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 Thursday, 21 August 2014
"Jazz Speaks for Life": The 35th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival, August 29-September 1 PDF Print
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   
Wednesday, 06 August 2014


“We’re proud of our great city, and through this festival, we’re able to show the world that Detroit is a vibrant, cultural hub of creativity and expression. Jazz is an inspiring genre, and we want to share its impact with as many music enthusiasts whenever possible. By producing the world’s largest free jazz festival, we’re able to do that.” --Gretchen Valdade (Chair, Detroit Jazz Festival Board of Directors)

Every Labor Day Weekend, one of America's most challenged cities becomes a preferred destination for thousands --make that several hundred thousand--jazz fans who make a beeline for the largest free jazz festival in the world. The 35th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival takes place August 29-September 1, spanning the central urban area from the banks of the Detroit River and Hart Plaza up Woodward Avenue to Camp Mauritus in the heart of downtown. That's about four square blocks encompassing five outdoor stages, a "Talk Tent," rows of culinary and merchandise tents, kids' activities, and two nights of fireworks, all supported by foundation grants and private and corporate donors, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Opportunity Detroit, Carhartt, Mack Avenue Record, DTE Energy Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Erb Family Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Kresge Foundation. In addition to music and Talk Tent interviews with artists, winners of two festival competitions will be announced -- for performance and composition.

Three Days in Jazz City: The 2014 Iowa City Jazz Festival PDF Print
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   
Monday, 28 July 2014

Jazz fest crowd on Iowa Avenue©Andrea Canter

Recipe for a perfect Fourth: Take one small cultural Mecca in eastern Iowa. Add a 24 -year tradition of presenting the world's finest jazz in the context of one of the most user-friend festivals of the summer. Toss in two days of gorgeous weather. And just to be a bit challenging, add in a third day of start-and-stop drizzle during the first two sets of music. End it all with holiday fireworks shot over the dome of one of the nation's most stately capitol buildings. And don't forget the obligatory brats, beans and cones--or your favorite ethnic fare. The 24th annual Iowa City Jazz Festival was all it was cooked up to be, and then some.  Running Thursday-Saturday this year -- a day earlier than usual, the festival had the additional last-minute challenge of moving the main stage from the usual location on the spacious (and partly shady) Pentatcrest lawn in the heart of the University of Iowa campus to its old home on the concrete intersection of downtown arteries Dubuque Street and Iowa Avenue, due to soggy conditions following heavy rains. But you would never know this was not the intended venue. 

The 60th Newport Jazz Festival - Coming August 1-3 PDF Print
Written by Sheila Horne Mason; Photographs by Kevin R. Mason   
Wednesday, 23 July 2014


Wynton Marsalis

The festival that started it all will be celebrating its 60th year on August 1, 2 & 3, 2014. The Newport Jazz Festival has long been considered by jazz musicians to be one of the highlights of the summer festival season, so it should be no surprise that for this landmark 60th anniversary, the festival is hosting an abundance of musical riches. The festival has showcased a “Who’s Who” in jazz since 1954. Numerous artists have recorded live albums there, and the 1958 festival was the subject of the iconic, groundbreaking documentary film, Jazz on a Summer’s Day. All the festivals in the world, large and small, renowned and obscure, owe a debt of gratitude to The Newport Jazz Festival.

Big Names, Local Stars, New Visionaries, More Venues, and a Bit of Rain: 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Fest PDF Print
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   
Monday, 21 July 2014

The Branford Marsalis Quartet headlined Mears Park Friday Night © Andrea Canter

The totally free "three-day" 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival really got its start in early June with the first of three Jazz in the Library gigs. The Saint Paul-centered event really expanded across the entire state as the festival-sponsored Jazz Central All-Stars launched a 3-month, six-city tour in late May. The festival's Lowertown/Downtown venues pushed beyond their usual boundaries to follow the new LRT Green Line along University Avenue, with six new "jazz stops" easily accessible via free rides on Light Rail. Names like Marsalis, Reeves and Krown shared raves with the likes of Aldana, Lea and Hagedorn.  With four active outdoor stages, more than two dozen additional club and concert venues, and more than 120 sets of music, an audience of over 20,000 enjoyed nearly three days of fabulous summer weather and endured one evening of torrential rain, forcing the final sets into alternative club spaces, with standing (or dripping) room only. The shows, nearly every set, went on without missing a beat, contributing to one of the most memorable jazz festivals in the event's sixteen-year history.

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center: Home of the TD James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival PDF Print
Written by Sheila Horne Mason; Photographs by Kevin R. Mason   
Thursday, 17 July 2014

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NPAC)

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark has become a major go-to venue for jazz lovers in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut tri-state area, with a year-round schedule of jazz performances. Just some of the artists to appear recently at NJPAC include Bill Charlap, Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding, Bernie Williams, Hilary Kole, Freddy Cole, and Audra McDonald (who just won a history-making sixth Tony award for her portrayal of Billie Holiday). NJPAC also continually hosts events dedicated to up-and-coming young artists.

Biggest Ever -- The 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival, June 26-28 PDF Print
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   
Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Main Stage at Mears Park©Andrea Canter

Officially, the totally free 16th Annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival gets underway on Thursday, June 28 with some afternoon gigs along University Avenue's new Green Line (LRT) before a more formal opening at Mears Park and the traditional Lowertown club crawl of Jazz Night Out, followed by two more days and nights of jazz and related roots music from Saint Paul's Lowertown to Downtown and beyond. And if you can't wait til Thursday, you can warm up with the final Jazz in the Library and Jazz Central All-Stars performances Wednesday evening, June 25.  Festival Director Steve Heckler expects around 30,000 music lovers of all ages to attend "the premier jazz gathering in the Upper Midwest....with an exciting array of international and local, professional and student artists... with a schedule that will constantly challenge you to make tough choices among stages."

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