Take a New-Orleans-style brass band, then shrink it: That’s the general principle of how the trombonist’s band makes a joyful noise with only four members. With sousaphone and attitude, Anderson and company presents a suite inspired by his hometown of Chicago.
The trumpeter was a jazz and classical rising star when he started studying the hammered dulcimer and the modal music of his Iraqi heritage. His Two Rivers band splits the difference, using microtonal techniques to investigate the blues. It plays from a new commission.
The Berklee College of Music graduate grew up in the Palestinian territories, where music was literally what kept him off the streets. He’s translated that into a command of a 72-string instrument called the qanun. Now stateside, he’s blended it into in a fluid, jazz-based context.
A guitarist who sounds like no other, Halvorson can both astound and confound, with craggy phrasing, strange pitch-bends and pedal effects galore. She arrives at Newport as a bandleader, directing a classic instrumentation through several left-hand turns.
The New York pianist’s trio is about as elegant as it gets. It’s crashed by a clarinet summit when a veteran reedman straight outta Sidney Bechet arrives, and a young star joins in the fun. It makes for a refreshing hint of traditional jazz, as per Newport tradition.
As a whole, the trumpeter’s high-functioning band reliably serves up sleek modernism in the form of post-bop jazz. It plays from its new album Magnetic, and welcomes a guest turn from guitarist Lionel Loueke, making this band a rare six-man quintet. Herbie Hancock also joins on “Footprints.”
If you didn’t manage to sneak your way onto a yacht bound for coastal Rhode Island — well, we can’t help you get to Newport. But NPR Music can bring you live streaming concerts. Here’s what’s in store, starting with Robert Glasper and ending with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock.
Whether career sidemen, appealing experimentalists or critically acclaimed bands finally getting a look, new names are getting invited to the granddaddy of jazz festivals with greater frequency. Hear music from some of this year’s crop, including Jonathan Batiste, David Gilmore and Dee Alexander.