Sunday, August 12, 2012

Newport Jazz Festival 2012 Review

Now that we are basking in the afterglow of the most famed and historical annual event in the jazz world, it is time to review the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival. The lineup featured great jazz artists; grand masters and young lions, modern progressives and traditional purveyors of bebop standards.

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
Saturday Tent stages
  • Jack DeJohnette Group
  • Dafnis Prieto Sextet
  • Dave Douglas/Joe Lovano Soundprints
Sunday Fort Stage
  • 3 Cohens
Sunday Tent stages
  • Miguel Zenon Rayeula Quartet
  • Rudresh Mahanthappa Samdhi
  • John Hollenbeck Claudia Quintet+1
Below are some of my favorite pictures that I took at the festival, but please see my entire picture gallery here.

(l to r, t to b) Joe Lovano, 3 Cohens, Dana Leong, Pat Metheny, Me with Anat Cohen, Rudresh Mahanthappa

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.

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