Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Fest Announces Line-Up of Bands
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk, Rudy Lu
Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary on Saturday & Sunday, June 24 & 25 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Founded in 1978 by jazz impresario George Wein, the fest has gone by many sponsors’ names over the years and is now the fifth longest-consecutive-running jazz festival in North America.
The milestone 2017 Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival features an impressive line-up of musicians, including the return of two legendary musicians who performed on the inaugural 1978 festival, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Jean-Luc Ponty. Headlining the weekend are Chaka Khan, making good after cancelling her scheduled performance at last year’s fest, and the Gipsy Kings, who will be making their jazz fest debut.
Here’s the complete line-up of performers at the 2017 Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival:
SATURDAY JUNE 24
12noon: THE DAVE STRYKER ORGAN QUARTET
The veteran jazz guitarist has recorded 27 albums as a bandleader, including his most recent, Messin’ with Mister T, a tribute to the man he worked with for over a decade, Stanley Turrentine. He’ll be joined by Eric Alexander, Jared Gold and McClenty Hunter.
1:20pm: JEAN-LUC PONTY: THE ATLANTIC YEARS
The pioneering jazz and rock violinist returns for his fourth Saratoga Jazz Fest appearance, this time focusing on music from his ’70s albums Imaginary Voyage, Enigmatic Ocean and Cosmic Messenger. He performed last May at The Egg with former Yes vocalist Jon Anderson.
2:50pm: CECILE McLORIN SALVANT
The 2016 Grammy Award winner and the 2010 Thelonious Monk Competition winner is a stunningly inventive vocalist who steps into the SPAC spotlight in support of her Grammy Award-winning album For One to Love. Her most recent Greater Nippertown appearances took place in 2015 at the Bridge Jazz Festival and Bard College’s Fisher Center.
4:15pm: JAZZ 100: THE MUSIC OF DIZZY, ELLA, MONGO & MONK featuring DANILO PEREZ, JOE LOVANO, AVISHAI COHEN, JOSH ROSEMAN, ROMAN DIAZ, BEN STREET & ADAM CRUZ
Led by musical director Danilo Perez, the all-star ensemble celebrates the centennial of the births of four visionary jazz icons: Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Mongo Santamaría and Thelonious Monk.
5:50pm: THE SUFFERS
Led by singer Kim Franklin, the Houston-based, 10-piece band has played such prestigious venues as the Newport Folk Fest Festival, Austin City Limits Festival and “The Late Show.” They’ll be firing up their self-described “Gulf Coast soul” sound for their SPAC debut in support of their 2016 self-titled album.
7:30pm: JACOB COLLIER
He’s one of the UK’s most distinctive, inventive and prodigious young musicians, best known for his trademark multi-faceted YouTube videos, in which he sings all of the parts, plays all the instruments and adds visual elements through a mosaic of video screens. His debut album, In My Room, was released in July, debuting at No. 1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Album chart.
9:25pm: CHAKA KHAN
The 10-time Grammy Award winner is known as the frontwoman for the funk band Rufus and her own timeless hits “I’m Every Woman” and “Ain’t Nobody.” She has released 22 albums and racked up 10 No. 1 hit songs, eight gold singles and 11 gold and platinum albums. She has been honored with a BET Honors award, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and induction into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame.
SATURDAY, JUNE 24
12:15pm: ARUAN ORTIZ
The Cuban-born/Brooklyn-based pianist, violist and composer, has written music for jazz ensembles, orchestras, dance companies, chamber groups and feature films. He was lauded as “one of the most versatile and exciting pianists of his generation” by Downbeat, and his 2016 album, Hidden Voices, received five stars from Jazziz Magazine.
1:40pm: JACK BROADBENT
Born and raised in rural England, Jack Broadbent has been hailed as “the new master of the slide guitar” at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and his distinctive songwriting, singing and performance styles were inspired by such folks as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.
3:05pm: THE DAVE STRYKER ORGAN QUARTET
Featuring Eric Alexander, Jared Gold & McClenty Hunter (see above)
4:30pm: BARBARA FASANO
She’s been hailed as one of the nation’s most stunning and soulful singers of the Great American Songbook and she’s earned three New York Bistro awards, six Manhattan Association of Cabarets awards and a New York Nightlife award for her performances and recordings, including her fourth and most recent album, Busy Being Free, which received the 2016 MAC Award for Major Recording of the Year.
5:55pm: SHABAKA & THE ANCESTORS
London-based saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings has earned numerous awards, including the 2010 BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist Award, the 2014 Paul Hamlyn Composer Award and the 2015 Jazz FM Instrumentalist of the Year.
SUNDAY, JUNE 25
12:30pm: JANE BUNNETT & MAQUEQUE
The internationally renowned Canadian saxophonist, pianist and five-time Juno Award winner leads her all-female Cuban sextet with original music featuring lush, inventive vocals from their latest release, Oddara. Their most recent Greater Nippertown appearance was two months ago at Troy’s Sanctuary for Independent Media.
1:50pm: QUINN SULLIVAN
Following his acclaimed solo debut in 2014, the 17-year-old blues guitarslinger and protege of Buddy Guy returns to Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival in support of recently released third studio album, Midnight Highway. His most recent Greater Nippertown appearance was at Lake George’s Wood Park for the 2015 American Music Festival for the Lake.
3:25pm: HUDSON featuring JACK DeJOHNETTE, JOHN SCOFIELD, JOHN MEDESKI & LARRY GRENADIER
The new supergroup – a quartet of Hudson Valley-based jazz greats – perform in support of their upcoming debut album and the 75th birthday of drum icon Jack DeJohnette, who led his trio in concert at The Egg just last month.
5pm: DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER
The three-time Grammy Award winner, Tony Award winner, Laurence Olivier Award winner, UN Goodwill Ambassador, producer and jazz vocalist returns for sixth festival appearance, featuring songs from her soon-to-be-released Memphis-inspired album, and shortly after she will be recognized as a National Endowment for the Arts 2017 NEA Jazz Master.
6:40pm: TO RAY, WITH LOVE featuring MACEO PARKER, THE RAY CHARLES ORCHESTRA & THE RAELETTES
Making his fourth appearance at the Saratoga Jazz Festival, the super saxman pays homage to the late great Ray Charles with selections from his 2008 tribute album, Roots & Grooves.
8:35pm: THE GIPSY KINGS
Celebrating their 40th anniversary, the Gipsy Kings make their Saratoga Jazz Festival debut with music from Savor Flamenco, their ninth studio album since their first release 25 years ago. Their distinctive blend of traditional flamenco styles with Western pop and Latin rhythms has reflected the diverse influences of the Gypsy heritage.
SUNDAY, JUNE 25
12:10pm: NOAH PREMINGER/JASON PALMER QUARTET
A showcase of two of the finest new voices in jazz. Tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger has recorded six albums under his own name and his regularly near the top of Downbeat’s critics’ and readers’ polls. Trumpeter Jason Palmer was a recipient of the 2014 French American Cultural Exchange Jazz Fellowship and earned 1st Place in the 2009 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition.
1:35pm: THE ADAM O’FARRILL QUARTET
Making his SPAC debut, the trumpeter is the son of famed Grammy Award-winning composer-pianist Arturo O’Farrill and grandson of the late legendary composer-pianist Chico O’Farrill. He formed his first band as a leader in 2014 and released the album, Stranger Days.
3pm: JERRON “BLIND BOY” PAXTON
With his music rooted in the early blues of the 1920s & ’30s, the multi-instrumentalist (banjo, piano and violin) was named 2014’s Best Blues Artist by The Village Voice. His most recent Greater Nippertown appearance was a sold-out show at Caffe Lena in 2015.
4:25pm: JANE BUNNETT & MAQUEQUE
5:55pm: CORY HENRY & THE FUNK APOSTLES
He made his Apollo Theater debut at age six. He’s a member of the two-time Grammy Award-winning band Snarky Puppy. And the Hammond B-3 player is bringing his futuristic funk to SPAC in support of his 2016 solo album, The Revival.
Tickets for the festival will be available to the general public online beginning at 10am Friday (February 3). Single-day reserved amphitheater seats are $75, $85, $95 & $105; lawn general admission $65. Two-day reserved amphitheater seats are $130, $150, $170 & $190; lawn general admission $110.
New $20 amphitheater ticket options are available for children ages 15 and under and students with school-issued ID at time of entrance. Seating is best available with some exclusions. Lawn seating is free for children ages 12 and under.