Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 3:12 pm
Drummer Lewis Nash is certainly no stranger to prestigious festival stages; he's served in bands led by Betty Carter, Branford Marsalis and Tommy Flanagan. (And that was relatively early in his career, too.) So it's a great move to give the supporting cast member, who truly innovates within jazz traditions, a share of the spotlight. One of the bands he leads features the front line of Jeremy Pelt (trumpet) and Jimmy Greene (tenor sax); it's a classic quintet lineup, and it's the first on stage on day two at the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival.
The drummer has had a busy year already, having accepted the NEA Jazz Masters award and having released a new album, Sound Travels. He continues his year-long 70th birthday celebration by assembling this ad hoc band of leading lights like guitarist Lionel Loueke and bassist Christian McBride, who are both leading their own gigs this year.
Since he came over from Cuba around the turn of the century, the phenomenally talented percussionist Pedrito Martinez has become the conguero of choice for scores of bands. And most weeks in New York City, you can see him with his own, gigging several nights a week at a Cuban restaurant south of Central Park. The Pedrito Martinez Group places him at the congas and behind a microphone, where he exhibits a certain natural charisma. And though we haven't yet heard a studio album from the band, we already know that it goes way beyond what you'd think of Afro-Cuban music and/or jazz.
After a sunny, warm afternoon on the Rhode Island shore, the first full day of the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival has come and gone. If you've got a free moment, you can already replay many of the sets we recorded online. But starting at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, we'll be presenting eight more hours of live video from the festival at npr.org/newportjazz. Here's what's on tap:
The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet has been serenading audiences in its native Washington, D.C., across the country and even as far as France for more than two decades. But its members are finding ways to bring something new to their performances. Bandleader and co-founder Ginny Carr says she wrote the words and music to all 10 songs on the quartet's new album, Hustlin' for a Gig — a relative rarity in a jazz world defined by time-tested standards.
This weekend, NPR Music and our partners WBGO and WGBH are presenting 16 hours of live video webcasting from the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival. For your convenience, here's a breakdown of what you'll see online and hear on WBGO. Everything is subject to change, as with all broadcasting; for the latest, check out npr.org/newportjazz, where you'll find the streaming video.
In May, JazzSet host Dee Dee Bridgewater emceed three nights of concerts held at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater as part of the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival in Washington, D.C. Chihiro Yamanaka and Jane Bunnett opened the first night; they come from Japan and Canada, respectively, and each has a compelling story.
Gil Evans, born a century ago this year, was a leading jazz arranger and composer starting in the 1940s, when he wrote for big bands. He helped organize Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool sessions, then arranged Davis' celebrated orchestra albums like Sketches of Spain. Evans, who had his own big bands that went electric in the 1970s and '80s, died in 1991, but some of his rare music has been newly recorded.