August 2, 2007 — Vol. 42, No. 51
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’07 Newport festival pays tribute to jazz legends

Kevin Cox

America’s oldest outdoor jazz festival returns to New England next week when the 2007 JVC Jazz Festival descends on Newport, R.I., from Aug. 10-12.

This year’s edition of the festival, first established in 1954 by producer/promoter George Wein, pays tribute to jazz legends Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and William “Count” Basie on the 50th anniversary of their historic Newport performances.

“One night this past fall, I was home listening to a reissue of one of those great 1957 recordings at Newport,” said festival artistic director Dan Melnick, “and it occurred to me that we should acknowledge the 50th anniversary of some of those sets at this year’s festival.”

This year’s performances begin at the Newport Casino, home of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, next Friday night at 8 p.m. with a program entitled “Newport ’57 Revisited: The Legacy of Ella, Billie & Basie.” Four-time Grammy award winner Dianne Reeves and special guest vocalist Nnenna Freelon will perform with The Count Basie Orchestra, led by trombonist Bill Hughes.

The festival venue changes on Saturday and Sunday to historic Fort Adams State Park, where artists will appear on three different stages from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.

On Saturday, the main stage, dubbed the JVC Jazz Stage, will feature the Branford Marsalis Quartet, Marcus Miller Band, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Zap Mama, Bruce Hornsby with Jack DeJohnette and Christian McBride, and the Joshua Redman Trio. The Pavillion Stage will host Chico Hamilton & Euphoria, the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, the Kenny Werner Quintet and the Monk Legacy Septet, while the smaller Waterside Stage will feature artists such as South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and the Roswell Rudd Quartet.

The festival’s final day will see legendary icons B.B. King and Al Green bring blues, R&B and soul to the JVC Jazz Stage, which will also feature blues singer/guitarist, Norwell native and Berklee College of Music alumnus Susan Tedeschi, as well as “Newport ’57 Revisited: The Legacy of Dizzy Gillespie” performed by the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, and Paquito D’Rivera’s Panamericana Ensemble.

Brazilian singer Luciana Souza brings her “New Bossa Nova” sound, which she will display on her upcoming album of the same name, to the Pavillion Stage, where Bucky Pizzarelli and Howard Alden, Jon Faddis, Steve Turre, Ron Carter, Russell Malone and Mulgrew Miller will also perform.

Harry Allen and Trio da Paz will perform “Brazilian Nights: The Music of Getz and Jobim” on the Waterside Stage. Also appearing on the Waterside stage will be the Ben Allison Quartet and the Donald Harrison Quintet featuring Christian Scott.

Tickets are available online at or by phone at 866-468-7619.
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Crooner extraordinaire Al Green (Top) will bring his sultry brand of R&B and soul to the main stage on the festival’s final day, while Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves will join special guest Nnenna Freelon and the Count Basie Orchestra next Friday night to kick the festival’s festivities off with a bang. (Photo courtesy of the JVC Jazz Festival)

(Top) Blues guitar virtuoso B.B. King is one of several heavyweights that will take the stage in Newport next Sunday to close out the jazz festival, which was first established over 50 years ago in 1954. (Photo courtesy of the JVC Jazz Festival)

(Bottom) Jazz titan Branford Marsalis and his legendary Quartet will be among the performers headlining the main stage next Saturday at Fort Adams State Park as part of the 2007 JVC Jazz Festival in Newport, R.I. (Photo courtesy of the JVC Jazz Festival)

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