Sunday, August 30, 2009

CDs of Note...

Randy Brecker, Nostalgic Journey: Tykocin Jazz Suite (Summit Records)
Three words come to mind after a listen to trumpeter Randy Brecker’s latest project: stunning, poignant, breathtaking. This is a homecoming project of great importance. Last summer, Brecker made an emotional journey to Tykocin, the area in Poland where his grandfather lived before emigrating to the United States. It was pinpointed when Randy and other family members were looking for eastern European bone marrow donors who might be a match for his brother Michael, two years before the saxophonist lost his battle with a very rare form of leukemia.

Polish composer and pianist Wlodek Pawlik wrote this homecoming suite, and performed it with Brecker and the Symphony Orchestra of the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic in Bialystok, Poland. The blend of classical orchestra and jazz quartet is seamless and feels natural. Highlights: Brecker’s intense soloing on “Nostalgic Journey,” “Let’s All Go to Heaven,” “Magic Seven “and “Blue Rain” - and his strong musical empathy with Pawlik’s excellent trio. This one may go down as one of the finest and most important works in Brecker’s extensive discography.

Edward Simon Trio, Poesia (CAM Jazz)
This is the second recording by the Venezuelan pianist, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade (the latter pair being members of the Wayne Shorter quartet since 2000). Like the 2006 predecessor Unicity, this is very strong. The trio’s energy and improvisation is at full throttle on Simon’s “One for J.P.,” written for Patitucci and a canvas for his electric bass, the title track “Poesia” and their artful exploration of Trane’s “Giant Steps,” which merely implies the original melody as the tune becomes a launching point for further means of transportation. Simon, an artful pianist who uses space creatively, shines on solo versions of his “My Love for You” as the disc opens with the ballad and closes with an alternate take.

Gerald Clayton, Two-Shade (ArtistShare)
The musical fruit didn’t fall far from the tree for this pianist, the son of bassist John Clayton and nephew of saxophonist Jeff Clayton. He is one of the more interesting pianists on the newest generation to emerge on the New York scene. This wide-ranging session teams Clayton with bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Justin Brown. Highlights: the funky energy and interplay on “Boogablues,” the solo ballad segue into trio and back on the blended elements of “Peace for the Moment,” the vibrant “Love All Around,” the classical underpinning of the adventuresome “Sunny Day Go,” and his beautiful solo reinvestigation of Dizzy Gillespie’s classic ballad “Con Alma.”

Saturday, August 29, 2009

September spirit

There is a lot of programming diversity going on near and far for jazz and jazz venues in September. These caught my interest. I know I will catch at least one of them in person. And it is a great time to confirm that jazzlives#

September 2 - Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles - The original members of Return to Forever reunite for a concert that will open Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White’s first worldwide trio tour. For this one show, they will be joined by RTF’s original guitarist Bill Connors, as well as special guests Chaka Khan and Jean-Luc Ponty. Connor's appearance will mark the first performance of Return to Forever's original electric lineup since 1974.

Labor Day Weekend

September 4, 5 and 6 - Tanglewood Jazz Festival, Lenox MA - This year, in addition to several straight-ahead performances, is blending some classical works into some of its sets at Ozawa Hall. See this earlier post for details.

September 4, 5 and 6 -
Chicago Jazz Festival - This annual free event takes place on three stages in Grant Park. The Dave Holland Big Band is Saturday night’s headliner at the Petrillo Bandshell.

September 4, 5, 6 and 7 - Detroit International Jazz Festival. This huge free, outdoor event is marking its 30th year with events on five downtown stages. It opens with a concert by Hank Jones as the festival honors one of the great families in jazz. the Clayton Brothers, Dave Brubeck and the Brubeck brothers, John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Larry and Julian Coryell, The Heath Brothers, Pete and Juan Escovedo, Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express, and T.S. Monk in “Monk on Monk” - a performance honoring the musical legacy of his father, Thelonious Monk.

September 18 to 26 - Boston’s Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival will showcase more than 20 bands at various clubs and venues. The free, six-block-long outdoor extravaganza along Columbus Avenue on Saturday the 26th will include Donald Harrison, Joe Louis Walker, Jane Bunnett, and the Defenders of Groove with Melvin Sparks, Ernie Andrews and Plas Johnson.

September 26 -
Singer Barbra Streisand performs at New York’s historic Village Vanguard - the world’s most famous jazz basement - for a performance three days before the release of her new jazz/cabaret album Love Is the Answer, which features the singer with the Diana Krall quartet and Johnny Mandel. According to her Web site, this will be Streisand’s first club appearance since 1961, when she opened at the Vanguard for Miles Davis. There is a catch. This is a free show for winners of a contest for those who pre-ordered the CD from her site.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Jazz is vibrant? - help prove it, Twitter style

You say you don't buy the tired old saw "jazz is dead"? It's time to show it's not so, and today's social networking craze is the way to help. Yes folks, it's Twitter time. #jazzlives

Thre's a movement afoot to dispel the impression, which received substantial mileage through Terry Teachout's recent Wall Street Journal piece, that the jazz audience is fading. It was published in early August - the same weekend, in fact as George Wein's CareFusion Jazz Festival 55 in Newport where there were lots of enthusiastic, young people packing all three stages.

Howard Mandel, president of the Jazz Journalists Association, and others are encouraging the use of Twitter to show that lots of people are listening to live jazz - in person at events or live on the radio.

The instructions are simple, says Mandel. Here's what he is suggesting - and why.

Is the audience for jazz aging and diminishing, as Terry Teachout wrote in the Wall Street Journal recently? I don't believe it and don't think you buy it completely either, despite the NEA's 2008 survey data. I think that survey overlooked a significant segment of the vital audience for live jazz today, and propose a small social networking experiment, asking tech savvy listeners to tweet #jazzlives, who & where, in 140 characters.

Over the next couple weeks there are myriad big jazz events, starting in NYC the Charlie Parker Jazz Fest this Saturday and Sunday), continuing to the Labor Day weekend fests at Tanglewood, Chicago, Detroit, Aspen, Los Angeles, Vail, Philly, Chapel Hill, etc., then on through Monterey and the Beantown (Boston) fests (we'll keep the campaign going, as long as it works).

The music needn't be heard at a fest, of course -- it can be at a stand-along concert, a gig, live-jazz-broadcast on radio or online, in the subway or street, at a party, whatever.

If you Tweet, use hashtag #jazzlives. If you have a Twitter account, please help kick things off TODAY with a tweet that includes #jazzlives, who you heard most recently and where (venue and/or locale). That way, you (or anyone) will be able to track these tweets with a Twitter search and on TweetDeck and similar services.

We have created a special "widget" for blogs and websites that will show all #jazzlives tweets in real tim e- which is sort of the fun of it for those who like these things, and will collate all the tweets so we can count them, hopefully to prove how many of us there are.

MOST BRIEFLY, here's all anyone has to do to participate:
1) Write in a Tweet WHO you heard and WHERE (venue, locale, whatever fits)
2) MOST IMPORTANT: include hashmark #jazzlives.
EXAMPLE: I heard Vanguard Orch at Tanglewood, super! #jazzlives
EXAMPLE: I heard Hank Jones, solo at Detroit Int JF, mighty fine #jazzlives

Include links to your blog or website in your Tweet if you like, like this -
EXAMPLE: I heard Eubanks 5 be great at Blue Note NYC, full revu at #jazzlives

That's it. These initial tweets will seed the project by getting the #jazzlives out there and giving us some initial content for our widget. We hope this will build to a noticeable surge. Could we get as many tweets and postings as there were people at Woodstock?

Please note: Tweets with #jazzlives are NOT intended to publicize upcoming events or for comments on recordings you're listening to, but rather for reports on LIVE jazz you've actually heard recently. If you heard it live over the radio, that counts!

Our initiative's main aim is just to see how we can use new features of social networking to give all styles of jazz -- defined however you want -- a higher profile by showing how many of us listeners to live jazz there are.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Berklee honoring Brubeck at Monterey

On September 20, jazz great Dave Brubeck will have something in common with Bonnie Raitt, Sting, Loretta Lynn and Gloria and Emilio Estefan - an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee for their contributions to music and humanity.

The Boston-based Berklee College of Music will present the pianist and composer with an honorary doctorate just before his performance that evening at the 52nd annual Monterey Jazz Festival.

“It feels fitting to make this presentation to Dave for his many contributions to jazz, orchestral and sacred music, and to education, with the Brubeck Institute at the University of the Pacific, and at the Monterey Jazz Festival, where he has so many strong connections and associations,” said Berklee President Roger Brown. “The 50-year anniversary of the release of Time Out also seems like a perfect moment to thank Dave for all he’s done for the world, and the world of music.”

Berklee began bestowing its Honorary Doctorate of Music, for contributions to music and humanity, in 1971. Duke Ellington was the first recipient. Other jazz recipients have included Dizzy Gillespie, Nancy Wilson, Tito Puente, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Chick Corea, Quincy Jones, and Elvin and Hank Jones. Actor and producer Clint Eastwood is scheduled to take part in honoring Brubeck. In 2007, Eastwood received a Berklee honorary doctor of music at Monterey, for his efforts to popularize jazz through his films and film music.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

CDs of Note…

Chuck Owen & The Jazz Surge, The Comet’s Tail (MAMA Records)
Tampa-based Chuck Owen is directs the University of South Florida’s Center for Jazz Composition. He also runs his own mighty fine, high-flying pro big band, The Jazz Surge. This project features his band performing new robust arrangements of a wide range of compositions by late saxophonist Michael Brecker (from his Steps Ahead days in the 1980s through his final recording, Pilgrimage). It’s an outgrowth from, and features the winning entry in, the Center’s International Jazz Arranging Competition in Honor of Michael Brecker (more than 80 arrangements were entered), along with other arrangements by Owen, CJC colleague Dave Stamps, and guest contributors Vince Mendoza and Gil Goldstein.

Guest musicians for the recording and a series of related concerts include Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, Adam Nussbaum, violinist Rob Thomas, saxophonists Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano and vibes player Mike Mainieri. Highlights: “Peep,” the competition-winning arrangement by Fred Stride of Vancouver, British Columbia; “How Long ‘Til The Sun” featuring Randy Brecker and Rob Thomas; the frenetic “Itsbynne Reel,” the Mendoza-arranged “Slings and Arrows” and the poignant “Everything Happens When You’re Gone,” which features Lovano. Other standout soloists include pianist Per Danielsson, guitarist LaRue Nickelson and tenor saxophonist Jack Wilkins.

Ralph Bowen, Dedicated (Posi-Tone)
Tenor saxophonist Ralph Bowen recorded this forceful CD of original material as a musical thank you to six mentors who played key roles in his musical and career development. The Canadian first emerged on the New York scene in the 1980s as co-leader of Blue Note Records’ sextet Out of the Blue. This new CD teams him with guitarist Adam Rogers, bassist John Patitucci, drummer Antonio Sanchez and trumpeter Sean Jones, who guests on one track.

Everything here is a gem, showcasing Bowen’s muscular tenor and strong credentials as a composer and improviser. Favorites: Rogers’ soloing and comping on the opener “Canary Drums,” the spirited Bowen-Jones interplay and unison on “Mr. Bebop” and the beautiful ensemble work on “Prof.” (The six tracks are dedicated to the late Keith Blackley, Pat LaBarbera, Jim Blackley, David Baker, William Fielder and Eugene Rousseau.)

Carol Bach-y-Rita, What Love Is (Arugula Records)
This is an intriguing mix of Brazilian and American jazz and pop standards - shifting between English and Portuguese - from Los Angeles-based singer, dancer, actress, voiceover artist Carol Bach-y-Rita. This debut CD has a lot going for it, including its most-musical, sensual and laid-back feel. Her interpretations of Jobim’s “Corcovado” and Johnny Mandel’s ”A Time for Love” are as cool and soothing as a pitcher of caipirinhas on a sweltering summer afternoon. Her backing quartet features bassist Trey Henry, pianist Jamieson Trotter, drummer Mike Shapiro and saxophonist/flutist Robert Kyle. The Bach-y-Rita-Henry duet version of “Don’t Explain” is exquisite. A beautiful version of “Lazy Afternoon” closes the session.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Newport 55 detail - AAJ

My full review of George Wein's CareFusion Jazz Festival 55 in Newport was published today on It continues to be an adventurous jazz summer. Next stop: the Tanglewood Jazz Festival over Labor Day Weekend.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tanglewood twist

This Labor Day Weekend’s Tanglewood Jazz Festival in Lenox MA has tweaked its programming a bit to further bridge jazz and classical music forms in this most likely spot to do so - the idyllic summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

The move began last year when Boston jazz pianist and composer Donal Fox presented a weekend-highlight-level performance of his Scarlatti Jazz Project.

This year’s programming includes the usual varied assortment of Latin, straight ahead jazz, vocals and emerging talent - with a few more classical twists.

  • On Friday night, September 4, clarinetist Paquito d’Rivera performs pieces from his Latin jazz and classical repertoires.

  • On Saturday night, September 5, jazz violinist Carter and her quartet will perform material from her Paganini project plus music from Mali, Senegal, and Uganda.

  • After Carter’s set, jazz singer Nnenna Freelon and classical singer Harolyn Blackwell are featured in “Dreaming the Duke,” a program that celebrating the Ellington legacy with innovative solo pieces, duets with chamber and jazz quartets and intimate vocal-piano selections. The set will include selections from Ellington’s “Black, Brown and Beige Suite.”

Whether you prefer listening inside Ozawa Hall or on the lawn, you'll find the music at Tanglewood always draws a crowd...

Tanglewood has added one new guest artist for the weekend. Singer Kurt Elling will join the lineup for John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey’s Saturday afternoon taping of "Radio Deluxe” for later broadcast on more than 60 stations nationwide. Their other Tanglewood guests include guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, violinist Aaron Weinstein and saxophonist Harry Allen.

Sunday afternoon features a piano duet set of improvisations by Kenny Barron and Mulgrew Miller, followed by the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. The festival will close with a Sunday evening program that includes Jon Faddis with guest trumpeters Sean Jones and Wallace Roney in a celebration of the role of the trumpet in jazz throughout the past century; and end with Dave Holland’s all-star band.

The festival’s Jazz Café, just up the hill from Ozawa Hall, will showcase emerging talent before each main stage event. This year’s performers are saxophonist Benny Reid, singer-pianist Michael Kaeshammer, pianist Evgeny Lebedev, singer Steven Santoro and violinist Ben Powell. All Jazz Café events are free with a ticket to the main stage event.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

CDs of Note...

Donny McCaslin, Declaration (Sunnyside)
When I first heard tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin in 1987, he was still a student at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. The thing that impressed most about his playing hasn’t changed. It’s his spirited intensity. And it is there throughout Declaration, often in tandem with another inside-outside player, guitarist Ben Monder. McCaslin’s sextet (also featuring pianist Edward Simon, bassist Scott Colley, drummer Antonio Sanchez and percussionist Pernell Saturnino) is augmented on roughly half of the eight tracks by a five-member brass section, which created new possibilities for McCaslin as a composer, arranger and improviser. Favorites: the shift between fervor and delicacy on “M” and “Fat Cat,” the plaintive feel of “Declaration,” the relative softness explored in his ballad “Jeanina” and the majestic scope of “Late Night Gospel.”

The Anthony Wilson Trio, Jack of Hearts (Groove Note)
There is something rhythmically intoxicating about the guitar-organ-drums trio combination, and this project contains the right elements - and players. Wilson, son of the great West Coast big band leader and composer Gerald Wilson, is a fluid, melodic player and longtime sideman to singer-pianist Diana Krall. Here he is joined by Larry Goldings on B-3 with Krall bandmate Jeff Hamilton and rock veteran Jim Keltner splitting drum duties. Highlights: the funky Wilson-Goldings collaborative opener “Mezcal,” their swaggering take on Coleman Hawkins’ “Hawk Eyes,” Wilson’s uptempo “Vida Perdida Acabou,” a poignant Wilson original called “Homecoming” and something that you won’t often hear covered in jazz circles, Jerry Goldsmith’s “Theme from Chinatown. The latter provided a chance to offset the CD’s swaggering moments with intricate delicacy. They also bring new life to two infrequently tackled Ellington tunes - “Carnegie Blues” and “Zweet Zursday.”

Earthsound, Movement (JD Jazz)
Boston-based Earthsound is doing its part in the new millennium to bring a healthier respect for the natural environment through music, much like the Paul Winter Consort pioneered in the late 1960s. Jazz improvisation is at the heart of this project, which bubbles with world music influences from several continents - and a little help from frogs, Antarctic seals, birds and a variety of inhabitants of a Costa Rican rainforest. There is a decided Latin American feel to most of the music created by Earthsound, a quartet led by bassist Jason Davis, whose members include pianist Nando Michelin, flute player Fernando Brandão and drummer/percussionist Jorge Perez Albela. On four tracks, they improvise over field recordings of inhabitants of lakes, woodlands, rainforest and the sea. It also allowed Davis a chance to artfully meld his twin interests in music and ecology/environmental research. Favorites: “Ariane,” Michelin’s solo piece “Monteverde Slow,” Brandao’s “Hermit Thrush” and the Brazilian choro “Os Cinco Campanheiros.”

Monday, August 10, 2009

A special weekend indeed

Once something goes away – or is threatened with going away – you find out how much it is appreciated. That was the case this past weekend for George Wein, whose jazz festival in Newport lived on, thanks to his efforts to ensure his Newport legacy survives.

He had help from longtime staff, an army of fellow musicians, some of whom have worked for him and/or with him for five decades or more, and a new sponsor, the San Diego-based health-care products and service company CareFusion.

“The warmth I’ve received this weekend is unbelievable,” Wein said. “I’ve never been hugged by so many musicians in my life. They’ve made this the most beautiful weekend in my life.”

I’ll write about it soon at greater length on Musically, there was something for everyone in a weekend whose total attendance was 12,800, with the largest crowds– 6,000 – on postcard-perfect Saturday. In the meantime, here are a few images from highlights of George Wein’s CareFusion Jazz Festival 55. The highlights included:

- Wein sitting in on the finale "All of Me" with the Anat Cohen-Howard Alden quartet, which opened the music Friday night at historic Newport Casino, the very first home of the Newport Jazz Festival back in 1954. Chaka Khan was the opening night headliner, but that's another story.

- Singer Claudia Acuña’s breezy bilingual set on the Waterside Stage. Even if you don’t know the words when she sings in her native Spanish, the Chilean beauty’s way with a song touches you with their heart-felt emotion.

- Joe Lovano sitting in with pianist Michel Camilo’s trio Sunday on a rousing reconstruction of Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunisia.”

- George Wein joining bassist Christian McBride for a live taping of his forthcoming satellite radio show “Conversations with Christian.” They talked - and they played for an hour.

- Dave Brubeck joining weekend closer Tony Bennett on “That Old Black Magic.”

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Go Newport

Going into 2009, we wondered whether the Newport Jazz Festival as we’ve known it all these years, would ever be back - given the financial straits of the Festival Network LLC, the upstart company that in 2007 bought George Wein’s highly respected, well-oiled Festival Productions Inc. machine.

Well, it’s back, compliments of Wein’s refusal to see his Newport legacy muddied, calling together many members of his longtime production team - from Newport to New Orleans and elsewhere, reforming a new company - New Festival Productions, and having a new corporate sponsor sign on for both Newport and, starting in 2010, in New York.

So “George Wein’s CareFusion Jazz Festival 55 “ opens tomorrow night at historic Newport Casino (home of The International Tennis Hall of Fame), which was the site of the very first Newport Jazz Festival back in July 1954. The Anat Cohen-Howard Alden Quartet opens for singer Chaka Khan and the George Duke Trio.

The swirl of activity shifts Saturday and Sunday to Fort Adams State Park overlooking picturesque Newport harbor, where the music on three stages will be diverse and plentiful. Mainstream, bop, Latin jazz, and the avant-garde all are represented.

(Aside: Wein has also begun exploring ways to create a nonprofit foundation that can ensure the jazz and folk festivals continue in Newport in perpetuity, and is taking steps to bus inner-city youths from Providence RI and Bridgeport CT to the festival this weekend to expose them to jazz.)

Hiromi at Newport, 2006... >
The weekend's Fort Adams lineup includes Dave Brubeck, Tony Bennett, Joshua Redman’s Double Trio, Joe Lovano, Branford Marsalis, Christian McBride, Hiromi, Claudia Acuna, Jane Monheit, Roy Haynes, Michel Camilo, The Bad Plus with alternative rock singer Wendy Lewis, The Brian Blade Fellowship, Ken Vandermark, James Carter, and many more.

With the scope of music and sometimes painful choices between groups to hear simultaneously or with a little overlap, you have to pick your spots. Any way you go, it is a win.

Just go.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

CDs of Note…

Roy Hargrove Big Band, Emergence (Groovin’ High/Emarcy)
Trumpeter Hargrove has dipped his horn, and his creative prowess, into a lot of musical pies over the past 20 years, including his hard-bop quintet, his Afro-Cuban Chrisol collaboration with Chucho Valdes, his funk- and hip-hop-oriented RH Factor, and various big band projects including a stint as featured soloist with Slide Hampton’s Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Big Band. Now he’s out with his own dream contemporary big band project. There’s not a dud in this mightily swinging project that covers multiple styles with the robust support of the 19-piece group. Highlights - his delicate reading and reworking of “My Funny Valentine” on flugelhorn, the Afro-Cuban sizzler “Mambo For Roy” and “Tchpiso.” Hargrove adds a rare vocal on “September in the Rain” and labelmate Roberta Gambarini joins the project on two tracks, Everytime We Say Goodbye” and “La Puerta.” This an August 25 release.

Simon Fisk Trio, Unless (Plunge/Warner)
More often than not, the combination of piano, bass and drums is described as a piano trio. The piano generally feels like the principal instrument, no matter that the leader and musical architect on this project is the bassist. This is Simon Fisk’s fifth CD as a leader, and it is a gem from the Calgary-based western Canada native. It is filled with breathtaking beauty and introspective improvisation, the result being a contemporary “piano trio” recording containing a blend of soft and hard-edged, rock-influenced elements that draw from Keith Jarrett (Fisk has been mentored by longtime Jarrett bandmate Gary Peacock), E.S.T. and others. Pianist Chris Gestrin and drummer Jerry Granelli contribute mightily to the project as empathetic partners on this mix of originals, free-wheeling improvisations and two standards: Nat Adderley’s “Old Country” and the ballad “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.”

Edmar Castaneda, Entra Cuerdas (artistShare)
At a JVC Newport Jazz Festival appearance by Paquito D’Rivera’s PanAmerican big band a few years ago, the leader followed Edmar Castaneda’s spotlight solo by telling the crowd “I don’t know why I invite him. He always steals the show.” The diminutive, joyful musician is a blazing-speed master of the Colombian harp, a smaller-than-usual cousin of the concert harp. Personal favorites here: the title track “Entra Cuerdas “(Between the Strings), “Song of Hope,” “Colombian Dixie” and “Afro Seis.” At several points, the CD is also a marvel of melodic doubling and/or tripling and interplay with trombonist Marshall Gilkes and vibes player Joe Locke. It is also an excellent showcase for Gilkes, a Castaneda bandmate who is one of the more creative and daring young trombonists. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of obscure instruments, give Castaneda’s long-overdue project a listen. He likely will turn you into a fan of his spellbinding playing.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Folk with a touch of jazz

Jazz festival fans can rejoice with something tangible in Newport. The 50th anniversary edition of the folk festival – George Wein’s Folk Festival 50 – opened without a hitch today, under brilliant sunshine. It means Wein’s revived jazz festival is less than a week away.

You’ve doubtless read elsewhere, or in postings below, of the financial saga that forced Wein to regain control of festival-producing in Newport and begin work on yet another phase of production in the city where the festival tradition began (jazz in 1954, folk in 1959).

George Wein and Pete Seeger arrive at Fort Adams State Park… >

A crowd of 9,200 turned out for day one, the largest for a folk event in Newport since Bob Dylan returned in 2002. The lineup was a careful blend of veterans, like Seeger and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Mavis Staples, and younger and emerging talent. The crowd was a blend of festival veteran attendees and what seemed a majority of much younger fans.

There was even a touch of jazz. When folk festival stalwart Pete Seeger, now 90, closed out the day with a traditional main-stage sing-along featuring about 30 festival artists, they were joined by Ben Jaffe the Preservation Hall Jazz Band leader and bassist, on tuba.

Seeger's message lives on his banjo… >

UPDATE: Jaffe also sat in Sunday with Del McCoury's bluegrass band and joined the evening sing-along finale with Seeger, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, McCoury and many, many others.

George Wein’s CareFusion Jazz Festival 55 begins Friday night August 7 at Newport’s International Tennis Hall of Fame and continues the following two days at Fort Adams State Park with a strong and diverse lineup.