Coming Attractions in Jazz: Late Summer Festivals

Head (mostly) north for August’s jazz festivals, which take us to Newport, Litchfield, Stonington, Martha’s Vineyard, New Haven, Lowell, Bar Harbor, Salem (MA), and Bangor. 

By J. R. Carroll. 

Saxophonist Miguel Zenon

Miguel Zenon


The peak weekend for jazz festivals is wrapping up today, with final performances at the Newport Jazz Festival (some highlights include Miguel Zenon’s Puerto Rican Songbook with Guillermo Klein, Charles Lloyd’s Sangam with Zakir Hussain and Eric Harland, and a saxophone summit with Zenon, Ravi Coltrane, and Steve Coleman ), the Litchfield Jazz Festival (highlights include the Matt Wilson Quartet plus Strings, the Joe Lovano Nonet, and the Jimmy Heath Big Band), and the Deer Isle Jazz Festival (the Matthew Shipp String Trio with violinist Matt Maneri and bassist William Parker). 

This coming week the action shifts first to the Martha’s Vineyard Jazz Festival, with performances on Tuesday, August 9, by the Antonio Hart Quartet and on Wednesday, August 10, by the Warren Wolf Quartet; both shows are at 9 p.m. 

You can catch two free festivals on Saturday, August 13. The New Haven Jazz Festival is headlined by Jay Hoggard’s AfriCaribbean Vibes, while in Lowell, MA, you can hear vocalist Henri Smith’s New Orleans Friends and Flavours and a big band of Berklee faculty members led by trumpeter Greg Hopkins at the Merrimack Valley Jazz Festival 

Up in Maine, the Bar Harbor Jazz Festival promises a full weekend, running Thursday through Sunday, August 18–21, including sets by saxophonist Bill McHenry, pianist Chris Doyle, saxophonist Steve Slagle, pianist Laszlo Gardony, saxophonist Benny Sharoni, and vocalist Kristin Slipp 

Closer to Boston, the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, August 20–21, with a strong emphasis on New Orleans featuring trombonist Big Sam’s Funky Nation, saxophonist Charles Neville, and the inimitable Bonerama; also on board are local favorites Club d’Elf, guitarist/vocalist Thaddeus Hogarth, and guitarist Bobby Keyes 

Back to Maine for the last weekend in August and Bangor’s rootsy American Folk Festival; running Friday, August 26 through Sunday, August 28, featured artists include Congolese vocalist/guitarist Samba Ngo, Cuban conga master Pedrito Martinez, and the New Orleans-based Stooges Brass Band.

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