“Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60”

Photo Credit Jimmy Katz

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Too remarkable an aggregation to pass up the MU College of Arts & Science in collaboration with the Jazz Series presents Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60. The seven-piece ensemble, in essence overflowing with talent, celebrates both the great history of the longest running jazz festival in the United States for its staying power for its ability to stay active as it moves into its seventh decade. George Wein, perhaps the best known music producer in the world, founded the festival in 1954. At 87, the feisty Wein still performs publicly as well as continuing on as the annual fete’s main “talent scout.”

Often the term “all-star band” gets bandied about far too often; not so in this case as Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60 brings together a septet comprised of some of today’s most noteworthy artists. Yet, this is a classic case of, despite the individuals’ respective abilities, the whole being even greater than the sum of its parts.

The concert repertoire will span the festival’s lifetime, as Jazz Series favorite Anat Cohen makes a return visit to serve as the ensemble’s musical director. The clarinetist/saxophonist will lead the septet through an iconic musical journey that visits the worlds of Louis, Duke, Ella and Miles – each frequent Newport Jazz Fest performers – to Latin, Brazilian and fusion musical explorations.

Joining Cohen on the front line: multi-Grammy nominated vocalist Karrin Allyson, the one-time Kansas Citian who sings fluently in four languages; 5-time GRAMMY®-winning trumpeter Randy Brecker, whose musical vocabulary has spanned virtually every style in his four-decade career; and guitarist Mark Whitfield, whose credits, appropriate to this tour, run from Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Clark Terry and Herbie Hancock to Sting and Diana Krall. Meanwhile, the rhythm section incorporates St. Louis native, pianist Peter Martin, who continues his musical relationship vocalist Dianne Reeves; bassist Larry Grenadier, a long-standing member of the Brad Mehldau Trio; and in-demand, first-call drummer Clarence Penn who, since bursting on the scene some 20 years ago, has appeared on more than 100 recordings.

Audio and Video

Thursday, Mar 20, 2014

"Jazz in the District"

Doors: 6 p.m. | Start: 7 p.m.

“A musical world traveler who likes to mix things up … [Anat Cohen is] passionately literate in music far outside her local circle [and] an improviser with gusto.”

- The New York Times

Danny Melnick, President of Absolutely Live Entertainment, L.L.C, the producer of the “Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60” Tour, in a communiqué to George Wein, Newport Jazz Festival founder, following the all-star group’s opening performance on  February 8 in Atlanta’s Schwartz Center for Performing Arts Emerson Concert Hall:

“George, the band did you, the Newport Jazz Festival and all of us very proud tonight. Two standing ovations - an incredible array of beautiful music, excellent playing and a perfectly paced concert… I am extremely excited about this tour!” – DM


Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60

Anat Cohen: Clarinet / Saxophones (Mus. Dir.)
Karrin Allyson: Vocals
Randy Brecker: Trumpet
Mark Whitfield: Guitar
Peter Martin: Piano
Larry Grenadier: Bass
Clarence Penn: Drums

Press Photos