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Highlights: 2014 Newport Jazz Festival Celebrates 60 Years, Looks to the Future

By Louise Burton l.burton@classicalite.com on Jul 29, 2014 02:08 AM EDT

This weekend, the 2014 Newport Jazz Festival celebrates 60 years with a roster of jazz luminaries including Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Bobby McFerrin spirityouall, Vijay Iyer, Robert Glasper, Dr. John, Gary Burton, Gregory Porter and many more.

Highlights of the 2014 festival in Newport, R.I. include a double-bill performance on Friday at 8:00 p.m., featuring jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater and Marsalis' Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Bridgewater will present a salute to Billie Holiday, "To Billie with Love." Bridgewater recently starred in Lady Day, the off-Broadway musical about the iconic jazz singer. Marsalis' Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will close the concert by playing signature pieces from some of the Festival's most memorable concerts of the past 60 years.

Earlier in the day, rising young artists will take the stage at Fort Adams Park on Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay, including trumpeter Amir ElSaffar's Middle Eastern-influenced quintet, the jazz-funk-rock band Snarky Puppy, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society--and jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant, who was chosen as the top female vocalist of the year in Downbeat Magazine's recent Critics Poll.

"We are thrilled to open the Festival on Friday with an entire day of musicians who have emerged on the scene with distinctive stories to tell through their music," said George Wein, who has produced the Festival since its beginning in 1954.

Wein has every reason to rest on his laurels, after managing the festival known as the "granddaddy of all outdoor jazz festivals" for so many years. But at age 88, he is looking ahead, to the generation of young jazz musicians who are the future of the art form.

"In fact, the only reason for me to be in the Festival business at this point in my life is because these musicians and others must be heard," Wein said.

He isn't alone. Alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, 86, the only surviving headliner from the first festival in 1954, is making an appearance at this year's festival. On Sunday, Konitz and his quartet will share the stage with his protege, 22-year-old saxophonist Grace Kelly.

For a complete schedule of Festival events and performers, please visit newportjazzfest.org.

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TagsNewport Jazz Festival, Highlights, Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Billie Holiday, Cécile McLorin Salvant, George Wein

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