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WIth the first wave of artist announcements expected next week, an e-mail earlier today from Newport Jazz Festival Producer George Wein introduced this year’s Artist-in-Residence, Charles Lloyd. The saxophonist will appear all three days at the festival, with a different act each day. Read Wein’s e-mail below for further details.

“It was late one summer evening, about 20 years ago, after the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. Charles Lloyd and I were at a hotel bar on Sunset Boulevard, a street of many broken dreams. At that moment, Charles and I bonded. His performance at the Bowl that night was a total triumph, an unbroken dream realized. We spoke for over two hours. We talked about Pres Hawk and the great tenor saxophonists that preceded him; he spoke lovingly of Billy Higgins, a drummer who meant so much to his life. We had a chance to talk and get to know each other not as producer to musician or vice-versa, but as two human beings related to one another by mutual respect and admiration.

Charles has played at Newport several times over the years. His wife, Dorothy, called me this past fall to let me know that Charles would be 80 years old in March 2018 and would like to celebrate with something special at the Newport Jazz Festival. The idea came up to have Charles as artist in residence. We were excited about the project as we haven’t had a musician in residence for many years and the thought of making this personal milestone for Charles the centerpiece of this year’s festival was impossible to resist.

Therefore, we proudly announce that Charles Lloyd will appear each day of the festival with a different one of his ensembles:

You’ll notice that one name remains constant each night with Charles: that of his drummer Eric Harland, who is as unique and fine a drummer as any in jazz today. If you’re a true jazz fan, you will want to catch all three of Charles’ performances. Charles’ music is always that of a group, not of a rhythm section supporting his virtuosity as a saxophonist. There is only one Charles Lloyd and I am glad he will be with us this year.”

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and more. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.