Afro-Antillean, clave-coded rays on his generations of fans when he takes to the Newport stage on Saturday, August, 6 with his Latin Jazz Band featuring: trumpeter Brian Lynch, baritone sax master Ronnie Cuber, Louis Fouche on alto sax, percussionists Vicente "Little Johnny" Rivero, Jose Claussell, and Orlando Vega, and bassist Luques Curtis. Mr. Palmieri will bring some Cubop grooves worthy of Minton's Playhouse or the Palladium.
Michel Camilo - the Dominican Republic's answer to Art Tatum - is younger than Maestro Palmieri, but, as George Wein discovered years ago, and as many saw in his scene-stealing segment in the film Calle 54, he also brings the Afro-Caribbean heat to the mainland. A classically-trained pianist, who speaks the musical languages of bop, mambo and his native land's Afro-derived pambicherhythms, Camilo has released many critically-acclaimed recordings in an impressive array of settings, from solo, duo and orchestral. But the trio remains his best format, as evidenced by his new CD, Mano a Mano with master conguero Giovanni Hidalgo (recorded a killer album with Camilo entitled Hands of Rhythm in 1997) and bassist John Benitez. A refreshingly upbeat musician who always brings his best to the bandstand, Camilo and company will make your festival seat moot, because you won't be sitting down when they are through with you!
The term "last but not least" certainly applies to the thirty-something Japanese wunderkind Hiromi Uehara. A protégé of the legendary Ahmad Jamal, this baby-faced, Berklee-educated diminutive dynamo is exploring and incorporating the jazz piano tradition into her special brand of swinging Nippon soul. Equally adept in acoustic and electric settings, Hiromi is a once-in-a-generation combination of power, precision and passion that usually is not found in someone so young. On her latest CD, Voice, supported by bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips, Hiromi shows how 21st Century piano jazz is supposed to sound, especially when she puts her inventive vibe on "Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8, Pathetique," Whether she's in solo mode on August 6 or with the trio the next day, Hiromi offers a glimpse of jazz piano's future.
Produced by George Wein and the Newport Festivals Foundation, the Newport Jazz Festival Presented by Natixis Global Asset Management takes over Newport, RI, August 5-7 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame at Newport Casino and Fort Adams State Park. The Festival features Wynton Marsalis and Michael Feinstein "Come Fly with Me" with Special Guest Joe Negri on Friday, August 5. Don't miss Wynton Marsalis; Esperanza Spalding and Friends; Hiromi; Regina Carter's Reverse Thread; Al Di Meola World Sinfonia Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody Tour 2011 with Special Guest Gonzalo Rubalcaba; Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Band; Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue; Randy Weston's African Rhythms Trio; Michel Camilo "Mano a Mano with Giovanni Hidalgo and John Benitez; Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet; Joey DeFrancesco Trio; Grace Kelly with guest Phil Woods; Steve Coleman and Five Elements; Mostly Other People Do the Killing; and New Black Eagle Jazz Band; on Saturday, August 6.
On Sunday, August 7, catch Angélique Kidjo; James Farm with Joshua Redman,Aaron Parks, Matt Penman and Eric Harland; Charles Lloyd's Sangam featuring Zakir Hussain and Eric Harland; Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue; Hiromi: The Trio Project featuring Anthony Jackson and Simon Phillips; Mingus Big Band; Ravi Coltrane Quartet; Esperanza Spalding and Friends; Brubeck Brothers Quartet with Special Guest Dave Brubeck; Ravi Coltrane Quartet; Apex: Rudresh Mahanthappa & Bunky Green; Miguel Zenón presents the Puerto Rican Songbook with conductor/arranger Guillermo Klein; John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble; Avishai Cohen's Triveni with special guest Anat Cohen; Berklee College of Music: Mario Castro Quintet; Plus a special bonus set: A Meeting of Saxophone Masters featuring Steve Coleman, Ravi Coltrane and Miguel Zenón.
TICKETS & OTHER INFORMATION Tickets for the Newport Jazz Festival Presented by Natixis Global Asset Management are on sale worldwide through www.ticketmaster.com and www.newportjazzfest.net as well as by phone, by mail and at the new Festival office at the Alex and Ani store at One Bowen's Wharf during limited hours. General admission tickets (single-day passes only) also can be purchased at the Newport Visitor Information Center, located at 23 America's Cup Avenue. For general information, craft vendor information or to leave a message for festival staff, call (401) 848-5055. For more information, log on to www.newportjazzfest.net.
Partners Presenting sponsor Natixis Global Asset Management is one of the world's leading asset managers. The 2011 Newport Jazz Festival Presented by Natixis Global Asset Management also celebrates support from Alex and Ani (sponsor of the Alex and Ani Harbor Stage), Amstel Light, DownBeat, NPR Music, Jazz Times and travel partners JazzFest Travel Inc., Hyatt Regency Newport, The Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina, Marriott Newport and Hotel Viking Newport.
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Schedule Subject to Change
The 2011 Newport Jazz Festival® is a production of Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc., a pending 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, under license from Festival Productions, Inc. and George Wein; all rights reserved Media Contact: Carolyn McClair / CMPR (917) 686-0854 / Info@CarolynMcClairPR.com