Written by Patrick Jarenwattananon from National Public Radio
After a sunny, warm afternoon on the Rhode Island shore, the first full day of the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival has come and gone. If you’ve got a free moment, you can already replay many of the sets we recorded online. But starting at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, we’ll be presenting eight more hours of live video from the festival at npr.org/newportjazz. Here’s what’s on tap:
11:00 Lewis Nash Quintet: The drummer is spotted on quite a few world stages, though it’s usually in sideman service to others’ bands. It’s a great move to give the supporting cast member, who truly innovates within the jazz tradition, a share of the spotlight.
11:50 Jenny Scheinman & Bill Frisell: A violin and guitar duo. The two have been working together in bands for quite a long time now (including in the John Lennon tribute yesterday), so this pairing promises some wonderful moments of thinking on their feet.
12:20 Kurt Elling: A classic, mannered, male jazz singer, Kurt has an old-school sort of vibe to his overall presentation. But he isn’t afraid to write brainy, twisty lyrics over a re-invented pop song either. He can do a lot with his voice, you’d see.
1:00 Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Samdhi: The alto saxophonist in DeJohnette’s band made an album in 2008 which brought in his love of South Asian music and funk and hip-hop and kitchen sinks. He’s finally getting to tour that music now, and it’s electric, literally and figuratively.
1:55 3 Cohens: Yuval (sax), Anat (reeds) and Avishai (trumpet) Cohen are siblings from Israel. They’re also terrific jazz musicians who occasionally work together as a band, supported by a rhythm section. Here’s a family reunion you won’t secretly dread.
3:00 Miguel Zenon Rayuela Quartet: The alto saxophonist has teamed up with the French pianist Laurent Coq to co-write an album’s worth of music inspired on the high-modernist Julio Cortazar novel Hopscotch. It calls for a cello and a trombone; luckily, Dana Leong plays both.
4:00 Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Centennial Project: What if there were lost big-band masterpieces by the great composer/arranger Gil Evans which never saw the light of the recording studio? Thanks to Ryan Truesdell, a composer/arranger in his own right, you don’t have to wonder.
4:40 John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet + 1 with Special Guests: A badass behind the kit and with pen and paper, Hollenbeck returns to Newport with his unusual small group. Their latest release sets poems by Kenneth Patchen to music; vocalists Kurt Elling and Theo Bleckmann stand and deliver.
5:20 Tedeschi Trucks Band: The electric blues band co-led by husband-and-wife team Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks won a Grammy for their 2011 album and have a new live album out this year. It’s a crackling group, with tons of talented musicians at all positions.
Also appearing at the festival:
Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors: A program at Berklee College of Music takes some of its best jazz students from around the world and brings it on world tours. They’ll be with professional drummer Adam Cruz, whose 2011 debut album showed he’s an imaginative composer as well as player.
Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks: Every year Newport manages to book at least one early jazz group. This year’s is the best I’ve seen. if you’ve seen HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, set in the Prohibition era, that’s his big band and soundtrack. He knows what he’s doing with his vintage swing.
Gretchen Parlato & Lionel Loueke with Becca Stevens: The sotto voce singer from L.A. and the vocalizing guitarist from Benin duet together when they can. Their own bands were once booked at Newport; here they’re duo again, and joined by friend and fellow singer Becca Stevens.
Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra: Talk about the legacy of Gil Evans — that was Schneider’s mentor. Her own large ensemble music has the same lush sweep and complexity of color, with South American twists and Olympian heights. We’re promised a new piece too.
Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet: This band played Newport last year in a set that promised a lot from the trumpeter. I just saw them recently, with lots of slippery and dark new material, and they’re beginning to deliver it.