2019 Lineup

January 31st, 2019 Leave a comment Go to comments

Saratoga Performing Arts Center exterior photo

The 2019 Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival will take place on Saturday June 29th and Sunday June 30th, 2018 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY USA.

Tickets

Ticket sales begin on Febubary 15 at 10am EST at spac.org/tickets!

Single-day lawn tickets are $68, and a two-day pass is $116.

Single-day amphitheater seats range from $78 to $108, and two-day passes range from $136 to $196.

SPAC is also bringing back the $20 student and child amphitheater pass, available for children ages 15 and under and students with school-issued ID at time of entrance. Children ages 15 and under are free on the lawn.

Lineup

Saturday June 29th

Amphitheater
Approximately 2pm – 11pm

  • George Benson
  • Los Van Van 50th Anniversary
  • Kandace Springs*
  • James Carter Organ Trio
  • Mercy Project*:  Jon Cowherd, Brian Blade, John Patitucci, Steve Cardenas
  • Donna Grantis*

Charles R. Wood “Jazz Discovery” Stage (new Gazebo Stage)
Approximately noon – 6:30pm

  • Antonio Sanchez & Migration*
  • Lionel Loueke & Raul Midon*
  • Veronica Swift with The Emmet Cohen Trio*
  • Black Art Jazz Collective* featuring Jeremy Pelt, Wayne Escoffery, James Burton III, Xavier Davis, Vicente Archer, and Carl Allen
  • Joe Locke’s Subtle Disguise* with special guest Raul Midon
Sunday June 30th

Amphitheater
Approximately 1pm – 8pm

  • Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
  • Norah Jones*
  • Django Festival All-Stars with special guests Edmar Castaneda and Grace Kelly
  • Joshua Redman Quartet with Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers, and Gregory Hutchinson
  • Joey DeFrancesco Trio* featuring Billy Hart

Charles R. Wood “Jazz Discovery” Stage (new Gazebo Stage)
Approximately 11am – 7pm

  • Ruthie Foster*
  • Allison Miller Boom Tic Boom* featuring Jenny Scheinman, Carmen Staff, Kirk Knuffke, Ben Goldberg and Todd Sickafoose
  • Cha Wa*
  • Youn Sun Nah*
  • Joel Harrison’s Angel Band* featuring Jon Cowherd, Jaleel Shaw, Stephan Crump, Brian Blade, and others
  • Kansas Smitty’s House Band*

* indicates festival debut!

Notes

Help support this site, and get ready for the festival by shopping for Jazz CDs on Amazon.com.

SPAC exterior photo on this page licensed via CC-BY-SA-3.0/Matt H. Wade at Wikipedia.

  1. jeff
    March 6th, 2019 at 15:08 | #1

    I have not attended in 20 years (because of kids – now they are out of the house)
    Can you still bring your own beer in? Can you bring a pop up canopy for lawn seats?

  2. Scott
    March 4th, 2019 at 19:41 | #2

    Lisa B, wagons allowed,any chair you want is allowed, along with pop up canopy and tents behind the main walk way. Can bring in all alcohol and food you want just no glass. It’s the only show at SPAC that’s has a re entry policy. parking and traffic no problem, you can actually drop your stuff of at the back entrance then go park. Good music, Good people, Good food and drink. Always a great time Don’t Miss

  3. Lisa b
    March 4th, 2019 at 13:00 | #3

    My husband and I are considering attending the Jazz Festival this year. However, I have a few questions….
    Can you bring a wagon to carry your items into the festival? Do the chairs need to be beach type Only? Are you allowed to bring drinks(alcohol/food)? How is the traffic? Parking?

    Thanks for your help..

  4. Margo
    February 15th, 2019 at 16:13 | #4

    So excited, got my tickets for Sunday!

  5. Danny Melnick (producer)
    February 14th, 2019 at 10:05 | #5

    Happy Valentine’s Day everyone – soon we’ll be celebrating Flag Day, then Father’s Day, the summer solstice and then jazzfest weekend! Public on-sale is tomorrow at 10am – spac.org/tickets

    Perfect gift for the lovers in your life 😉

    Best DM

  6. George McClellan
    February 11th, 2019 at 12:54 | #6

    @Ginny
    Beautifully said Ginny and right on.

  7. Ginny
    February 11th, 2019 at 11:54 | #7

    I am equally fond of jazz and blues and have attended many jazz festivals at SPAC over the years. I remember seeing Dizzy (I recall he introduced a young Winton and Branford Marsalis), Miles, Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, and the Jazz Messengers in the 80s and 90s. I don’t agree with all the negativity of some of the comments. I’m glad to see new jazz artists in the lineup. Give them a chance, check out their music. After all, all the former jazz greats were once new artists. I have enjoyed some of the gazebo performances as much as the main stage (Pendrito Martinez for one). I’m so excited to see Ruthie Foster in this year’s lineup. I’ve been waiting to see her perform live–she’s got such an incredible voice! Thank you for all the great jazz through the years. We are lucky to have such a great venue in Saratoga!

  8. Jim Smith
    February 5th, 2019 at 11:04 | #8

    @Joseph David LeBarron

    WTG, Joseph! That’s hardcore.

  9. Joseph David LeBarron
    February 3rd, 2019 at 08:05 | #9

    Look forward to my 42nd year

  10. Carole
    February 2nd, 2019 at 20:06 | #10

    Love the line up. Looking forward to a wonderful two days of music.

  11. Jim Smith
    February 1st, 2019 at 09:50 | #11

    @Chuck

    I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Ruthie Foster twice before at an outdoor venue in Connecticut, Chuck, and I couldn’t agree more. She’s terrific. Though fundamentally blues oriented, she’s a singer with great range and enviable capacity to “read” lyrics. If anyone reading these comments is unfamiliar with her, she’s among the Discovery Stage artists I urge you to check out.

  12. Chuck
    January 31st, 2019 at 18:47 | #12

    Ruthie Foster is excellent, nonetheless the decline in quality blues acts continues. Otherwise, the diversity is good and less repeater acts this year. I like the earlier Sunday ending and the earlier starting times on the main stage is an improvement on last year’s universally disliked 3:00 P.M. start time.

  13. Anonymous
    January 31st, 2019 at 16:30 | #13

    @Jim Smith
    Absolutely Jim ! completely agree !

  14. Harvey Bloomfield
    January 31st, 2019 at 13:52 | #14

    Danny puts together a great festival every year trying his best to accommodate many styles of music not just jazz and of course it won’t please everyone.

    I would just like to know what goes into choosing artist for either stage is it budget, music style
    Popularity etc

    For 30 years I spend a weekend at SPAC and have seats in the Amphitheatre this is where I go to hear names in Jazz i Know – but now we get a list of performers who great performers but I have no idea why they were chosen for the main stage

    Case i point Los Van Van 50th Anniversary- A Cuban Salsa Band unknown to my ears and celebrating 50 year- great but I am sure many other have not heard of them

    Donna Grantis again so new I had to look her upon You tube – Hendricks type blues playing

    Kandace Springs another singer from Blue Note label no less

    These artist could easily been at the Discover stage

    At the other stage you have a great selection of artists that should be on the main stage
    especially Black Art Jazz Collective featuring Jeremy Pelt, Wayne Escoffery,
    Antonio Sanchez Raul Midon Everyone that afternoon should be on the main stage

    Sunday is a lot better and the Discovery stage actually introduces a lot of unknowns

    To conclude the main stage should have well know performers for attendance to grow.
    I love the festival but the changes and mixes over the past years are just to much for this old jazz dog to take

    HB

  15. pedritonaz
    January 31st, 2019 at 13:33 | #15

    @Larry Kroger

    Agreed! Nice mix – way to go Danny!

  16. Larry Kroger
    January 31st, 2019 at 11:56 | #16

    @Eric Stratton
    ACES !! Great job Danny !!

  17. Jim Smith
    January 31st, 2019 at 11:52 | #17

    That’s an excellent line-up, Danny! Some stellar artists and something for everyone. I’m psyched. Thanks for your hard work.

  18. Danny Melnick (producer)
    January 31st, 2019 at 10:38 | #18

    Here we go….

    SATURDAY, JUNE 29

    GATES – 10AM
    JAZZ DISCOVERY STAGE – 12 NOON-6:30PM APPROX.
    AMPHITHEATER – 2-11PM APPROX.

    AMPHITHEATER
    George Benson
    Los Van Van 50th Anniversary
    Kandace Springs
    James Carter Organ Trio
    Mercy Project: Jon Cowherd, Brian Blade, John Patitucci, Steve Cardenas
    Donna Grantis

    JAZZ DISCOVERY STAGE
    Antonio Sanchez & Migration
    Black Art Jazz Collective featuring Jeremy Pelt, Wayne Escoffery,
    James Burton III, Xavier Davis, Vicente Archer & Carl Allen
    Lionel Loueke & Raul Midon
    Veronica Swift with The Emmet Cohen Trio
    Joe Locke’s Subtle Disguise with special guest Raul Midon

    SUNDAY, JUNE 30

    GATES – 10AM
    JAZZ DISCOVERY STAGE – 11AM-7PM APPROX.
    AMPHITHEATER – 1-8PM APPROX.

    AMPHITHEATER
    Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
    Norah Jones
    Django Festival All-Stars with special guests Edmar Castaneda & Grace Kelly
    Joshua Redman Quartet with Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers
    & Gregory Hutchinson
    Joey DeFrancesco Trio featuring Billy Hart

    JAZZ DISCOVERY STAGE
    Allison Miller Boom Tic Boom featuring Jenny Scheinman, Carmen Staff,
    Kirk Knuffke, Ben Goldberg & Todd Sickafoose
    Cha Wa
    Ruthie Foster
    Joel Harrison’s Angel Band featuring Jon Cowherd, Jaleel Shaw, Stephan Crump, Brian Blade & others
    Youn Sun Nah
    Kansas Smitty’s House Band

  19. Eric Stratton
    January 31st, 2019 at 09:55 | #19

    Excellent job with the lineup Danny! Cant wait!!

  20. Michael
    January 29th, 2019 at 13:58 | #20

    @Danny Melnick (producer)
    Hello Danny, you sure you didn’t mean Don Mattingly Lol I’m never going to live that one down lol

  21. Jim Smith
    January 29th, 2019 at 13:32 | #21

    @Danny Melnick (producer)
    Norah’s a nice catch, Danny! Looking forward to the rest of the line-up.

  22. Danny Melnick (producer)
    January 28th, 2019 at 10:56 | #22

    NORAH JONES!!!!! Festival debut on Sunday, June 30.

    Full festival announcement will be this Thursday.

    Tix on sale Feb 15 at 10am EST at spac.org.

    Best DM (not Dave Matthews)

  23. michael
    January 27th, 2019 at 08:11 | #23

    @Delores Bennett
    Nice to meet yo too Deloris,
    hope we have a dry sat and sun this year, last year was like a monsoon. in all the years we have been attending, we would get an occasional shower here and there then the sun would be back out but last year on sat it started raining around 11am ish and got heavier until about 3:30, we were waiting in the car for it to stop then got tired of waiting went back to the motel waited til about 4 then headed back and went in and made the best of it. Also thought the food vendors were a bit better then the past few years back.Always nice to come back every year and get away from the city grind.Nice chatting with you and have a great time this year at the festival

  24. Delores Bennett
    January 26th, 2019 at 23:49 | #24

    @Michael
    Nice to meet you. I have been coming to the festival since 1986, and my husband has been to every year of the festival. We usually stay in Round Lake and have gotten to know the owners of the motel there over the years. Hope you make new memories this year.

  25. Michael
    January 24th, 2019 at 19:23 | #25

    @Delores Bennett
    Yes I am a fan of Dave Mathew’s band and I read that he added summer tour dates and Saratoga springs July 12 & 13 for his band. I seen the DM and thought that would be an announcement, I am also a fan of the jazz festival, been going since 82 stayed at a friend’s bed and breakfast, Lombardi farm. Vinny the proprietor worked for spac handling the musicians contracts, he passed away a few years back, very nice family, will miss him.

  26. Delores Bennett
    January 24th, 2019 at 19:05 | #26

    I think maybe Michael thought Danny’s initials were the initials of the act, the one he was waiting to hear from!

  27. George
    January 24th, 2019 at 13:30 | #27

    I too miss the old days with more performances and late nights. But I disagree with almost all of the other criticism here. Not only is the lineup announced much earlier than it used to be (I remember waiting for it in the newspaper…), but now we get set times in advance and the festival actually runs on schedule! And the SPAC venue has upgraded in many ways; just last year we got the new 2nd stage and I thought it was a significant upgrade. Ticket prices have gone up, but it seems like this has happened for a lot of live music — I assume artists need to make more money on tour these days, where they used to make more on physical media sales. It’s too bad because if I was a young these days I don’t think I’d be able to afford to see as much live music as I did in my youth. But I guess it’s the economic reality of the music business these days.

    If you really want to see SPAC in decline, look to their classical schedule. NYC Ballet used to have a 3 week residency; this year it is only 5 days.

    Ha ha – the year that Dave Matthews plays the festival is the year I stop attending!

  28. Effe Klinker
    January 24th, 2019 at 13:03 | #28

    Come on people. It’s only 5 months ’til D-Day. Each year it gets later and later before you post your line. At least have 4 or 5 solid performers for each day and then fill in around them.

  29. Danny Melnick (producer)
    January 23rd, 2019 at 11:40 | #29

    @michael
    Ummmmmm…. no.

  30. michael
    January 23rd, 2019 at 09:51 | #30

    @Danny Melnick (producer)
    would that be the dave mathews band?? july 12 & 13

  31. Danny Melnick (producer)
    January 17th, 2019 at 15:31 | #31

    We have pushed back the announcement until Feb 1 to better coordinate with one of our headliner’s summer tour announcement plans. DM

  32. phil
    January 17th, 2019 at 11:04 | #32

    The quality of performers have been compromised and the hours were cut last year and the prices have gone up! I have not been going for a few years until the headliners are much better than they have been the last well, since 2014. The reason people come back is because of the hang and it is a tradition but there use to be quality music for 11 or 12 hours, not just one or two at the most

  33. Chuck
    January 15th, 2019 at 14:22 | #33

    The New Orleans Jazz Fest lineup is out. Occasionally there is overlap with Saratoga. Leaving out some names that Saratoga had in the recent years, notable national jazz acts are: Regina Carter’s Southern Comfort, Kamasai Washington, Jonathan Butler with Gerald Albright and Herbie Hancock. Kermit Washington’s tribute to Louis Armstrong could be good. Charles Lloyd and the Marvels with Lucinda Williams is not on the NOLA bill but is still touring. Young blues player Jarekus Singleton is in the NOLA lineup.

  34. Chuck
    January 13th, 2019 at 13:44 | #34

    @Danny Melnick (producer)
    Your non participation in the discussion of the line up is fine. However, I hope you will continue to listen to both the praise and constructive criticism of the festival. It can help improve our festival experience.

  35. Mike Bogart
    January 11th, 2019 at 16:16 | #35

    @Danny Melnick (producer)
    Good for you Danny folks like Chuck and Joe will never be satisfied anyway you do a great job and our group always look forward to the festival every year !

  36. Danny Melnick (producer)
    January 11th, 2019 at 11:25 | #36

    Hi Friends – we are announcing the jazz festival line-up on Sunday, Jan. 27. The on-sale date will sometime in early February. The amphitheater will start a bit earlier than last year but not at 12 noon. And you may have heard that SPAC was awarded a $1.5 million NYS grant to demolish and rebuild the food court and bathrooms! This will happen AFTER this summer and will be done before the 2020 festival. They are rehabilitating the ramps and the lighting this coming spring and that work will be done before this year’s festival in June.

    I also want everyone to know that I am no longer going to participate in a debate about the artists. An argument about the line-up. Comparisons to yesteryear.

    I have always been committed to programing the best festival possible. To give the artists a chance to be heard, to give them a platform to express themselves, to give the audience the opportunity to have a great time while expanding their musical and personal horizons. I will continue to do that at the festival and in all of the other venues I program.

    I hope everyone has a healthy, fun and bountiful 2019 and I look forward to seeing you at SPAC on June 29 & 30.

    Best – DM

  37. pedritonaz
    January 10th, 2019 at 09:05 | #37

    @john E. price Jr.
    My major complaint about SPAC are the video “screens”. Been going for 30 years and it’s the same ones as my first. You can’t see anything from the lawn until 8:45-9pm. With all the events at SPAC during the year, it’s way past time to upgrade them to some type of LCD/LED screen format. I think it would really enhance the lawn experience.

  38. Joe
    January 9th, 2019 at 18:05 | #38

    Regarding Howee’s comment about the food, you must be kidding. Not only has the food deteriorated, but, I suppose, to keep costs down, SPAC hires very young men and women, who have no idea what they are doing. Now, I’m sure it is good to give young people a job, but I would like to see them perform their duties with a modicum of ability. The service is outright terrible. As to the bathrooms, give me the old bathrooms and 12 hours of top performers any day. Furthermore, it has become impossible to get a close seat without being a SPAC member. Different levels of membership enable different levels of seating, and the ability to purchase tickets before others. Maybe this is fair. I don’t agree with it. Overall, SPAC has become a great disappointment, not only to me, but to many. Just look at how empty it has become. I’ll say no more.

  39. john E. price Jr.
    January 7th, 2019 at 09:14 | #39

    I have to say, after 1988 (my !st), I really can’t complain honestly about SPAC. They’ve done wonders to the venue. And most of the music is on point. We rarely get to see the big names anywhere except overseas etc. They are such high demand all over the world. So, Dan again I applaud you in your effort to provide us with the “EARFOOD” you’ve been serving. You can’t please everyone. The new artist as like the OLD, need a chance to grow and show us their craft. So, maybe in another 15 yrs or so, someone will be looking for the Joey Alexander, TEN,Greg Porter. And they too will be booked.
    Do what you do best, make the lot of us appreciate SPAC.

    One thing. NO MORE RAIN !!!!!!!!

  40. Jeff G.
    January 2nd, 2019 at 15:12 | #40

    Dan, maybe you can get Harvey Mason-CHAMELEON BAND this upcoming year or next year. Just a thought.

  41. admin
    January 2nd, 2019 at 13:54 | #41

    Folks,

    Ordinarily I don’t have to do much comment moderation here. But things have been getting a little chippy lately. So I thought it would be useful to provide some guidelines to help guide future discussion.

    I am happy to see debate and opposing viewpoints expressed intelligently and respectfully. But personal attacks will not be tolerated. One-liners that do not advance the discussion may be moderated.

    Comments associated with real names or established pseudonyms will be given more leeway than anonymous comments.

  42. Chuck
    January 1st, 2019 at 18:43 | #42

    @Anonymous
    To quote WGBO DJ Michael Bourne, the five Bs of Jazz are BEBOP, BLUES, BALLADS, BRAZIL and the BIZARRE. Smooth Jazz can be squeezed into most if not all of those categories.

  43. Diane Littleflower
    January 1st, 2019 at 10:24 | #43

    @Michael
    Is that what it is? I’ve been wondering where all the really hot jazz names are, if not at the annual jazz fests. Honestly, I don’t have to travel — or pay the big sheckels– to see small-time jazz, we have local jazz musicians I can enjoy right here. The Newport and Saratoga Jazz festivals used to mean the main forces in jazz and jazz-fusion, Marcus Miller, Gerald Veasley, Boney James, 3rd Force, George Howard, Walter Beasley, Down to the Bone, Jeff Kashiewa, etc. It’s so disappointing not to be able to find good jazz shows these days.

  44. Howee Gold
    December 31st, 2018 at 16:46 | #44

    Danny- Thanks for addressing some of the issues in the comments section last year. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and it is always nice to hear what problems the producer encounters.
    I remember complaining a few years ago when Pieces of a Dream played a short set and you explained it was their managers fault, nothing to do with Joey Alexander playing an encore. As you mentioned the days of 10 acts noon-midnight are long gone. You can’t compare Saratoga to New Orleans as they are completely different venues and locations. They have also gone through a lot of changes over the years to accommodate the growing crowds.
    Those who have been attending since the JVC/Kool sponsored years might be forgetting the awful bathrooms and non-existent food or drink options at SPAC. Remember there was no gazebo or crafts tent back in the day either! The idea of one or two local groups performing on main stage would be a great alternative. Also you could show videos of past performers (there’s plenty online on YouTube)during the down time.
    One of the many challenges of organizing the festival is that a lot of artists who are touring can fill venues for a lot more money. I see that George Benson and Steve Gadd are playing Rochester the week before Saratoga, and good seats cost $100 for each show. I hope they are in the lineup this year!

  45. Michael
    December 31st, 2018 at 13:26 | #45

    @Joe
    I agree, the big names are hard to come by these years. Used to be more music, better names, better food. I still go cause of tradition, but it’s not like years ago when all year you couldn’t wait till the jazz festival, now it’s like eh, okay it’s here

  46. Chuck
    December 31st, 2018 at 09:47 | #46

    @Joe
    Amen, Joe. Only it’s 35 years for me.

  47. Joe
    December 30th, 2018 at 15:36 | #47

    I have been attending this festival yearly for over 22 years. At that time it was the JVC festival and it was outstanding in every way. There were multiple top name jazz performers on both days. Over the years, and especially since the change to Freihoffer, there has been a deterioration in the quality of the performers, a decrease in the hours, from noon to midnight on both days, a yearly decline in the quality and variety of food offered and a deterioration in service to such a low point I don’t think we can reach a lower level. All of this with an increasing cost to the consumer. I continue to attend only due to tradition. I would not recommend it to anyone otherwise.

  48. michael
    December 25th, 2018 at 22:04 | #48

    starting the festival at 3pm was disaster ! also the lineup was AWFULL if they do it this year I will be finding another festival.

  49. Mary Jones
    December 23rd, 2018 at 19:49 | #49

    Please get some Smooth Jazz!!!

  50. Chuck
    December 19th, 2018 at 08:44 | #50

    No mention of anything being done about last year’s universally disliked change of starting the main stage at 3:00 P.M. Personally, I like the New Orleans model which runs the festival from 11:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. leaving time for post mortems in the bars and restaurants of the town. Hopefully the well liked changes from last year, the tent and the 11:00 A.M. start at the gazebo, will be continued.

  51. Danny Melnick (producer)
    December 15th, 2018 at 01:09 | #51

    We are going to announce the festival line-up in late January and go on-sale in mid-February. Happy Holidays and a peaceful and healthy New Year to all!

    Best DM