Cambridge and Springfield have launched promising new festivals even as some others have dropped by the wayside. Meanwhile, festivals in Northampton, Cambridge (again), Lawrence, and Newton have announced their schedules, and the Newport Jazz Festival—celebrating its 60th year!—has listed set times for this year’s performers.
By J. R. Carroll
Since publishing our 2014 preview of summer jazz festivals in New England in late May more information has become available on a number of festivals, including a couple of very promising new additions to the calendar.
Also, see below for a chronological listing of this summer’s remaining jazz festivals in New England.
Northern New England
Like the Bar Harbor Jazz Festival before it, Boothbay Harbor’s Lincoln Arts Festival Jazz Weekend seems to have gone missing. Fortunately, you can still catch the Deer Isle Jazz Festival in Stonington next weekend.
The Litchfield Jazz Festival has added some artists to an already impressive lineup, most notably Jazz Messengers trombonist Curtis Fuller (and Friends).
Jazz in Western Massachusetts gets a big boost with the inauguration of what we hope will become an annual event, the Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival. Although details of the schedule are still forthcoming, we can tell you that the event runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 9, and the roster of performers will include saxophone legend (and Springfield native) Phil Woods; vocalist Charmaine Neville (and her father, saxophonist Charles Neville), and third-generation Cuban jazz piano master Chuchito Valdés.
The Northampton Jazz Festival, scheduled for Saturday, September 6, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. has announced a strong lineup of performers for this year, including harmonica virtuoso Hendrik Meurkens, trumpeter Etienne Charles, trombonist Steve Davis, and saxophonist Seamus Blake.
Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod
Set times for the Newport Jazz Festival have now been announced and, well, keep that flipping coin handy, since with three stages you can’t hope to hear everything. The festival does include a few events that likely are one time only, including John Zorn’s Masada Marathon (2:30–5 p.m. Friday on the Quad Stage), Miguel Zenón and the “Identities” Big Band (3:35–4:40 p.m. Friday on the Ertegun Fort Stage), a symposium on “Newport at 60” with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Nate Chinen, John Szwed, and Ingrid Monson (11:05 a.m.–12:35 p.m. Saturday on the CB Harbor Stage), Brazilian mandolinist Hamilton de Holanda and Italian pianist Stefano Bollani (3:35–4:35 p.m. Saturday on the CB Harbor Stage), and festival founder George Wein’s annual appearance with the Newport All-Stars (1:55-2:55 p.m. Sunday on the Quad Stage), this year composed of trumpeter Randy Brecker, clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen, flutist/saxophonist Lew Tabackin, guitarist Howard Alden, bassist Jay Leonhart, and drummer Clarence Penn.
JazzFest Falmouth has announced this year’s schedule, including pianist Alan Broadbent on Sunday, September 28, headlining vocalist Catherine Russell on Saturday, October 4, and bassist Dave Zinno on Wednesday, October 8. The lineup for the annual Friday Night Jazz Stroll has also been posted.
Seemingly from out of nowhere, a significant new jazz event that didn’t exist before June 4, 2014, has popped up just off of Central Square. Running from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 27, the Cambridge Jazz Festival boasts an impressive roster of Boston-based performers, including flutist Fernando Brandão and the Berklee Brazilian All-Stars, pianist George W. Russell, Jr., vocalist Dominique Eade, and drummers Ron Savage and Terri Lyne Carrington, the latter joined by special guest vocalist Valerie Simpson.
Hot on the heels of the Cambridge Jazz Festival, the Boomtown Concert Series–a festival in all but name–returns to the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center. The free 7 p.m. performances feature Sol y Canto (Monday, July 28), vocalist Lisa Thorson (Tuesday, July 29), the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble (Wednesday, July 30), and the Jetro da Silva Group (Thursday, July 31).
The annual Labor Day (Monday, September 1) Bread and Roses Heritage Festival in Lawrence has announced an eclectic lineup that includes the merengue of Banda Joven, trombonist Wayne Branco and friends (perhaps the ones with the Itchy Feet?), and the klezmer sounds of Ezekiel’s Wheels.
The schedule for the Newton Jazz and Wine Festival has been firmed up and will include a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald with vocalist Patrice Williamson and friends (Friday, September 19, 8 p.m. at the Newton War Memorial Auditorium in City Hall) and the free Jazz-In-The-Yard event from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 20 at the historic Jackson Homestead.
Meanwhile, we’re still awaiting word on the status of this year’s Merrimack Valley Jazz Festival, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, Pittsfield CityJazz Festival, and Holyoke Latin Jazz Festival.
Check back with us around Labor Day for our 2014 autumn festival update.
2014 Festival Chronology
Summer Arts Weekend
Saturday, July 26—Sunday, July 27
Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA
Saturday, July 26—Sunday, August 3
North Adams, MA
Cambridge Jazz Festival
Sunday, July 27
Boomtown Concert Series
Monday, July 28-Thursday, July 31
Deer Isle Jazz Festival
Thursday, July 31—Saturday, August 2
Newport Jazz Festival
Friday, August 1—Sunday, August 3
Litchfield Jazz Festival
Friday, August 8—Sunday, August 10
Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival
Saturday, August 9
Rockport Jazz Festival
Wednesday, August 13—Sunday, August 17
New Haven Jazz Festival
Saturday, August 16
New Haven, CT
Salem Jazz and Soul Festival
Saturday, August 16
Provincetown Jazz Festival
Saturday, August 16 and Monday, August 18
Bread and Roses Heritage Festival
Monday, September 1
Northampton Jazz Festival
Saturday, September 6
Newton Jazz and Wine Festival
Friday, September 19—Sunday, September 21
Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival
Saturday, September 27
Saturday, September 27—Tuesday, October 7
2014 Festivals with Dates TBA
Merrimack Valley Jazz Festival
Usually in September
Newtonville Village Day
Usually in September
Pittsfield CityJazz Festival
Usually in October
Holyoke Latin Jazz Festival
Usually in October