2018 Newport Jazz Festival Kicks Off August 3rd (FESTIVAL PREVIEW)

Before Coachella, Lollapalooza, Afropunk Festival, and even before Woodstock, the Newport Jazz festival was stirring things up back in the 1950s. For some, the notion of jazz as radical, revolutionary, cutting-edge, and entirely relevant musical genre may seem like a stretch. Yet since its inception in 1954 Newport Jazz Festival has been a participant and venue for some of the most influential musicians on modern music. This was a time when voting rights had not been established for African-Americans; even in the north, not all were happy to have their upper class town of Newport R.I. descended upon by thousands of students, persons of color, and beatniks. 1960 the National Guard was called in to control those excited by this relatively new and unpredictable genre called jazz.

Make no mistake, this is where it happens. Legendary artists like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Mingus, Dinah Shore, Billie Holiday, James Brown, and poet Langston Hughes all performed here. Diversity of genre has also been a hallmark of this long standing festival with Frank Zappa in 1969 and Led Zeppelin playing in 1970.

Six decades on, attitudes may have changed for the most part, and the local community fully embracing this amazing event, but at its heart Newport Jazz Festival still honors the raw beauty, complexity, and evolving traditions of jazz while always producing new expressions. As Miles Davis once said, “Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent.”

Natixis Investment Managers are sponsoring this weekend Aug 3-5), and this year’s lineup features a full range of style and attitude. Among the well-respected line up, there are two stand out musicians performing.

Not to be missed is Charles Lloyd, whose professional career has spanned 6 decades, and has played with legends Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, and Bobby Hutcherson, Cannonball Adderley, Keith Jarrett. In honor of his 80th birthday Charles Lloyd will be playing a set with different musicians on all three dates.

Another artist, and a personal favorite, who has been active since the 1950s is George Clinton, the great architect of funk, and is no doubt one of the most significant contributors to the (pro)fusion of pop/rock/rap/funk in the past half century. Clintons’ work has been sampled or remixed by many household names in rap, such as Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and Kendrick Lamar to name but a few. Playing with longtime band member guitarist DeWayne McKnight, and the ensemble cast of Funkadelic and Parliament, expect classic funk tunes as well as a live performance from his first studio recording album in almost four decades “Medicaid Fraud Dogg”.

Whether or not you see yourself as a jazz fan, Newport Jazz Festival has long been a venue where musicians of all ages, races, and musical roots have come together for a weekend of music and community that continues to deliver a potent and living expression of this hard-to-define musical genre. During this 3 day event at Newport, you will find threads to all the music, you already feel deeply about, and then some.


Aug 3, 2018

  • Sangam
  • Charles Lloyd
  • Zakir Hussain
  • Eric Harland
  • R&R=NOW
  • Robert Glasper
  • Terrace Martin
  • Christian Scott
  • Derrick Hodge
  • Taylor McFerrin
  • Justin Tyson
  • Still Dreaming
  • Joshua Redman
  • Ron Miles
  • Scott Colley
  • Brian Blade
  • BadBadNotGood
  • Living Colour
  • Diva Jazz Orchestra
  • Tony Allen
  • Cory Henry and The Funk Apostles
  • Rudresh Mahanthappa
  • Michel Camilo
  • Marquis Hill Blacktet
  • Alicia Olatuja
  • Matthew Shipp Trio

Aug 4, 2018

  • Charles Lloyd New Quartet
  • Jason Moran
  • Reuben Rogers
  • Eric Harland
  • Pat Metheny
  • Antonio Sanchez
  • Linda May Han Oh
  • Gwilym Simcock
  • Andra Day
  • Laurie Anderson
  • Christian McBride
  • Rubin Kodheli
  • Jon Batiste
  • Jose James
  • Harold Mabern
  • Eric Alexander
  • Grace Kelly
  • Trio 3
  • Oliver Lake
  • Reggie Workman
  • Andrew Cyrille
  • Anat Cohen
  • Marcello Goncalves
  • Roy Hargrove
  • Mary Halverson’s Code Girl
  • Charenee Wade

Aug 5, 2018

  • Lucinda Williams
  • Charles Lloyd
  • Jason Moran
  • Marvin Sewell
  • Stuart Mathis
  • Reuben Rogers
  • Eric Harland
  • George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic
  • Gregory Porter
  • Artemis
  • Cecile McLorin Salvant
  • Renee Rosnes
  • Anat Cohen
  • Melissa Aldana
  • Ingrid Jensen
  • Noriko Ueda
  • Allison Miller
  • Ambrose Akinmusire’s Origami Harvest
  • GoGo Penguin
  • James Carter Organ Trio
  • Black Art Jazz Collective
  • Harold Lopez-Nussa Trio
  • Nicole Mitchell’s Dusty Wings
  • Jane Bunnett And Maqueque
  • Jazzmeia Horn
  • Nate Smith + Kinfolk


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