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Live Reviews

Newport 2009: One for the Ages

By Published: August 21, 2009
Claudia Acuna singing an old Brazilian bolero that later became Americanized as "What a Diff'rence a Day Makes." Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
b.1960
saxophone
soloed on soprano, one of many occasions he played with his own quartet, or as a guest with musicians recorded on his Marsalis Music label.

Christian McBride's booming bass notes and George Colligan's impressive piano accompaniment on a McBride trio set.

The North Carolina Central University big band (and small groups) had a blast playing with Marsalis and his pianist, Joey Calderazzo
Joey Calderazzo
Joey Calderazzo
b.1965
piano
—both on the NCCU faculty.

The festival opener Friday night (August 7) at the 19th-century International Tennis Hall of Fame, with Chaka Khan subbing for an ailing Etta James, plus the Swing Era-leaning Howard Alden
Howard Alden
Howard Alden
b.1958
guitar
-Anat Cohen
Anat Cohen
Anat Cohen

sax, tenor
quintet.

Khan has a surprisingly good feel for jazz and an ear for good tunes, but her frequent forays into her upper register were like fingernails on a blackboard, all shrill, no thrill.

Alden, Cohen and Co. sounded just fine, swinging effortlessly on a dozen familiar tunes, including clarinetist Cohen's salute to Benny Goodman on his centennial, playing Eubie Blake's "Memories of You."



Impresario Wein sat in on "All of Me" and took his first of many bows over the weekend for having rescued the festival after the company he sold it to two years ago ran into financial problems. CareFusion, a California health care company, is joining Wein as lead sponsor of a number of festivals, including next June's two-week celebration in New York.



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