The festival has three stages. The large main "Fort Stage" is host to the some of the biggest names in Jazz. It has open lawn seating and a beautiful view of the Newport harbor . There are 2 additional stages that are smaller more intimate settings under tents. Here, you will find young emerging jazz cats or established masters playing with their latest ensembles.
For me, the most interesting performances were ones that explored new sounds and stretched beyond traditional jazz bebop forms with free soloing, and unconventional composing. Dafnis Prieto's Sextet best exemplified that style of music with a powerful driving sound. Rudresh's Samdhi set combined rockin' jazz-fusion with Indian melodic influences. Dave Douglas/Joe Lovano's Soundprints Quintet blew freely within compositions inspired by Wayne Shorter.
Rather than reviewing all the performances we saw, I would refer you to the NPR's coverage of the Festival that has great audio and video recordings.
Here are my picks for the standout performances of the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival.
Saturday Fort Stage
- Pat Metheney Unity Band
- Jack DeJohnette Group
- Dafnis Prieto Sextet
- Dave Douglas/Joe Lovano Soundprints
- 3 Cohens
- Miguel Zenon Rayeula Quartet
- Rudresh Mahanthappa Samdhi
- John Hollenbeck Claudia Quintet+1
Hear some tunes from artists appearing at the festival on my Newport Preview podcast.
My live tweets during the festival, follow @DigginJazz for all my Twitter posts!
For more information, check out the official Newport Jazz Festival website.