Six Picks: 2018 Newport Jazz Festival Edition

(Above: Andra Day) The fabled Newport Jazz Festival returns this weekend. The original outdoor popular music festival has a spectacular line up as always. Old labels do not apply – like the Folk Festival, there is an incredible variety of music. Here are six favorites to start you off…

Charles Lloyd All Weekend

The heralded sax player is celebrating his 80th birthday by appearing each day of the festival. We’re especially looking forward to Sunday’s show, “Charles Lloyd and Friends” featuring Lucinda Williams, with Jason Moran, Marvin Sewell, Stuart Mathis, Reuben Rogers, and Eric Harland. He’s also playing as part of Sangam on Friday and the Charles Lloyd New Quartet Saturday. Lloyd has had a remarkable career in jazz – don’t miss him this weekend!

Grace Kelly Saturday

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Grace Kelly sure doesn’t fit the mold of the traditional jazz artist. A child prodigy, she wrote her first song at age 7, recorded her first CD at age 12 and performed at the first Obama inauguration at 16. The Boston native has since gone on to record several award-winning albums, play over 800 concerts and appearances on the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and the TV series “Bosch.” She’s played with everyone from Harry Connick Jr. to Wynton Marsalis to Questlove and Esperanza Spalding. She’s a Newport favorite and she’ll play the Quad stage Saturday at 12:30.

Andra Day Saturday

After illness forced her to cancel last year, Andra Day will make her debut at the Festival on Saturday. Day is known widely beyond the jazz world thanks to her 2016 album Cheers to the Fall which garnered a 2016 GRAMMY® Award nomination in the category of “Best R&B Album,” while the inspirational single “Rise Up” achieved a nod for “Best R&B Performance.” She’s simply incredible, as is clear in the video below. Don’t miss her as she closes the Fort Stage Saturday.

Pat Metheny Friday and Saturday

Guitar virtuoso Pat Metheny practically invented his own sub-genre, a style which blended  modern improvisation with the jazz tradition of melody, swing, and the blues. He’s performed with artists as diverse as Steve Reich, Ornette Coleman, Herbie Hancock and even David Bowie. He’s playing the Festival twice – at the Friday night Hall of Fame show and again on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 on the Fort Stage.

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic Sunday

The Newport Funk Festival? Not quite but expect the legendary George Clinton to shake things up Sunday when his band Parliament Funkadelic appears as part of their farewell tour. His groundbreaking combination of R&B and Funk in the 70’s has pretty much influenced everything in music ever since, and he was recognized for his accomplishments with an honorary Doctorate from the Berklee School of Music in 2012. He’ll be closing out the Festival Sunday on the Fort Stage at 5:35.

Artemis Sunday

Artemis is an all-star ensemble of women in Jazz comprised of members from the US, Canada, France, Chile, Israel and Japan. Players includes Renee Rosnes on piano, Cécile McLorin Salvant on vocals, Ingrid Jensen on trumpet, Melissa Aldana on tenor saxophone, Anat Cohen on clarinet, Noriko Ueda on bass and Allison Miller playing drums.  Check out their set Sunday.

Additional “don’t miss” acts include Laurie Anderson with Christian McBride, late night bandleader Jon Batiste, Jose James singing Bill Withers, jazz/hip-hop ensemble BADBADNOTGOOD and the innovative veterans Living Color, Sonnymoon, Jazzmeia Horn and more. Needless to say, every act at Newport Jazz is worth checking out – have a great weekend of jazz!

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