The Blue Note Jazz Festival returns tonight, June 10 through June 30, with over 50 performances at venues throughout New York City. Ticket information and a complete schedule of events are available on the official website, www.BlueNoteJazzFestival.com.
This year’s festival pays tribute to the masters of jazz while highlighting a diverse soundscape of jazz-rich genres. The wide array of artists includes jazz masters McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes and Jack DeJohnette; international acts Buika, Béla Fleck, Michel Camilo and The Flamenco Soul Project directed by Javier Limon; vocal sensations Kathleen Battle, Cassandra Wilson and Jimmy Scott; R&B/Funk/Soul legends Stephanie Mills, Bootsy Collins and The Commodores; and jazz-tinged mainstream and hip-hop artists Soulive, Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), Questlove, Black Thought and Rhazel, The Soul Rebels and Groove Theory. In addition to a special series of shows at the Blue Note Jazz Club, the 2012 Blue Note Jazz Festival will host performances at The Highline Ballroom, B.B. King Blues Club, Central Park Summerstage, The Apollo Theater, Henry Street Playhouse at the Abrons Arts Center, Brooklyn Bowl and Sullivan Hall.
“After the success of the inaugural Blue Note Jazz Festival, we decided to make this a yearly event as a way to continue expanding audiences, cultivate young talent and promote this wonderful music throughout New York City,” Blue Note President Steven Bensusan said. “This year’s performances go beyond jazz to include everything from flamenco, soul, and Latin to tap, blues and R&B, all with The Common thread of improvisation. But the heart of the festival is and will always remain the type of jazz that we present night after night at the Blue Note club.”
For Steven Bensusan and his father Danny, who opened the Blue Note 31 years ago, developing talent and new audiences is an overriding theme in everything they do. To preface the festival, the Blue Note Jazz Festival will sponsor educational programs presented by JazzReach, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching jazz programs to young audiences. NYU and the Blue Note will partner for a series of faculty shows throughout the month. Additionally, the Blue Note club will play host to the Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards on June 20 which will celebrate the accomplishments of jazz musicians and individuals in the industry.
While the inaugural festival celebrated the Blue Note’s legendary status, the 2012 event will set the stage for the festival’s promising future. “Last year, we used the festival as a way to look back on our illustrious 30 year history in Greenwich Village and celebrate with the people of New York. With the 2012 Blue Note Jazz Festival, we’re looking forward, both musically and developmentally. Our goal is for the Blue Note Jazz Festival to keep growing every year.”