Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

552

Newport Jazz Festival: Saturday, August 7, 2010

Newport Jazz Festival: Saturday, August 7, 2010
Timothy J. O'Keefe By

Sign in to view read count
Part 1 | Part 2
CareFusion Newport Jazz Festival
Fort Adams State Park
Newport, RI

August 7, 2010

Sun rays streamed through mostly blue skies, pelting Fort Adams State Park with heat, as the annual jazz festival returned to the Rhode Island peninsula in 2010. Few people attending probably even realized that a week earlier, tropical storm Colin feigned a move that would have had festival goers singing a different tune. However, the storm altered its path and fizzled, leaving Newport with nothing but sunshine for its three-day musical extravaganza.

As things got underway, Darcy James Argue started off the late morning music on the Harbor stage. The 18 piece orchestra opened with "Transit," a zig-zagging odyssey inspired by the infamous Fung Wah bus service. Next, they performed "Zeno," a dizzying piece drawing from the paradoxes of the Greek philosopher bearing the same name.

"Think fear and destruction," Argue explained as he introduced "Phobos," titled for both the Greek god of Fear and the ill-fated moon of Mars. Throughout the performance, the orchestrator steered this modern day interpretation of a big band, through varied timing changes, moments of soft expressions, and places of crashing sound. While illness prevented Bob Brookmeyer from performing, Argue fondly recalled the influence of his mentor, performing "Blow-out Prevention," "Obsidian Flow," and closing with "Drift."

The 2010 festival experimented with its long-standing three stage layout. While the large, open-field Fort stage and the mid-sized, more intimate Harbor stage remained, the small Waterside stage was removed. This year, a Quad stage was added inside the walls of the stone fort. In the past, sounds from one stage could sometimes be heard at other listening areas, and this new layout helped improve the overall listening experience.



JD Allen took to the Quad stage at half passed noon. Joining the saxophonist, drummer Rudy Royston and bassist Gregg August completed a trio format, and threw down a marathon session that enthralled the audience. Beginning with the powerful "Esre!," the trio consistently improvised musical ideas throughout the set—a quick saxophone riff by Allen gave way to Royston's rolling drum work. Cymbals smashed and August's bass playing came to the foreground, the two exploring for several minutes. Allen returned, and rang out long, emotional notes, then the band plunged into the more Middle Eastern sounds of "The Cross and the Crescent Sickle."

Allen soared soulfully swerving around and through the rhythm. Suddenly, he played in abrupt bursts, and then brought the band back into more melodic movements. Incessant and fiery, the band performed with a relentless and enduring energy. Soon, they spanned themes for other pieces—"Sun House," "Pagan," and "Titus," among others. After nearly forty minutes, they broke into "Stardust," a slow moving ballad, where Royston worked his drums using mallets, while Allen's sax swooned, and August slowly walked notes. The tempo slowed and the band paused, as if ending, only to abruptly resume its energetic playing.

"I was initially a little nervous," Allen admitted after the set, "but I got comfortable. I enjoyed it. I think the guys enjoyed it, too. If you come to Newport, I realize it's an intelligent crowd. You can't bullshit this crowd. It almost feels kind of like when you're in Europe, they're listening intently."



As the second round of performances came to a close, The Julian Lage Group displayed rich artistry and dynamic influences during the Harbor stage's mid-afternoon set. Joining guitarist Lage, were saxophonist Dan Blake, Cellist Aristides Rivas, bassist Jorge Roeder, and percussionist Tupac Mantilla, who formed as a cohesive unit while studying music in Boston. The set opened with "Listening Walk." As Lage repeatedly riffed on the opening number, Mantilla and Roeder rhythmically built a foundation upon which Blake's droning saxophone notes could be heard. Continuing, they played "Telegram," which touted a heavy Bluegrass feel, and briefly danced towards a Celtic sound.

The centerpiece from the performance may have been the creative trio twist on "Lil Darlin," where Guitarist Lage glided from melody line to solo flurries, and back, accompanied by Roeder's bass work. As Roeder played, Mantilla wove percussive beats by hitting the upright bass' body, bridge, and neck. Several pieces from the performance, including "Cocoon," "Working Title," and "Ode to Elvin," (which is dedicated to Elvin Jones), will be recorded later this summer, when the band returns to the studio for its second release.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC Winter Jazzfest Live Reviews Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano Live Reviews Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano
by Keith Henry Brown
Published: January 13, 2018
Read Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café Live Reviews Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: January 2, 2018
Read Terence Blanchard at Christ Church Cranbrook Live Reviews Terence Blanchard at Christ Church Cranbrook
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 29, 2017
Read Gary Peacock Trio at the Regattabar Jazz Club Live Reviews Gary Peacock Trio at the Regattabar Jazz Club
by Nat Seelen
Published: December 27, 2017
Read "Like A Jazz Machine 2017" Live Reviews Like A Jazz Machine 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 4, 2017
Read "Diane Schuur at Birdland" Live Reviews Diane Schuur at Birdland
by Tyran Grillo
Published: November 20, 2017
Read "Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "October Revolution in Jazz & Contemporary Music 2017" Live Reviews October Revolution in Jazz & Contemporary Music 2017
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 24, 2017
Read "Keystone Korner 45th Anniversary Celebration" Live Reviews Keystone Korner 45th Anniversary Celebration
by Walter Atkins
Published: August 6, 2017
Read "Bob Niederriter Trio At The Bop Stop" Live Reviews Bob Niederriter Trio At The Bop Stop
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 9, 2017