Newport 2009: One for the Ages
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 Calderazzoboth 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-Anat Cohen 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.