Taking pictures wasn’t one of my main objectives at the Newport Jazz Festival this year and this isn’t very inclusive of what went on there. Even if I had tried to document it comprehensively, I couldn’t have there was just too too much going on.
It was funny, last year I took a lot of pictures. A week later I was looking at the blog post of a professional photographer who had documented the festival. It was as if we had been to two different festivals. Of all the acts that we had both seen there was only one that we both had pictures of.
I’m not a photographer, these are just the best photos that I took.
Like most people I listen to most off my music digitally now. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been putting my scattered CD collection together and listening to a lot of things that have been out of circulation for a while. I have been truly amazed by how many things that Christian McBride has played on.
Outside of being a virtuoso bassist with his own recording career he as played as a sideman on an incredible cross section of the most creative music of the last 25 years. He also plays the role of jazz ambassador and curator with radio shows on both NPR and SiriusXM.
Most recently he has been named the Artistic Director of the Newport Jazz Festival.
We talked about balancing his workload, Newport, George Wein, Chick Corea and his upcoming projects.
Music used in this podcast: Christian McBride – Tango Improvisations (featuring Chick Corea) – Conversations with Christian
Christian McBride – Tones for Joan’s Bones (featuring Chick Corea) – Number Two Express
Christian McBride – Sand Dune – Live at the Village Vanguard
Christian McBride – Boogie Woogie Waltz – Live at Tonic Christian McBride & Inside Straight – The Movement Revisited – People Music
A couple of weeks ago my friend John Murphy invited me to see his collection of Newport Jazz and Folk Festival memorabilia. John is a former WRIU jazz radio host (aka, The Monsignor or John of Jamestown) and has been going to the Newport festivals since the early 1960s. I wish I had recorded our conversation, he had stories about Duke Ellington and James Brown that I wish I could remember.
The note in the autograph from Myself Among Others relates to having to pull the plug on Jimmy Smith in 1965. The police were about to shut down the festival for running too late and the band was showing no signs of stopping.
John told a story about how he had ordered tickets by mail for the 1966 Folk Festival. When he went to pick them up at the ticket window there were none there. To make good on the error they gave him very good seats right up front, sitting next to Pete Seeger and his wife. He said they were very friendly and he ended up going home with Seeger’s program with his notes for the day inside.
Reed player Dave Liebman has a career spanning over 50 years. The discography on his website lists 512 albums as a leader and with others. Starting in New York City in the 1960s he is a former sideman of Elvin Jones and Miles Davis. Although he plays tenor saxophone and flute there was a long part of his career where played exclusively soprano saxophone.
We talked about his early free playing with Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland (he has recently been in the studio with them again), his teaching perspective and his Expansions Group that will play at the Newport Jazz Festival this year.
Music used in this podcast: The David Liebman Group – The Puzzle
Dave Liebman – First Visit
The David Liebman Group – Hat TrickThe David Liebman Group – Samsara
The David Liebman Group – Sivad
It is sort of fitting that George Wein is the first interview on this site. As musician, club owner and finally as a festival promoter he has done so much to shape the culture of jazz today. At 89 he is still actively involved in the Newport Jazz Festival hearing and approving all the acts.
We talked about the beginnings of the Festival in 1954 and the troubles that befell it in along the way. We also talked about his current role in the organization and how jazz and it’s culture are evolving.
This interview was recorded on July 7th 2014 and broadcast July 8th on WRIU FM in Kingston RI.