(LENOX, Mass.) – This year’s Tanglewood Jazz Festival is highlighted by Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalists Dianne Reeves and Angélique Kidjo, genre-defying vocalist Lizz Wright, NEA Jazz Masters Jimmy Cobb and Gunther Schuller, Judy Carmichael of NPR’s Jazz Inspired, Hollywood actress and vocalist Blythe Danner, the legacy-bearing Mingus Orchestra, Afro-Latin percussionist John Santos with the John Santos Sextet, jazz/classical crossover violinist Federico Britos and the Federico Britos Sextet, boogie woogie pianist Michael Kaeshammer with the soulful vocalist Robin Mckelle, San Francisco legend Mary Stallings, and many others.
The 24th annual Tanglewood Jazz Festival runs from Friday, September 2 to Sunday, September 4. Held for the first time in conjunction with the Tanglewood Food and Wine Festival, the Labor Day weekend event will feature some of some of the greatest living artists of jazz in the intimate Ozawa Hall, and introduce the rising stars of the musical genre in a Jazz Café on the 500-acre Tanglewood grounds in Lenox, Massachusetts.
The festival will also feature many up-and-coming jazz artists including drummer and producer Ulysses Owens Jr., returning to Tanglewood after a 2010 premiere with Kurt Elling, French pianist Cedric Hanriot, returning after a 2009 Tanglewood performance, New York recording artist Sarah Manning in her Tanglewood debut, as well as cutting edge vocalist Rebecca Martin also performing for the first time at Tanglewood in the Jazz Café.
CAFÉ ON MAIN – DEBUT CONCERT BRINGS JAZZ CAFÉ PERFORMERS TO THE OZAWA HALL STAGE—FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 AT 8 PM
This year a debut concert dubbed “Café on Main” invites Jazz Café performers of previous years, to the much larger Ozawa Hall venue. On Friday, September 2 at 8 pm, Café on Main will feature a double bill with vocalist Robin McKelle and pianist/vocalist Michael Kaeshammer. Vocalist Robin McKelle is comfortable singing not only jazz tunes, but also soul, blues, pop, and rock. She earned her chops singing in R&B groups and touring with pop icons Michael McDonald and Bebe Winans. Her second CD, Modern Antique, was ranked among the top jazz albums of 2008 and her latest CD, Mess Around, features McKelle in a soul/blues setting. Michael Kaeshammer’s boogie-woogie piano and lush vocals were first featured in the Jazz Café in 2009 and his acclaimed reception earned him a slot in this year’s Café on Main. Since Kaeshammer’s 2009 appearance, he has been touring extensively and just recorded his new CD, Kaeshammer. Kaeshammer’s energy and enthusiasm are infectious, and his performances memorable.
The Tanglewood Wine and Food Classic will take place September 1-4, in various locations around the Tanglewood grounds. The culinary event will feature wine and food seminars from local and national experts, a wine auction dinner, two grand tastings, and a Sunday brunch. Guests are invited to pair these world-class wine and food happenings with performances of the 2011 Tanglewood Jazz Festival. Ticket purchases to either Grand Tasting event come with a complimentary lawn ticket to the associated Jazz Festival concert.
2011 TANGLEWOOD JAZZ FESTIVAL WILL KICK IT OFF WITH A KICK DRUM—FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 AT 6:30 PM
On Friday, September 4, at 6:30 pm, the 2011 Tanglewood Jazz Festival will open with the percussive Ulysses Owens Quintet in the Jazz Café. Owens is a Julliard-trained drums and percussion master whose classical background weds his comprehension of melody and harmony to his Jazz sensitivity. Currently touring with Grammy Award-winning vocalist Kurt Elling and bassist Christian McBride, Ulysses’s latest CD, It’s Time For U, was released in 2009 by BSOBold Media.
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT OF THE ARTS BRINGS NEA JAZZ MASTERS JIMMY COBB AND GUNTHER SCHULLER TO TANGLEWOOD JAZZ FESTIVAL
After nearly a quarter century presenting the best of the genre, the Tanglewood Jazz Festival was honored to be selected as a participant in NEA Jazz Masters Live for the first time in 2011. The National Endowment for the Arts program has drawn NEA Jazz Masters Jimmy Cobb and Gunther Schuller to the Tanglewood grounds for a program of performances and residencies. These programs will include a master class for young drummers on Sunday, September 4 at 12:30 pm led by Jimmy Cobb and the rhythm section of the Coast to Coast Septet. At the same time across campus, NEA Jazz Masters Live will present a screening of the famed Charles Mingus concert Epitaph, conducted by NEA Jazz Master Gunther Schuller. The monumental Mingus movie, never presented in full during Mingus’ lifetime, lasts two and one-half hours and was performed at Tanglewood in 1990.
Also part of the Jazz Masters program, jazz journalist Bob Blumenthal will conduct an intimate and rare interview with Jimmy Cobb and Gunther Schuller at 4:15 pm on Saturday in the Jazz Café. Schuller, who has been a presence at Tanglewood for decades, will discuss his work and relationship with legendary bassist Charles Mingus. Jimmy Cobb, the last surviving member of the Miles Davis masterpiece, Kind of Blue, the most popular jazz recording in history, will discuss his prolific jazz career.
JIMMY COBB JAMS WITH MARY STALLINGS AND THE COAST TO COAST SEPTET—SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 AT 2 PM
NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Cobb will also headline Ozawa Hall at the 2 pm Sunday-afternoon concert, with his Coast to Coast Septet and special guest vocalist Mary Stallings. Cobb, an elder statesman of the art, will perform with an all-star band including guitarist Peter Bernstein; trumpeter Sean Jones; trumpeter and flugelhornist Freddie Hendrix; tenor saxophonist Doug Lawrence; pianist Llew Matthews; and bassist John Weber.
Bay Area musician Mary Stallings has been entertaining audiences since the 1960’s when Dizzy Gillespie once plucked her out of an audience to sing with his band. Stallings latest recording, Dream, was released on High Note last year. Named “The Best Kept Secret in Vocal Jazz” by Jazz Times in December 2010, Stallings will perform music from the legendary career of Jimmy Cobb and his musical association with Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan.
GUNTHER SCHULLER CARRIES ON CHARLES MINGUS LEGECY IN OZAWA HALL — SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 AT 2 PM
Following the Coast to Coast Septet on Sunday afternoon will be the Mingus Orchestra conducted by NEA Jazz Master and all-around music guru Gunther Schuller. The Mingus Orchestra was formed in 1999 to carry on the legacy of jazz great Charles Mingus. Its distinctive sound emerges from an expanded repertory and exotic instrumentation, including bassoon, bass clarinet, French horn, and guitar. Columbian harpist Edmar Castaneda will be among the personnel and the performance will include Taurus in the Arena of Life; Half Mast Inhibition; Noon Night; all arranged by Schuller for the event. Schuller will also present a world premiere of his arrangement of Chill of Death.
JAZZ INSPIRED WITH SPECIAL GUEST BLYTHE DANNER TO BE BROADCAST TO NATIONAL AUDIENCE—SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 AT 8 PM
Judy Carmichael and her radio program Jazz Inspired will debut at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival at 2 pm on Saturday, September 3. Carmichael’s popular weekly radio program is broadcast on 170 stations throughout North America and abroad as well as on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. Now in its 15th year, Jazz Inspired features Carmichael at the piano with a special guest from Hollywood, Broadway, or jazz. Her guest at this year’s Tanglewood Jazz Festival is stage and screen actor Blythe Danner.
Known for her delightful sense of humor and exuberant personality, Carmichael earned a Grammy nomination for her recording Two Handed Stride” has served on music panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, and is one of the few jazz pianists honored as a Steinway Artist. Ms. Danner earned a Tony Award for her Broadway debut in Butterflies Are Free and has received nominations for her roles in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Stephen Sondheim’s Follies. Her film credits include Woody Allen’s Alice, The Great Santini, Meet The Parents, and Sylvia with her daughter Gwyneth Paltrow. Danner will speak with Judy Carmichael about her life-long relationship with jazz, singing jazz in college with band mate Chevy Chase, and her friendship with the influential jazz pianist Bill Evans.
JOHN SANTOS AND FEDERICO BRITOS CELEBRATE ISRAEL LOPEZ CACHAO, “THE FATHER OF THE MAMBO”—SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 AT 8 PM
The John Santos Sextet — in a rare East coast performance — and the Federico Britos Sextet will perform A Latin Jazz Tribute to Cachao on Saturday at 8 pm in Ozawa Hall. Known as the “father of the mambo,” the Cuban bassist Israel Lopez Cachao is revered by Latin music historians, musicians, and fans for revolutionizing Cuban music — first in the 1930s by creating and inventing the mambo from the Cuban musical form danzon — and later in the 1950s,during Cuban jam sessions. Cachao was the composer of “Chanchullo,” on which Tito Puente based his classic hit “Oye Como Va,” later made even more famous by Carlos Santana. John Santos and and Federico Britos were featured last September in the PBS/American Masters documentary Cachao: Uno Mas.
“SING THE TRUTH” CELEBRATION OF FEMALE VOCALISTS FEATURING DIANNE REEVES DRAWS FESTIVAL TO A CLOSE — SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 AT 8 PM
The closing concert of the 2011 Tanglewood Jazz Festival on Sunday, September 4, at 8:00 pm is titled Sing the Truth: Angélique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves, and Lizz Wright Continue the Legacy of Great Women Vocalists at Tanglewood. This dynamic trio of today’s leading jazz/world vocalists will feature the songs and music from past Tanglewood women artists including India Arie, Betty Carter, Tracy Chapman, Aretha Franklin, Shirley Horne, Mahalia Jackson, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Odetta.
To shine further light on this performance, increase general knowledge of jazz, and demystify the music for listeners new to the form, journalist Bob Blumenthal will also lead “Listen Here,” a session on vocalists at 4 pm on Sunday, in the Jazz Café. “Listen Here” will focus on one album and the audience will be encouraged to discuss specific tracks, solos, instrumentation, personnel, etc. This session will concentrate on a recording by a female vocalist who represents the musical stylings of those featured in the Sunday-night “Sing the Truth” performance.
Born in Benin, West Africa, Angélique Kidjo is a Grammy-winning artist referred to as “Africa’s premier diva” by Time Magazine. Her internationally acclaimed repertoire includes collaborations with such artists as Carlos Santana, Peter Gabriel, Alicia Keys, Josh Groban, Branford Marsalis, Joss Stone, and more. Known for her dynamic and uplifting music, she has translated her distinctive work in the arts to that of philanthropy by promoting education for girls in Africa through her foundation, Batonga, and as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Blue Note recording artist Dianne Reeves is one of the leading jazz vocalists in the world today, receiving the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for three consecutive recordings—a Grammy first in any category. She has recorded and performed extensively with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim, and with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. Reeves was the first Creative Chair for Jazz for the LA Philharmonic and the first singer to perform at the famed Walt Disney Concert Hall. Her latest CD, When You Know, was released in 2008.
Lizz Wright has been the recipient of much critical acclaim and ever increasing audiences since her 2003 Verve debut recording, Salt. The daughter of a Georgia pastor, Wright grew up singing in the church and her repertoire has included gospel, jazz, and blues as well as an eclectic mix of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Gladys Knight material.
JAZZ CAFÉ SHOWCASES THE RISING STARS OF THE JAZZ WORLD
As a distinctly American form that can’t help but reinvent itself, jazz has historically embraced the freshman of its form. Held in a tent next to the Highwood Manor House, the Jazz Café showcases some of the inspiring new talents of the jazz world, in an improv-friendly setting.
The Jazz Café will open Saturday, September 3 at 12:30 pm with alto saxophonist Sarah Manning and her quartet. Manning has established herself as a unique voice among the young generation of jazz saxophonists. Originally from New England, she studied with Dr. Yusef Lateef, whose emphasis on searching for one’s own voice in music gave her the courage to pursue her own path. Her latest CD, Dandelion Clock, was released in 2010 on Posi-Tone Records.
At 6:30 pm on Saturday evening, the Cedric Hanriot Trio will take the stage in the Jazz Café. Hanriot is making an encore performance since appearing in the Jazz Café in 2009 with the Ben Powell Quartet. A Fulbright recipient, French pianist/composer Hanriot has appeared at the Iridium in New York, the Shanghai Jazz Festival, and the Jazz a Vienne Festival in France. He has worked with Grammy winner Siedah Garrett, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, and bassist Me’shell NDegeocello among many others. Hanriot holds a master’s degree in electronic engineering from the University of Nancy, France.
The final Jazz Café performance on Sunday at 6:30 pm will feature vocalist Rebecca Martin, whose spare, straightforward vocals have been heralded by the New York Times’ as exuding, “the plainest sort of poise, almost radical in its utter lack of flash.” Her latest CD on Sunnyside Records, When I Was Long Ago, has earned high praise from critics. Martin will be joined by her husband, bassist Larry Grenadier, and saxophonist Bill McHenry.
Tanglewood Jazz Festival tickets range from $18-77 and all-day jazz lawn passes for Saturday or Sunday are $34. Tickets are available through Tanglewood’s website, by calling SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200, or by visiting the Tanglewood Box Office at 297 West Street in Lenox, MA. Tickets are also available on the day of the concert at the Ozawa Hall Box Office on the Tanglewood Grounds. For further information and box office hours, please call the Boston Symphony Orchestra at 617-266-1492.