Young lions and old legends to rub shoulders at Tanglewood
by Seth Rogovoy
(LENOX, Mass., March 26, 2002) – Jazz legends including Dave Brubeck and Marian McPartland will rub elbows with young lions such as Diana Krall and Roy Hargrove at this year’s Labor Day weekend Tanglewood Jazz Festival, to be held on August 30 through September 1.
In a press conference scheduled to take place tonight [ Tuesday, March 26 ] in Boston, the Boston Symphony Orchestra is expected to announce that this year’s jazz lineup will also include performances by Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, pianist Sir Roland Hanna, and drummer Roy Haynes, leading an ensemble in a tribute to Charlie Parker, with whom he pioneered bebop in the late-1940s and early-‘50s.
Haynes’s ensemble, Birds of a Feather, includes an all-star lineup of younger talent featuring trumpeter Roy Hargrove, bassist Christian McBride, pianist Dave Kikoski and Kenny Garrett in the perhaps unenviable role of saxophonist in a tribute to the man who perhaps made the saxophone the quintessential instrument of jazz.
The second season programmed by Boston jazz impresario Fred Taylor – who is himself a legend in jazz for his longstanding efforts to promote jazz in and around Boston – will also include a jazz organ summit in the 900-seat Tanglewood Theater, marking the first time the jazz festival will use that venue. The Jimmy McGriff Quartet will face off against the Joey DeFrancesco trio with special guest saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman. The groups will performseparate sets and then take the stage together for a jam session.
Pianists McPartland and Hanna will team up for a live taping of National Public Radio’s award-winning “Piano Jazz” program, hosted by McPartland. In addition to his performance with the Parker tribute, Hargrove will lead his quintet, featuring drummer Willie Jones, pianist Eric Lewis, bassist Dwayne Burno, and saxophonist Justin Robinson, in a separate concert.
Other performs at the festival will include Puerto Rican jazz flautist Nestor Torres and up-and-coming vocalist Roberta Gamborini, who wowed audiences at last year’s Berkshire Jazz Festival at Butternut Basin in Great Barrington.
Sandoval and his orchestra will kick off the festival on Friday night, August 30, at 8, in Ozawa Hall. A protégé of Dizzy Gillespie, Sandoval is a four-time Grammy Award-winner who was granted political asylum in the U.S. in 1990. Torres will warm up the crowd for Sandoval on opening night with his smooth blend of Latin jazz and pop.
The organ summit with the McGriff and DeFrancesco groups will take place at 1:30 on Saturday, August 31, in the Tanglewood Theater. McGriff, who has been recording for 30 years, is known for his blues-drenched style on the Hammond B-3, while DeFrancesco, who made his recording debut at age 17 in 1989, has played a crucial role in the revived popularity of organ jazz, sometimes called soul-jazz.
The taping of McPartland’s “Piano Jazz” with Hanna will take place in Ozawa Hall on Saturday at 3. The first lady of jazz is no stranger to Tanglewood audiences, having performed at the festival several times over the last decade. In addition to his work as a solo performer, Hanna is noted for his role as an accompanist with the likes of vocalists Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McRae and Al Hibbler.
On Saturday night, the festival moves to the Shed at 8 for a double-bill featuring the Charlie Parker tribute and Grammy Award-winning vocalist/pianist Diana Krall, who will perform with her trio. Krall’s most recent recording, “The Look of Love,” featured the London Symphony Orchestra backing the singer in arrangements of ballads and bossa nova tunes that recalled “In the Wee Small Hours”-era Frank Sinatra.
On Sunday afternoon the festival kicks off at 2 in Ozawa Hall with something of a replay of last summer’s Berkshire Jazz Festival. Both the Roy Hargrove Quintet and Roberta Gamborini and her group performed at Butternut Basin last summer. Hargrove is a versatile trumpeter and bandleader cast in the mold of Miles Davis but whose work spans ballads, funk, Cuban, r&b and bebop.
Perennial jazz festival curtain-closers the Dave Brubeck Quartet close the festival on Sunday night at 8 at Ozawa Hall.
Tickets to the 2002 Tanglewood Jazz Festival go on sale this Sunday at 10 a.m. Tickets are available through the BSO’s SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200 or online at the BSO’s website, www.bso.org. Tickets are also available through Ticketmaster outlets, phone charge and website, www.ticketmaster.com. More information is available at 617-266-1492.
[This article originally appeared in the Berkshire Eagle on March 26, 2002. Copyright Seth Rogovoy 2002. All rights reserved.]
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