Tuesday, February 21, 2012
John Ellis & Double-Wide Bring "Wild and Festive, But Sophisticated" Music To Newport Jazz Festival on August 4, 2012
Producer George Wein Shares An Advance Look at the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival®
On Saturday, August 4, saxophonist John Ellis will take the Newport Jazz Festival® by storm when he leads his band Double-Wide - featuring sousaphonist Matt Perrine, drummer Jason Marsalis and organist Brian Coogan - in what he calls "very raucous, kind of festive, wild, carnivalesque, but sophisticated" music.
A Newport Jazz Festival video crew caught John Ellis at a recent performance at New York's Jazz Gallery, and he talked about returning to the renowned festival.
"I actually only played at Newport once before, and I feel very lucky to have had the chance to do it. I was actually in a band with Mos Def. I went to school with Robert Glasper and he called me to be a part of that project." said Ellis.
This year, Ellis and Double-Wide will perform music from his CD, Puppet Mischief, a project he started "after living in New Orleans and thinking a lot about the sousaphone and having the sousaphone as a bass line. We think the people in Newport will like it."
Held at two historic Rhode Island venues, the International Tennis Hall of Fame at Newport Casino and Fort Adams State Park, the Newport Jazz Festival has been the center of memorable performances since 1954 when NEA Jazz Master George Wein first produced the summer concert series.
"It's a magnificently beautiful setting," said Ellis. "But, I also enjoy the camaraderie amongst all the various bands. I saw so many people that I love, musicians that have been very influential for me were there."
Although he is only making his sophomore performance in Newport, Ellis feels a strong connection to the festival. "I used to have cassette tapes that I played in my car - and yes I'm old enough to have cassette tapes ... Monk & Miles live at Newport. Newport was this distant idea. I didn't even really know what it was exactly ... But I remember there was so much vitality in those recordings and I used to listen to them over and over and over again. Both the Monk set and the Miles set, which had Cannonball and Coltrane, have been tremendously influential since I first started."
What does John Ellis think about the future of Newport Jazz Festival? "It shows that George Wein has tremendous vision. Even in his 80's, he has been reaching out to the younger generations, the younger promoters and has really embraced the things that are happening that are new and that are still very relevant ... There's also a new spirit that he seems to be embracing and I think he's very consciously hoping that he can establish something that is going to continue and be very strong after he is gone. I think that is an amazing gift that he is giving us, the younger generation."
Stay tuned for more exciting news about the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival produced by George Wein and the Newport Festivals Foundation August 3 - 5. The complete schedule will be announced on Tuesday, March 13, and tickets will go on sale March 15. For more information on the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Festivals Foundation, visit www.newportjazzfest.net and www.newportfestivalsfoundation.org.
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Contact: Carolyn McClair / CMPR
(917) 686-0854 / Carolyn@CarolynMcClairPR.com