In a 2017 interview with the Providence Journal, George Wein, the legendary impresario and founder of the Newport Jazz Festival remarked that “We can’t all be Charlie Parkers or John Coltranes, but we can be creative leaders. Create your own group, your own sound, and add to what jazz is.”

The 2018 edition of the Newport Jazz Festival presented by Natixis Investment Managers features a stellar assemblage of improvisers convening at Fort Adams State Park and the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino August 3-5, who provide impressive and evocative roadmaps to the future of jazz.

If you add up all of the years the individuals who make up Trio 3 – bassist Reggie Workman, saxophonist Oliver Lake and drummer Andrew Cyrille have been on the scene, it would be about 130 years. Collectively, they’ve worked with a virtual who’s who of music, from John Coltrane, Art Blakey, and Yusef Lateef, to The World Saxophone Quartet, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Cecil Taylor, to name a very select few. With Workman’s Philly-bred, bone-deep baselines, Lake’s searing, St. Louis-signature sheets-of-sound, and Cyrille’s Brooklyn-by-way-of-Port-Au- Prince percussion, this towering triad, has released nine recordings as a group, including their 2017 release, Visiting Texture. These three esteemed leaders come to the stage on Saturday, August 4, performing music clearly in the avant-garde genre, rendered in a unique form of “organic improvisation” as only they can deliver.

The Grammy-winning, Bay Area-born tenor/soprano saxophonist Joshua Redman, played at Newport with an all-star group, James Farm in 2011. He returns with a new aggregation entitled Still Dreaming featuring drummerBrian Blade (Joni Mitchell, Wayne Shorter, The Fellowship), bassist Scott Colley (Herbie Hancock, Andrew Hill, Pat Metheny) and cornetist Ron Miles(Redman, Bill Frisell, Wayne Horvitz). This ensemble pays tribute to the seventies supergroup, Old and New Dreams composed of Ornette Coleman’s ex-sidemen, including Redman’s father, Dewey on saxophone, trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Ed Blackwell. The younger Redman’s ensemble comes to Newport on Friday, August 3, no doubt performing selections from their new eponymously-titled CD, which bobs and weaves with Coleman’s angular, harmolodic lines. In 1959, Coleman released an LP entitled Tomorrow Is the Question!. This group is the answer.

Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis’ Second Classic Quintet were two dominate small ensembles of the sixties, with saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter as the link between the two groups. The Black Art Jazz Collective – trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, (Ravi Coltrane, Cassandra Wilson, Greg Osby), tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffrey (Mingus Big Band, Monty Alexander, Abdullah Ibrahim), bassist Vicente Archer (Robert Glasper, Donald Harrison, Kenny Garrett), pianist Xavier Davis (Betty Carter, Christian McBride, Freddie Hubbard), trombonist James Burton III (Slide Hampton, Roy Hargrove, Ron Carter), and drummer Johnathan Blake(Kenny Barron, Tom Harrell, Jaleel Shaw) – brilliantly blends the best of Blakey’s protean power and Davis’ finessed, controlled freedom into their own unique sound. They come to the Newport stage on Sunday, August 5, performing music from their new CD, Amor of Pride. This swinging sextet bops with no-nonsense, modern jazz, which never goes out of style.

The 2018 Newport Jazz Festival presented by Natixis Investment Managers takes place August 3 – 5 at Fort Adams State Park and the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino. Artists include Charles Lloyd’s 80th Birthday Celebration with three different bands; Andra Day; George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic; Jon Batiste; R+R=NOW; Alicia Olatuja; Michel Camilo; Grace Kelly; Laurie Anderson & Christian McBride Improvisations with special guest Rubin Kodheli; and many more.

Newport Jazz Festival’s official travel partner, WBGO Jazz 88.3FM, is offering Day Trips and an exclusive Weekend Package for festival fans. For more information, go to wbgo.org/Newport.

Natixis Investment Managers is the Presenting Sponsor of the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival and sponsors programs that help enrich the lives of individuals and preserve the cultural experience for future generations through music. In addition to Natixis Investment Managers, the Newport Jazz Festival also receives generous support from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, New Belgium Brewing and Eventbrite.

Newport Festivals Foundation fosters the legacy and expands the impact of its Festivals through educational initiatives that celebrate innovation while preserving the deep traditions inherent in Jazz and Folk music. The Foundation’s goal is to offer opportunity, inspire through exposure and facilitate the collection of resources needed for musicians to celebrate and innovate. The focus on creating unique experiences to spark engagement is accomplished through a variety of initiatives, including instrument donations and performances at schools throughout Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. For more information, please visit www.newportfestivals.org.

For tickets and additional information, go to www.newportjazz.org.

Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and serves on the Board of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and Lucy's Hearth. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.