Following this past weekend’s Newport Folk Festival at Fort Adams, the festivities continue with the Newport Jazz Festival taking place at the same location from August 4-6. It’s …
Following this past weekend’s Newport Folk Festival at Fort Adams, the festivities continue with the Newport Jazz Festival taking place at the same location from August 4-6. It’s considered to be the “Granddaddy of All Music Festivals” with it happening on an annual basis since 1954 and there’s a ton of history to go along with it. Notable performers since its inception include Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters and Frank Sinatra with more modern acts like Living Colour, Parliament Funkadelic and Norah Jones performing at recent editions of the festival. This year, the lineup is stacked with a mix of established legends, contemporary stars and talented up and comers taking part. To be in the know of who to see, here are five bands and musicians who deserve your undivided attention if you plan on attending.
Since the turn of the century, Kamasi Washington has utilized his stellar skills on the saxophone as a collaborator while playing with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Chaka Khan, St. Vincent, Run The Jewels and Flying Lotus just to name a few. It wasn’t until the release of his third album The Epic back in 2015 when he achieved his own level of stardom while becoming one of the premier forces in modern jazz. Along with his performance with his band, Washington is going to be following that up with a special set with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead on the same stage so make sure to stick around afterwards.
One of my favorite performances since I started checking out the Newport Jazz Festival over a decade ago was when Thundercat took the Fort Stage by storm in 2019. It was an unforgettable experience with constant energy flowing from him and his band with his R&B infused brand of funk getting the audience to move and groove. With this in mind, I can’t wait for his return to the same stage this time around and if it’s almost as good as his set from a few years ago then it’ll still be a special thing to witness.
The last day of Newport Jazz this year is the prime portion to check out if you can’t attend the entire weekend and Diana Krall is one of the reasons why. Her trademark contralto vocals have garnered an abundance of acclaim over the past 30 years along with her being one of the best-selling jazz artists during that time period. With 15 studio albums under her belt, it’s going to be interesting to see which songs Krall picks from her extensive discography for her upcoming performance.
Hailing from the birthplace of jazz in New Orleans, The Soul Rebels have a knack for collaborating with various hip hop artists and taking their music to a whole new level. I had the pleasure of witnessing this for myself last year when they took the stage at Big Night Live in Boston with GZA from the legendary hip hop group the Wu-Tang Clan and indie hip hop phenom Talib Kweli. For their performance this Sunday, Kweli will be joining them once again along with the iconic Rakim and it’s bound to be an unforgettable experience.
Finishing off the festival in pristine fashion will be none other than the master himself, Herbie Hancock. When it comes to genre-defying artists, Hancock is one of the pioneers through his experimentation with jazz fusion, funk and electronica during his career along with being one of the primary architects of the post-bop sound. It’s going to be great seeing him and his band perform to close out the weekend, so you shouldn’t leave early to try to beat the outgoing traffic.