Not content to stand pat with a simple Ornette Coleman set, the festival organizers behind Bonnaroo are collaborating with Blue Note Records to expose some scenesters to genuine improv and build a real-deal jazz club on site:
The first event of its kind, Somethin’ Else aims to create an authentic Jazz club atmosphere in the middle of the largest outdoor rock festival in the United States, and to introduce the Bonnaroo audience to Jazz through live performances by legendary and up-and-coming artists, panel discussions about Jazz History, and exhibits of classic Blue Note Records photography and album artwork.
I don’t know if you can see me right now, but I’m givin’ these guys a slow-clap standing ovation. Bravo, Bonnaroo, bravo. This particular festival was founded on the back of improvisation, and while it’s become more of a rock party than anything else, I’m excited to see Bonnaroo pay tribute to the roots of the jam.
And lest you think they’ve got some nobodys filling the slots in the makeshift club, check out this great list of artists they lined up to christen the place:
The legendary jazz label along with festival organizers selected an outstanding line-up from the Blue Note Records artist roster and beyond. Performers will include legendary artists such as saxophonist Lou Donaldson and Hammond B3 organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, established artists such as pianist Jacky Terrasson, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, clarinetist Don Byron, and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, up-and-comers such as pianist Robert Glasper and guitarist Lionel Loueke, and crossover artists such as the Scott Amendola Band featuring Nels Cline, Stanton Moore, Billy Martin and John Medeski, and The Philadelphia Experiment.
That’s pretty serious stuff. Now I kinda wish I were headed there so I can get my hard bop on. I’d definitely be interested in seeing whether it’s an “authentic jazz club,” complete with mostly white people with clever facial hair that take themselves too seriously. If they’re there, then it’s the real thing.