Celebrating The Centennial of Jazz
40TH ANNUAL FREIHOFER’S SARATOGA JAZZ FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2017 LINEUP SAT, JUNE 24 – SUN, JUNE 25
Headliners: Chaka Khan & Gipsy Kings
Dee Dee Bridgewater & Jean-Luc Ponty return
14 highly anticipated debuts: Jacob Collier, The Suffers, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Cory Henry, among others
NEW $20 STUDENT & CHILD TICKETS
The Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival will celebrate its 40th anniversary on Saturday, June 24 and Sunday, June 25, 2017. Founded in 1978 by jazz impresario George Wein, Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival is the fifth longest-consecutive-running jazz festival in North America. Initially founded as “the Newport Jazz Festival at Saratoga” the weekend event was renamed Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival in 1998. The two-day, two-stage festival continues to be one of the largest jazz music events in North America, beloved by audiences for both the remarkable annual line-up of international jazz talent and the spectacular setting at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in the idyllic Saratoga Spa State Park.
The milestone 2017 Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival features an extraordinary lineup of musicians, ranging from emerging artists making their festival debuts, to the return of two legendary musicians who performed on the inaugural 1978 festival, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Jean Luc-Ponty. Headlining the weekend are Chaka Khan, “the queen of R&B,” and the Gipsy Kings, who bring their irresistible rhythms to the Jazz Festival for the first time. In addition, three boundary-breaking young musicians from the United Kingdom will showcase their inventive approaches to jazz performance. Furthermore, Jazz 100, led by Danilo Pérez, will pay homage to iconic musicians Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Mongo Santamaria, and Thelonious Monk in celebration of the 100th anniversary of their shared birth year.
2017 also marks the centennial of the first recorded jazz album and the first commercial use of the word “jazz,” when the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded their New Orleans rooted music at Victor Talking Machine. The recording was an instantaneous success, ushering in a new era of popular music, the “Jazz Age.”
2017 FREIHOFER’S SARATOGA JAZZ FESTIVAL LINE-UP:
Dee Dee Bridgewater and Jean-Luc Ponty Return:
Jazz legends Dee Dee Bridgewater and Jean-Luc Ponty, both of whom performed at the inaugural Saratoga Jazz Festival in 1978, return to celebrate the 40th anniversary festival.
Renowned as a three-time Grammy® Award Winner, TONY® Award Winner, Laurence Olivier Award winner, UN Goodwill Ambassador, Producer, and vocalist, Dee Dee Bridgewater’s artistry has shaped the international jazz scene for over four decades. She returns to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for her 6th festival appearance, featuring songs from her soon-to-be-released Memphis-inspired album and shortly after she will be recognized as a National Endowment for the Arts 2017 NEA Jazz Master on April 3, 2017.
Pioneering jazz and rock violinist Jean-Luc Ponty returns for his 4th Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival appearance with hits from his Atlantic Records albums including Imaginary Voyage, Enigmatic Ocean, and Cosmic Messenger. Ponty began his career in France as a classical violinist, but quickly developed his own horn-inspired style without vibrato. The recipient of lifetime achievement awards in four countries, Ponty was also awarded the 2016 Officier de la Legion d'Honneur, the highest civilian honor in France.
Three young virtuoso musicians from the U.K. will descend on Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival with exciting new sounds and fresh performance styles.
Jacob Collier is one of the world’s most distinctive, inventive and prodigious young musicians. Based in London, Jacob has embraced the world of the internet to share his uniquely creative talent. He is best known for his trademark multi-faceted YouTube videos, wherein he sings all of the parts, plays all the instruments, and adds visual elements through a mosaic of video screens. Jacob has spent the last year collaborating with Ben Bloomberg at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), designing and building a groundbreaking solo live performance vehicle, which brings his one-man, multi-instrumental, multi-visual format of music making to the stage in a way that has never been seen or heard before. The Guardian heralded Collier as “jazz music’s new messiah.” His debut album, In My Room, released in July, ranked number one on the iTunes Jazz chart in twenty-three countries and debuted at number one on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Album chart.
Jack Broadbent, recently hailed as “The new master of the slide guitar” by the Montreux Jazz Festival, and who garnered millions of views on YouTube, has spent the past year impressing international audiences with his unique blend of virtuosic acoustic and slide guitar technique, and poignant folk and R&B inspired vocals. Born and raised in rural England, Broadbent’s distinctive song writing, singing and performance styles, known for humor and warmth, were inspired by Neil Young and Joni Mitchell and other legends of rock, blues, roots and folk.
Shabaka Hutchings, a saxophonist, bandleader and composer, is one of London’s most popular young jazz artists. His work explores both the music of his Caribbean heritage and western classical traditions. He has been recognized with several prestigious awards including the 2010 BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist Award, and the Paul Hamlyn Composer Award 2014. He was nominated for Jazz Musician of the Year 2013 in the Parliamentary Jazz Awards and received the 2015 Jazz FM Instrumentalist of the Year.
SATURDAY MAIN STAGE:
Chaka Khan, a ten-time Grammy® Award winner best known for timeless hits “I’m Every Woman” and “Ain’t Nobody,” returns to SPAC for the first time in twenty years. For over four decades, Khan has inspired multiple generations of artists and audiences alike with a voice that enables her to sing in numerous music genres, including R&B, jazz, pop, rock, gospel, country, classical and dance music. She has released twenty-two albums and racked up ten #1 Billboard magazine charted songs, eight RIAA certified gold singles, and eleven RIAA certified gold and platinum albums. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a BET Honors award, induction into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A true renaissance woman, Khan is a singer, songwriter, visual artist, author, actor, philanthropist, activist, and mother.
Jean-Luc Ponty: The Atlantic Years
Cécile McLorin Salvant, a 2016 Grammy® Award winner and the 2010 Thelonious Monk competition winner, was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She started classical piano studies at age 5, and began singing in the Miami Choral Society at age 8. She has developed a curiosity for the history of American music, and the connections between jazz, vaudeville, blues, and folk music. Cécile carefully chooses her repertoire, often unearthing rarely recorded, forgotten songs with strong stories. She will bring the songs from her Grammy® Award-winning album For One to Love to SPAC.
Jazz 100: The Music of Dizzy, Ella, Mongo & Monk will celebrate the centennial of the births of four visionary icons: Ella Fitzgerald, who appeared at the 1992 festival; Dizzy Gillespie, who performed four times at the Festival; Mongo Santamaría; and Thelonious Monk. Jazz 100 features an all-star band of renowned virtuosos and composers, including music director Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, Avishai Cohen, Josh Roseman, Roman Diaz, Ben Street & Adam Cruz
The Suffers, the Houston band known for their unique, self-coined musical style “Gulf Coast Soul,” will play selections from their 2016 self-titled album at their Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival debut. In 2016, the band performed for NPR's Tiny Desk, Newport Folk Fest Festival, Austin City Limits Festival, and The Late Show. NPR has described their blending of rock & roll, country, Latin and Southern hip-hop music as “a perfect mix of power and delicacy.” Their 10-musician ensemble is led by singer Kim Franklin, whose warm and powerful voice was compared to Chaka Khan’s by the New York Times writer Andy Langer.
Dave Stryker Organ Quartet featuring Eric Alexander, Jared Gold, & McClenty Hunter will make their Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival debut. Stryker, a jazz guitarist, has recorded twenty-seven albums as a bandleader and has recorded and published over 150 of his own compositions. His most recent album, Messin’ with Mister T, is a celebration of the man he worked with for over a decade — Stanley Turrentine. The work was named one of Downbeat’s Top CD’s of 2014 and earned Stryker his 7th recognition in Downbeat Critics and Readers Poll.
SATURDAY GAZEBO STAGE:
Barbara Fasano has been hailed as one of the nation’s most stunning and soulful singers, known for her emotive interpretations of the American Songbook. Wall Street Journal jazz critic Will Friedwald calls Fasano “a charismatic stylist who effectively channels the spirits of the great über-divas Lena Horne and Barbra Streisand.” Making her Saratoga debut, Fasano has won 3 New York Bistro awards, 6 MAC awards and a New York Nightlife award for her performances and recordings, including her fourth and most recent album, Busy Being Free, which received the 2016 MAC Award for Major Recording of the Year.
Aruán Ortiz, Cuban-born and Brooklyn-based pianist, violist, and composer, has written music for jazz ensembles, orchestras, dance companies, chamber groups, and feature films. His creativity in improvisation incorporates elements of contemporary classical music, Cuban-Haitian rhythms, and avant-garde free forms. Ortiz was lauded as "one of the most versatile and exciting pianists of his generation" by Downbeat Magazine. In 2016 he released Hidden Voices, which received five stars from Jazziz Magazine and four stars from Downbeat and All About Jazz.
Shabaka & The Ancestors
Dave Stryker Organ Quartet featuring Eric Alexander, Jared Gold & McClenty Hunter
SUNDAY MAIN STAGE:
Also celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2017, The Gipsy Kings make their Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival debut with music from Savor Flamenco, their ninth studio album since their first release 25 years ago. Their distinctive blend of traditional flamenco styles with Western pop and Latin rhythms has reflected the diverse influences of the gypsy heritage, and has remained visible over the years throughout popular culture. Their rendition of “Hotel California” was included in the film The Big Lebowski and on the HBO series Entourage. The 2010 film Toy Story 3 featured a Gipsy Kings version of the movie’s popular, Randy Newman-penned theme, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”
To Ray, With Love featuring Maceo Parker, the Ray Charles Orchestra & the Raelettes makes their festival debut as an ensemble with a tribute to musical icon Ray Charles (who performed at the Jazz Festival six times during his life). Bandleader Maceo Parker, whom Freihofer’s audiences may remember from three solo performances, cites Charles as a major influence from his earliest days playing the saxophone in the 1950s. In 2008 Parker released a Ray Charles tribute album called Roots & Grooves and will perform with many of the Orchestra members and the Raelettes who toured with Charles during his final years.
Hudson featuring Jack DeJohnette, John Scofield, John Medeski & Larry Grenadier will come together at Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival in celebration of Jack DeJohnette’s 75th birthday. The Los Angeles Times has called Jack DeJohnette “one of the finest living jazz drummers, a limber musical thinker and technical dynamo, one who challenges tradition by pushing outward while digging in.” The all-star band’s name, “Hudson,” and the music on their forthcoming album, honor the Hudson River Valley, where each of the members resides.
Dee Dee Bridgewater
Quinn Sullivan will return to Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival after his unforgettable solo debut in 2014. The seventeen-year-old guitarist has spent the past decade as a professional musician, sharing the stage with Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Los Lobos, The Roots, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi, Joe Bonamassa, and opening for B.B. King, who later invited him to play his treasured “Lucille” guitar. He has made guest appearances on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Oprah, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Conan and twice on The Ellen DeGeneres show. Release this week, his third studio album, Midnight Highway, was produced by multi-Grammy® Award winner Tom Hambridge.
Jane Bunnett & Maqueque brings the rhythms and culture of Cuba to Saratoga. An internationally renowned saxophonist and pianist, Bunnett has been nominated for two Grammy® Awards and received five Juno Awards, an Order of Canada, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal, and, most recently, Ontario’s Premiers Award for Excellence. She will lead her all-female sextet with original music featuring lush, inventive vocals from their latest release, Oddara.
SUNDAY GAZEBO STAGE:
Adam O’Farrill Quartet makes their Saratoga debut led by trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, who attended the famous Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music, Art and Performing Arts and is currently completing his undergraduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music. He released two albums with his brother on ZOHO Music. Their second album, Sensing Flight, was one of JazzTimes' Top 50 Albums of 2013 and received a 4-star review in Downbeat Magazine. Adam placed 3rd at 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition. He is also a recipient of the ASCAP Gerswhin Award and the ASCAP Student Jazz Composer Award. Adam formed his first band as a leader in 2014 and released an album entitled Stranger Days. He is the son of famed Grammy® Award winning composer, conductor and pianist Arturo O’Farrill and grandson of the late legendary composer, conductor and pianist Chico O’Farrill.
Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton is an American multi-instrumentalist blues musician and vocalist from Los Angeles. He plays banjo, piano and violin and his musical influences are rooted in the early blues of the 1920s and 1930s. Influenced by ragtime, hokum, old-time, French reels, Appalachian mountain music and blues, Paxton’s sound reflects the likes of Fats Waller and “Blind” Lemon Jefferson. He was named “Best Blues Artist” by the Village Voice, in 2014. His nickname, “Blind Boy,” refers to the fact that Paxton has been legally blind since age sixteen.
Noah Preminger/Jason Palmer Quartet will showcase two of the finest new voices in jazz, saxophonist Noah Preminger and trumpeter Jason Palmer. Preminger has recorded numerous critically acclaimed albums, six under his own name, and is steadily listed as one of the best tenor saxophonists by critics and readers in the annual Downbeat Poll. Palmer is becoming one of the most in demand musicians of his generation, performing with Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, among many others. Jason was a recipient of the 2014 French American Cultural Exchange Jazz Fellowship, earned 1st Place in the 2009 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition, and was cited as one of the “Top 25 trumpeters of the Future” in the June 2007 issue of Downbeat Magazine.
Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles will close the Festival’s Gazebo Stage with a grand finale of hip, futuristic funk. Cory Henry, who is also the organist of the two-time Grammy® Award-winning band Snarky Puppy, made his Apollo Theater debut at the age of six. He has gone on to work and perform with musicians ranging from Kenny Garrett, Donnie McClurkin, Boyz II Men, Michael McDonald, Bruce Springsteen, the Roots, and many others. In 2016 he released his solo album, The Revival, returning to his roots with the Hammond B-3 Organ, which he began to play at just two years old.
Jane Bunnett & Maqueque
ABOUT FREIHOFER’S SARATOGA JAZZ FESTIVAL:
With an inside seating capacity of 5,200, lawn seating of 20,000, world-class jazz talent performing on two stages, and an idyllic State Park setting located just three hours driving time from either Boston or New York City, the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival draws thousands of fans from across the Northeast and throughout North America.
While two days and two stages of live, world-class jazz are the centerpiece of the weekend, fans can also enjoy a host of amenities including a fine arts and crafts fair, CD signings by artists, a full-service bar in the Hall of Springs, southern style barbeque and other food vendors, all presented by Stella Artois. Guests are welcome to bring their own food and beverages, as well as blankets, tents and lawn umbrellas. Parking for the event is free.
More information about what to bring to the Jazz Festival can be found online at www.spac.org.
Stella Artois returns to the festival as the lead sponsor of the lawn experience (“the hang”). The upscale Belgian beer company is no stranger to sponsoring high-profile arts and cultural events; they have been notably involved with the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Singapore Jazz Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival.
Tickets for the festival will be available online at www.spac.org beginning Friday, February 3 at 10:00 a.m. New $20 amphitheater ticket options are available for children ages 15 and under and students with school-issued ID at time of entrance. Seating is best available with some exclusions. Lawn seating is free for children ages 12 and under.