Sneak Peek At 2019 Lineup For The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival
The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival announces the first round of headliners for the 36th annual event happening this May 31-June 9, 2019. St. Paul & The Broken Bones join forces with Tank & The Bangas on Thursday, June 6 at the Waterfront Tent. On Saturday, June 8, Toots & The Maytals welcome the return of reggae to the iconic Waterfront Tent events, with The Big Takeover and Sabayouma to open.
The Festival also offered a sneak peek into what's in store up the hill at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts announcing jazz legend Pharoah Sanders coming to the Flynn MainStage on Saturday, June 1, as well as Tia Fuller and Christian Sands each headlining nights in FlynnSpace. Tickets go on sale to Friends of Discover Jazz on Thursday, January 31 and to the public on Thursday, February 7. Festival membership starts at $50 and supports the 100+ hours of free live music presented every year as part of the 10-day festival.
Following his bandleader and mentor John Coltrane into the enigmatic twists of the avant-garde, tenor sax legend Pharoah Sanders pressed on until his playing turned transcendent. His early records, such as Tauhid (1966) and Karma(1969), lend themselves to engagement beyond just listening. On them, Sanders explores the breadth of anarchic free jazz, wrestling with the sacred and profane via psychedelic beatitudes and sax hosannas. Prolific for over 50 years, Sanders' influence is immeasurable. His later works are characterized by a cerebral mellowing of his more aggressive edge, an ebbing into mature gracefulness with no sacrifice of intensity. Sanders' lyrical arabesques further adorn the Flynn's MainStage in an evening's program bound to entrance, to unify, to transcend.
Birmingham, Alabama-based rock and roll soul band St. Paul & The Broken Bones reintroduce America's deep southern routes, intoning a raucous magnetism into traditional gospel and soul. Frontman Paul Janeway, who traded the ministry for music, pontificates the power of blood-raising rhythm over a seven-piece clap of thunderous funk. Their 2016 record, Sea of Noise, propelled the Bones to the national scene, opening for the Rolling Stones, headlining two nights at the Ryman Auditorium, and appearing on just about every late night talk show worth its salt, including the very first episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Led by Janeway's electric showmanship, introspective lyrics, and impossibly-fun-to-watch dedication, the band seems to have discovered a direct line to the great almighty spirit of sound.
Coming from New Orleans, Tank and the Bangas are surrounded by plenty of grand musical traditions. And the five-piece group has a rare knack for combining various musical styles-fiery soul, deft hip-hop, deep-groove R&B and subtle jazz-into one dazzling, cohesive whole that evokes the scope of New Orleans music while retaining a distinctive feel all its own.
With the 1968 hit Do the Reggay, rhythm and blues stepped into a new territory where jazz melded with traditional Jamaican songs to launch a now vital genre, meanwhile solidifying the song's authors, Toots and the Maytals, as one of reggae's key progenitors. The reggae legends anchor this year's resurrection of the festival's reggae tent, a tribute to the myriad musicians Toots has inspired through his records and in the 1972 classic, The Harder They Come. From the Clash to Eric Clapton and beyond, Toots' influence transcends far beyond reggae. In 2004, Toots collaborated with an all-star lineup to record True Love, featuring Toots devotees from the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards to Phish frontman Trey Anastasio. Alongside so many new re-interpreters of jazz, the festival is thrilled bring such an original luminary.
2019's BDJF Artist-In-Residence Tia Fuller is a saxophonist, composer, and bandleader who uses the process of diamonds forming under four levels of extreme pressure and heat as a metaphor for the time she spent honing her craft. The proportioning and the balance necessary to reflect the most light correlates to her bright and crystal-clean delivery, on display on her latest record, Grammy-nominated Diamond Cut. Formerly a member of Beyonce's touring band-performing as a featured soloist for the Obamas at the White House-Fuller is now a full-time Berklee professor, marrying her dedication to teaching with an intimately pure style that we're lucky to have passed down to the jazz makers of tomorrow.
Pianist Christian Sands and his trio come at their air-tight elegance obliquely, spinning a laid back English on their otherwise impossibly uncluttered improvisations. Like on Song of the Rainbow People, off Sands' 2017 REACH record; the theme bounces through a clearing with the band guiding it more by space than by sound. This slipstream flow is why Sands is one of the most in-demand pianists working in jazz. In recent years, he's toured the world as a bandleader and appeared on records with jazz giants Christian McBride and Gregory Porter. In 2015, Sands' memorable performance as a part of the Christian McBride Trio at BDJF gave the Burlington audience a mere glimpse what's to come. His 2018 record, Facing Dragons, earned four stars from DownBeat, which praised Sands' "preternatural maturity" and sees the record as a harbinger that "tomorrow's jazz is in good hands."
The 36th Annual Burlington Discover Jazz Festival is presented by New England Credit Federal Union and produced by Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, in association with Burlington City Arts. The festival is also sponsored by Zero Gravity Brewing, Lake Champlain Chocolates, NBC5, Dealer.com, Dark Horse Wine, Nectar's, Vermont Public Radio, Vermont.com, Vermont Tent Company, and Xfinity. Grant support comes from Flynn Center for the Performing Arts Jazz Endowment, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ford Foundation.