Litchfield Jazz Festival marks its 18h season August 9 – 11, 2013 at the Goshen Fairgrounds and is strategically timed so die –hard jazz lovers can attend both the Litchfield and Newport Festivals. The Festival has tent and lawn seating and adjacent, free parking.
The Litchfield Jazz Festival opens Friday evening, August 9, with a Gala for “Friends” ($150) and “Best Friends” ($350 for the Gala and VIP all weekend). Music at this gala event is provided by some of the most outstanding students of Litchfield Jazz Camp. Tickets to this gala help support the Jazz Camp’s scholarship program. The Gala will be followed by two sets on the Mainstage. The first at 7:45 is the Emmet Cohen Trio and includes a pianist, who recently took 3rd place in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Piano competition. The second set includes the multi-Tony Award Winner Christine Ebersole, who teams up with virtuoso jazz violinist Aaron Weinstein and his Trio. The Festival grounds open 5:00 PM and all festivities and music wrap up at 10:15.
On Saturday, August 10 at Noon (grounds open at 11 a.m.) the remarkable Flamenco guitarist Val Ramos and his ensemble brings his Rhumba Flamenco – the Spanish jazz-equivalent– to the Fest for the first time. Next up at 1:45 p.m., the Fest presents its first foray into Gospel with the iconic bassist Avery Sharpe presenting Gospel Explosion & Sacred Songs, a program featuring Sharpe’s Trio with Yoron Israel on drums and Onaje Allen Gumbs, piano, and members of his Extended Family Choir and the Williams College Gospel Choir which Sharpe directs.
The Gospel set will be followed by Gary Smulyan’s Baritone Summit, a six-time Grammy winner and Festival Artist-in-Residence joins forces with Claire Daly, Lauren Sevian and Andrew Hadro for a smashing Bari Quartet backed by a rhythm section with Helen Sung on piano, Matt Wilson on drums, and Jon Michel on bass. The next set stars college linebacker-turned Grammy-nominated vocalist, Gregory Porter who took the festival world by storm last season with his acclaimed performance at the Monterey Jazz Festival. The day ends on an upbeat with the 9-time Grammy Winner and newest NEA Jazz Master, the great Latin bandleader and pianist Eddie Palmieri and his Latin Jazz Band. Palmieri has been a giant on the jazz scene for more than 50 years, and his vigor is undiminished.
On Sunday, August 11, the Fest opens at Noon, with the exciting Orrin Evans Trio. Next up is, vocalist June Bisantz discovered early last year by the Festival’s Founder and Artistic Director, Vita Muir at Hartford’s hippest series, Music @ Japanalia. June makes her Litchfield debut with Music Director Alex Nachimofsky on piano, Norman Johnson on guitar, Gabor Viragh on trumpet and Matt Dwonszyk on bass in a tribute to the late, great trumpeter/vocalist, Chet Baker.
It has been five years since Litchfield Jazz Camp Music Director, saxophonist Don Braden, has graced the Festival Mainstage as a leader. So this year, he’s back again with an all-star band. His quartet features special guest Geri Allen on piano, Avery Sharpe on bass, and Alvin Atkinson.
At 5:30 just back from a European tour, the Vincent Herring-Eric Alexander Quintet will delight the audience with a set titled “In the Spirit of Coltrane and Cannonball.” The band features Harold Mabern on piano, Joris Dudli on drums and Joris Teepe on bass.
In what seems to be becoming a tradition, Litchfield Jazz Festival 2013 closes with a rousing Latin Dance Party with the great Puerto Rican trombonist and Grammy nominated recording artist Papo Vázquez and the Mighty Pirate Troubadours.
In between Mainstage acts all weekend long, ticketholders can listen to talented Litchfield Jazz Camp students, enjoy and purchase art, craft and photography at an excellent show curated by Heron Gallery’s Ellen Corsell of Kent, CT. Picnics are welcome and fine wines and excellent lagers from East Hartford’s Olde Burnside Brewing Company may be purchased. A dozen food vendors provide excellent meals at reasonable prices. Activities designed for families with young children are scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday in the festival’s new Kids Zone. Artist-in- Residence Gary Smulyan will host interviews on both weekend days with Festival stars. On Saturday, August 10th, an after Party & Jam follows at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Southbury.
Visit www.litchfieldjazzfest.com or call 860-361-6285 for tickets and info. Tickets: Advance: $30 Lawn, $55 Tent, $150 – $500 premium tickets and passes; Multi-Day Discounted JazzPasses available. Handling fees apply. Children 12 and under free on the Lawn with an adult.
For accommodations and lodging information www.litchfieldhills.com.