Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Some Hot Jazz and Blues Festivals

We are in the middle of the Festival season and there are any number of festivals of interest for Blues and Jazz lovers upcoming. As this issue gets circulated the annual Portland Waterfront Blues Festival and Mississippi Valley Blues Festival will have likely wrapped up as will the major Jazz Festivals in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal in Canada. This is a very selective list of festivals that include two I will be attending. First, three blues festivals, and then three jazz festivals.

John Primer will be laying down some real blues with no filler at the Pennsylvania and
Riverfront Blues Festival. Photo is from the 2005 Pocono Blues Festival. © Ron Weinstock
The 3rd Pennsylvania Blues Festival takes place at the Blue Mountain Ski Resort in Palmerton Pennsylvania, from Friday evening July 26. through Sunday July 28. Friday evening will feature the Lehigh Valley Blues Showcase with performers including Bev Conklin and Georgie Fame. There is a buffet available in addition to the music.  Saturday July 27’s line-up has performances by John Primer, Bonerama, Sista Monica, Guy Davis, Robert Randolph presents the Slide Brothers featuring Calvin Cooke, Chuck Campbell, Darick Campbell and Aubrey Ghent; and Robert Randolph and the Family Band.  OnSunday July 28, the lineup includes Alexis P Suter with both a gospel and a blues show; Eddie Shaw and the Wolf Gang; Johnny Rawls; Electro-Fi Canadian Blues Showcase with Harrison Kennedy, Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whitley; Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk, Ruthie Foster, and Bobby Rush (performing acoustic and full show sets). For more information (including directions and tickets) check out Blue Mountain’s website, I will be there.

James Cotton will be at the Riverfront Blues Festival
Photo from 2007 Western Maryland Blues Festival. © Ron Weinstock
The Riverfront Blues Festival takes place at Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park, Wilmington Delaware August 2 to August 4. The  lineup on August 2 includes John Primer, Moreland and Arbuckle, Lil Ronnie & the Grand Dukes and The James Cotton Band. On Saturday August 3 the performers include Eden Brent, Jimmy D. Lane, Eric Lindell and the Sunliners featuring Anson Funderburgh; and Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers Reunion Band. The lineup for Sunday August 4 includes The Lee Boys, Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’ Blues; and Elvin Bishop. For information on tickets and other matters visit

The Heritage Music Blues Festival takes place in Wheeling WV on August 9 to August 11. Blues highlights of Friday August 9 include Lionel Young and the Golden State-Lone Star Blues Revue featuring Anson Funderburgh, Little Charlie Baty, & Mark Hummel. Performers on Saturday, August 10 include Little G Weevil (IBC solo winner), Joe Louis Walker and Dr John. Sunday highlights include IBC band winner Selwyn Birchwood, Harrison Kennedy and Ruthie Foster. For more information, check out

Gregory Porter will be at the Newport, Chicago and Detroit Jazz Festivals.
My photo of him is from the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival
The legendary Newport Jazz Festival returns to the Rhode Island community Friday August 2 through Sunday August 4. Highlight of this year’s festival maybe the Wayne Shorter 80th Birthday Celebration and Chick Corea will be leading an All Star new band. It opens Friday night, August 2, Natalie Cole and the Bill Charlap Trio with Special Guest Freddie Cole.

Espernaza Spalding (seen at 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival) is at Newport this summer.
Photo © Ron Weinstock
The line-up on Saturday, August 3 includes Wayne Shorter's 80th Birthday Celebration: Wayne Shorter Quartet featuring Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci & Brian Blade plus special guest Herbie Hancock; Esperanza Spalding's Radio Music Society, Michel Camilo Sextet; Terence Blanchard Quintet; Robert Glasper Experiment; Gregory Porter; Bill Charlap Trio with special guests Bob Wilber & Anat CohenEdmar Castañeda with special guest Andrea Tierra; Lew Tabackin Quartet with Randy Brecker, Peter Washington & Lewis Nash; Ray Anderson Pocket Brass Band and more. 
The great Eddie Palmieri will be at the Newport Jazz Festival
He is pictured at the 2007 Duke Ellington (now DC) Jazz Festival. Photo © Ron Weinstock
The line-up on Sunday, August 4 includes Chick Corea & The Vigil with Christian McBride, Tim Garland, Marcus Gilmore, & Charles Altura; Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra; Dizzy Gillespie™ Big Band under the direction of Paquito D'Rivera; Joshua Redman Quartet; Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band; Steve Coleman Projects: Five Elements, Talea Ensemble and Duo with David Bryant; Jim Hall with Scott Colley, Lewis Nash and special guest Julian Lage; Dirty Dozen Brass Band; Jon Batiste & Stay Human  and more.

For more information on the Newport Jazz Festival (including travel pacakges through radio station WBGO), visit

Christian McBride leads his quartet at the
Chicago Jazz Festival. Photo from 2008
Duke Ellington Jazz Festival.
Photo © Ron Weinstock
Chicago and Detroit both host major Jazz Festivals over Labor Day Weekend. I will be attending the Chicago Jazz Festival that starts Thursday August 29 and runs through Sunday September 1. The Detroit Jazz Festival starts Friday August 30 and runs through labor Day, September 2.

There is quite of range of music at the Chicago Jazz Festival from the trad jazz of Fat babies to the cutting edge sounds of Hamid Drake (who is the Festival’s Artist In Residence), Fast Citizens and Jack DeJohnette who will lead all star special band that with Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell and Henry Threagill. The Chicago Jazz Festival is a free festival.

While the bulk of the Chicago Jazz Festival takes place at Millennium Park, on Thursday, August 29 performances take place at several locations including the Chicago Cultural Center at, 78 E. Washington with performers including Fat Babies, and the Harrison Bankhead Sextet. At Roosevelt University’s Ganz Hall at 430 S. Michigan Ave.there will be a 5:00PM performance of Hamid Drake’s Chicago Trio with Ernest Dawkins and Harrison Bankhead. That evening at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) is Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz -Jack DeJohnette: Special Legends Edition Chicago featuring, Muhal Richard Abrams, Larry Gray, Roscoe Mitchell and Henry Threadgill. 

Evan Christopher (see at d.b.a's in New Orleans) will bring his marvelous clarinet to the Chicago
Jazz Festival. Photo © Ron Weinstock
Starting Friday, August 30 performances are at Millennium Park. In the afternoon one can see bassist’s Christopher McBride’s Quartet;  the Ben Paterson Organ Quartet; the Mike Smith Quartet, and Hamid Drake with Michael Zerang, Eigen Aoki and Tsukasa drummers directed by Tatsu Aoki. Highlights of the evening performances Wadada Leo Smith’s Ten Freedom Summers, performed by WLS’s Golden Quartet and Pacifica Red Coral with video artist Jesse Gilbert; and Charles Lloyd and Friends featuring Bill Frisell.

On Saturday August 31, afternoon performers include Hamid Drake Quartet with Kidd Jordan, William Parker and Cooper-Moore; Ernie Krivda Quartet; Nick Mazzarella Trio and the Erin McDougald Quartet. Evening performances feature Stafford James String and Percussion Ensemble featuring M’BOOM; Gregory Porter; Rudresh Mahanthappa’s GAMAK and Jason Moran: Fats Waller Dance Party. 

Sunday, September 1 afternoon performers include Fast Citizens;  Evan Christopher; and Fareed Haque and Tony Monaco; The evening performers include the legendary Jimmy Heath Quartet with Jeb Patton; Hamid Drake & Bindu: Reggaeology; Robert Glasper Trio; and Donald Harrison and The Congo Square Nation with special guest Willie Pickens.

Danilo Pérez is the Artist-in-Residence at this year’s Detroit Jazz Festival. This is also a free festival The Detroit Jazz Festival occupies two million square feet of downtown Detroit – from Hart Plaza on the riverfront, three blocks north to beautiful Campus Martius Park. There are two stages on the North end and three stages at Hart Plaza, plus a Jazz Talk Tent. While a free festival, the Festival offers VIP passes for donations.
The Cookers will be among the acts performing at the Detroit Jazz Festival
The Festival line-up includes performances by Danilo Pérez including his Panama Suite and other works for a large orchestra; David Murray Big Band with Macy Gray; Ahmad Jamal; Joshua Redman with Strings; Shelia Jordan with Strings featuring the Alan Broadbent Trio; Charles Lloyd Quartet with Bill Frisell; McCoy Tyner Trio with special guest Savion Glover; Saxophone Summit – Joe Lovano, David Liebman, Ravi Coltrane; Gregory Porter; Bill Frisell – Lennon Project; Eddie Daniels and Roger Kellaway, with Celo-Duke at the Roadside; Geri Allen and the Detroit Homecoming Band; Danilo Pérez and Geri Allen Acoustic Piano Duo; Jon Faddis, Jesse Davis & the Bill Charlap Trio; Tribute to Detroit’s Pepper Adams – Gary Smulyan, Howard Johnson, Frank Basile; Lee Konitz Quartet; Freddie Cole; The Cookers featuring Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson, George Cables, Cecil McBee, Billy Hart, David Weiss; and more. 

The day to day schedule had not been posted when I prepared this overview. For more information on the Detroit jazz Festival, visit

September brings the annual Monterey Jazz Festival which your editor and publisher highlights and early October brings the annual king Biscuit Blues Festival which I hope to highlight in the next issue.

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