'Newport Jazz Festival(R): Now 60' Tour to Launch 2/8
In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the world-renowned Newport Jazz Festival (August 1-3, 2014), clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen, vocalist/pianist Karrin Allyson, bassists Larry Grenadier and Ben Allison, pianist Peter Martin, guitarist Mark Whitfield, trumpeter Randy Brecker, and drummer Clarence Penn embark on the 17-city "Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60" Tour, February 8 - March 30, 2014, with more dates during June, July and August in North America and Europe.
This multi-gender, multi-national and multi-generational group of musicians was especially selected by festival founder/producer George Wein, in conjunction with his long-time associates and the tour's producers, Danny Melnick of Absolutely Live Entertainment, LLC and Darlene Chan of FestivalWest, Inc., to represent the incredible diversity of talent that the Newport Jazz Festival has presented over the last six decades. (Melnick is also the associate producer of the Newport Jazz Festival.)
"I've put together some excellent all-star ensembles in the past, but this group is really special to me," says Wein. "These musicians come from different parts of the country, different parts of the world and from different eras of jazz and they offer an excellent census of where the music has been, where it is and where it's going. Together, they represent the festival's 60-year goal: to bring the best and brightest jazz musicians to present musical experiences that fans will remember for a lifetime."
The tour venues include Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, Emerson Concert Hall, Emory University, Atlanta, GA; Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA; the Merriam Theater, Philadelphia, PA; Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA; Old Town School Of Folk Music, Chicago, Il; and the Jazz Standard, New York, NY (See full schedule below)
Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, clarinet/tenor saxophonist Anat Cohen, comes from a musical family that includes her brothers, saxophonist Yuval and trumpeter Avishai. She studied clarinet at the age of 12, and attended the Tel Aviv School for the Arts, the "Thelma Yellin" High School for the Arts and the Jaffa Music Conservatory. She played tenor saxophone in the Israeli Air Force Band, from 1993 to 1995, enrolled at the Berklee School of Music, and moved to New York City in 1999, where she worked with a number of bands including the Diva Jazz Orchestra, drummer Dudu Da Fonseca's Samba Jazz Quintet and the Choro Ensemble. In 2005, she created her own label, Anzic Records, and released Noir and Poetica (2007), Notes from the Village (2008), and Clarinetwork: Live at the Village Vanguard(2010). Hailed by Nat Hentoff as a musician who "...tells stories from her own experiences that are so deeply felt that they are very likely to connect listeners to their own dreams, desires and longings," Cohen's latest CDs, Claroscuro(2012), brilliantly blends jazz with New Orleans, African and Brazilian genres, and Tightrope (2013), her fourth release with her two brothers, together called the 3 Cohens.
The Philadelphia-born Randy Brecker - who constituted one-half of the famed Brecker Brothers Band with his saxophonist brother, Michael - has been one of the most diverse and in-demand trumpeters of the last four decades. He grew up playing in R&B, soul and rock bands in Philadelphia, and was influenced by Lee Morgan, Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins and MiLes Davis. He attended Indiana University from 1963 to 1965, where he played with Booker T. and The MG's and IU Big Band. He moved to New York City the next year, and worked with Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, the Duke Pearson Big Band, recorded two albums with Blood, Sweat and Tears, and worked in Horace Silver's quintet. Brecker was also a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and co-founded the seminal jazz fusion group, Dreams. With over 20 recordings as a leader to his credit, Brecker's latest CDs include Randy Brecker Plays Wlodek Pawlik's Night in Calisia (2013) and Brecker Brothers Band Reunion (2013).
Known as "The Marksman" when he burst on the scene during the "Young Lions" decade of the nineties, guitarist Mark Whitfield takes the approaches of George Benson, Grant Green and Kenny Burrell to a whole new level. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Whitfield has worked with a wide variety of musicians, from Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Carmen McRae, to Wynton Marsalis, Ray Charles and BetTy Carter. He's also worked with many pop stars including Sting, Jill Scott, and Mary J. Blige. He released his debut CD, The Marksman in 1990, and has recorded over 11 releases as a leader, including his latest, Songs of Wonder(2009), a tribute to Stevie Wonder. He toured with the band Jazz Futures, which was created in 1991 by George Wein to celebrate the next generation of jazz.