2011 Lineup

December 23rd, 2015

Saratoga Performing Arts Center exterior photo

The 2011 Festival took place on Saturday June 25th and Sunday June 26th, 2011 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY USA.

Saturday – June 25th

Gates opened at 10am.

Main Stage


Sunday – June 26th

Gates opened at 11am.

Main Stage


Signing Schedule

Stop by the Border’s tent to meet and greet with artists from the festival!

CD signing photo


  • 1:00 - Lionel Loueke
  • 2:20 - Ben Allison
  • 2:40 - Hilary Kole
  • 3:40 - Eliane Elias
  • 5:05 - Jack DeJohnette
  • 6:40 - Steve Cardenas
  • 8:40 - Dee Dee Bridgewater


  • 1:20 - Rebecca Coupe Franks
  • 3:40 - The Bad Plus
  • 4:10 - David Binney
  • 5:25 - Sharon Jones
  • 5:45 - Matt Slocum

More Details

Here are some articles about the 2011 Festival that have appeared in the press:

SPAC exterior photo on this page licensed via CC-BY-SA-3.0/Matt H. Wade at Wikipedia. CD Signing photo licensed via CC BY 2.0/SportSuburban at Flickr.

  1. Larry Russel
    July 16th, 2011 at 11:41 | #1

    Can you list the lineups of all 34 previous years?

  2. June 28th, 2011 at 21:53 | #2

    Hi Friends – thanks so much for all your kind words, emails, postings, etc. We had an amazing weekend of incredible music and good times at SPAC. We’ll be making a formal announcement soon on the 35th festival. Dates will be June 30 & July 1. See you next year!!!! thanks – Danny

  3. Christmas in June
    June 27th, 2011 at 09:06 | #3

    It was a weekend of GREAT music. Thanks Danny for putting this together. Genius.

  4. joe
    June 25th, 2011 at 15:48 | #4

    Dejohnette group now in first. Dave fiuczynski should curate a day of the gazebo next year.

  5. George
    June 25th, 2011 at 15:26 | #5

    Saturday is turning out to be warm and sunny when I was expecting cold and wet!

  6. joe
    June 25th, 2011 at 14:08 | #6

    Ben allison band early favorite.

  7. joe
    June 25th, 2011 at 12:01 | #7

    The weather has changed so if you are thinking about it come on out.

  8. June 21st, 2011 at 18:06 | #8

    We’ve created a mobile site with the schedule, CD signings and more.

    it’s here http://www.spac.org/jazzmobile/

    Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible this weekend!


  9. Tim Coakley
    June 20th, 2011 at 09:03 | #10

    On the second day, The Tia Fuller Quartet is misspelled as The Fuller Quartet.

  10. June 12th, 2011 at 00:31 | #11

    The Jazz Journalists Association announced their 2011 Jazz Award winners today and three of them will perform at the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival on June 25! Congratulations to all the winners and to our three dear friends:

    Dee Dee Bridgewater

    Rudresh Mahanthappa

    Anat Cohen

  11. June 10th, 2011 at 09:56 | #12

    Greeting from Chicago, where we are producing a series of concerts called “United Sounds of America” at Chicago Orchestra Hall. Just wanted to share this, hot off “the presses.”


    Best – Danny

  12. June 6th, 2011 at 18:21 | #13

    Thanks for the heads up on using my photo; glad it found a good home.

  13. June 6th, 2011 at 06:55 | #14

    Hi Friends – check this out:


    And we have a SPAC Jazz Radio player on the website now: spac.org/jazzfest

    thanks – DM

  14. June 3rd, 2011 at 17:00 | #15

    the debate rages on…..

    please see my producer’s notes today:


    thanks – Danny

  15. June 1st, 2011 at 20:30 | #16

    David- 3 words: THE BAD PLUS

  16. Christmas in June
    May 31st, 2011 at 17:06 | #17

    David- Trust Danny Melnick. He will put on a great weekend. I’m not thrilled with Michael McDonald either but I’ll bet he will be entertaining. Sunday looks especially strong to me. Saratoga is not Newport just like Chicago is not New York. The Saratoga experience stands on its own. 34 years strong for good reason. We get a chance to thank George Wein on Saturday for making all these festivals happen. That is what I look forward to more than anything.

  17. David
    May 30th, 2011 at 14:36 | #18

    quite frankly, this show pales in comparison with the Newport Jazz festival. The difference is scary. That said, having been to Saratoga twice before, I have made a couple of artist discoveries, although to comment on what a previous reviewer said, I think for a 2 day festival, there should be more than one or two unexpected musical moments. 1st time we went, we got balcony seats, which turned out to be a bad mistake, as the sound is terrible up there; it’s better on the lawn, and the security apparatus won’t allow people into the main auditorium area (even when it’s 90% empty for a lot of the time during the afternoon; it fills up for headliners, which this year on Sat. is blechh, Michael McDonald). I did enjoy myself, but wish the lineup was stronger. Merchandise outside is excellent.

  18. May 24th, 2011 at 16:09 | #19

    Hey guys! Countdown is on! Spread the good word. It’s going to be a killer weekend, as always~ all about the hang, baby.

  19. May 7th, 2011 at 13:16 | #20

    SPAC box office opens tomorrow – Sunday, May 8!

  20. April 27th, 2011 at 13:43 | #21

    A few updates for everyone… Donald Harrison will be featuring his quintet plus Mardi Gras Indians and special guest Cyril Neville!

    We discovered recently that our first release went out with an error. Lionel Loueke is spelled as such, not Louke.

    While we haven’t completed the set-time schedule, the order of the stages, going from LAST to FIRST (backwards), is as follows:

    Michael McDonald
    Dee Dee Bridgewater “To Billie with Love”
    George Wein & The Newport All Stars
    Jack DeJohnette and his all-star band
    Eliane Elias Quartet
    Ben Allison Band
    Lionel Loueke Trio

    Steve Cardenas Trio
    Lionel Loueke Trio
    “Blindfold Test” featuring jazz bassist Ben Allison
    Hilary Kole
    Marcus Strickland Quartet

    Sing the Truth! featuring Angelique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves and Lizz Wright
    A Night in Treme with Donald Harrison Jr. Quintet and Mardi Gras Indians with special guest Cyril Neville
    Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
    The Bad Plus
    The Fuller Quartet
    Pedrito Martinez Group

    Pedrito Martinez Group
    Matt Slocum Trio
    David Binney
    Brian Mitchell Band
    Rebecca Coupe Franks

    Goin’ to New Orleans tomorrow for JazzFest!

    All my best – Danny

  21. Chuck
    April 18th, 2011 at 16:54 | #22

    Hardly jazz? By my calculation, 19 of the 23 performance slots are jazz. Twelve are clearly modern jazz (Ben Allison-2x, Jack DeJohnette, Newport All Stars, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Steve Cardenas, Marcus Strickland, Tia Fuller, The Bad Plus, Rebecca Franks, Matt Slocum, and David Biney). Two other slots, the Lionel Louke spots are the only remotely Afro-centric jazz. Pedrito Martinez’s two slots are the only Latin Jazz on the bill. Donald Harrison is doing a New Orleans Jazz show and Eliane Elias does a Brazilian Jazz thing. Finally, the wonderful vocalist, Hilary Kole (don’t miss her), does a cabaret, songbook, jazz standard act. This leaves only four “non-jazz” acts. Three “soul” acts with Michael Mcdonald, Sharon Jones and the Sing the Truth act being the only one of the three that could be called “recylced” as each of the three singers has performed here before on their own. Considering, it appears this act could be something different, it hardly seems fair to describe the bill as being recycled R&B. Finally, I’ve classified Brian Mitchell as the only Blues act of the weekend. As far as sub par, you are of course entitled to your opinion but frankly of the acts I’ve previously seen (mostly at other venues), I highly recommend Lionel Louke, Eliane Elias (when she sings and not merely plays piano), Michael McDonald, Hilary Kole and Marcus Strickland. As for the remainder, it is the nature of the festival experience that one never knows when one will stumble upon an unexpected terrific musical moment. Just about every year at Saratoga, there have been one or two of those.

  22. Thom
    April 18th, 2011 at 12:40 | #23

    Saratoga jazz fest gets worse every year.. I go just because I like the town… the musician lineup is mediocre at best and — hardly jazz anymore.. Its turned into something other than a jazz festival.. its a bunch of recycled R & B player and some Afro-Centric stew.
    They ruined a good thing.

    Where are the big acts, the people we really want to see. Can anyone name anything memorable this collection of subpar performers did…without looking it up on the internet

    Sales may be good, but that is just because of the venue. It’s a great spot to be, but the music just sucks

  23. admin
    April 6th, 2011 at 22:28 | #24


    I’m happy to see such a healthy dialogue here. I think it’s great that we’re able to discuss and compare various festivals, critique the lineups, etc. However, in the spirit of mutual respect I will delete or edit any message which is intended to provoke or insult fellow readers.

  24. April 5th, 2011 at 15:33 | #25

    Hi Friends – I am extremely happy to report that ticket sales are very strong so I guess the line-up is appealing to some (lots of) folks. 😉

    The festival is “co-presenting” the great bassist and composer, Ben Allison, at the Jazz Standard club in NYC on April 12 & 13. He will be at the festival on Saturday, June 25, of course. We are giving away a “weekend lawn pass for two” at each of Ben’s four sets at the club. You have to be there to enter the drawing. If you’re in the NYC-area, please join us at the Jazz Standard next Tuesday or Wednesday. The food is amazing and it’s a great room to hear music in. INFO IS HERE: http://goo.gl/Ygy9E


  25. James Yarbor
    April 5th, 2011 at 12:00 | #26

    Hopefully some other artists will surprise us because the line up leaves a lot to be desired.

  26. Ken
    April 3rd, 2011 at 17:12 | #27

    As I stated earlier, here is the W. Oak Lane Jazz Fest Line-up and did I say that it was FREE…YES FREE!…You gotta pay for that in Saratoga, save the money and drive down to Philly! Again it’s Free!

    Thursday June 16, 2011
    Relish Stage – INDOOR
    8:00 PM – 11:00 PM Plan B

    Friday June 17, 2011
    Stage 1
    7:00 PM – 8:15 PM Chrisette Michele

    Stage 2
    5:45 PM – 6:45 PM Rising Star Finale
    7:00 PM – 8:00 PM Urban Guerrilla Orchestra, (UGO)

    Relish Stage – INDOOR
    8:00 PM – 12:00 PM Val Ray

    Relish Stage – OUTDOOR
    8:00 PM – 9:15 PM Andy Aaron Mean Machine

    Various Venues
    9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Kenny Gates Corn Bread & Coffee
    12:00 PM – 2:00 PM Sherry Butler, Vocal Workshop & Performance West Oak Lane Senior Center
    8:00 PM – 11:00 PM Po/Jazz Connection, hosted by Nzinga plus Band Third Element Spa
    8:00 PM – 11:00 PM Fred & Tonya Duo Victorias Kitchen

    Saturday June 18, 2011
    Stage 1
    2:45 PM – 3:20 PM Howard Hewett
    3:25 PM – 4:25 PM Freddie Jackson
    4:40 PM – 5:25 PM Gerald Veasley
    5:40 PM – 6:40 PM Peabo Bryson
    6:45 PM – 8:00 PM Jeffrey Osborne

    Stage 2
    10:00 AM – 12:45 PM Childrens Program, Persuasions
    1:00 PM – 1:30 PM 3rio
    1:45 PM – 2:15 PM Mike Boone
    2:30 PM – 3:00 PM Philadelphia Jazz Heritage
    3:15 PM – 3:45 PM Georgie Bonds
    4:15 PM – 5:15 PM Roy Ayers
    6:45 PM – 7:15 PM Carl Grubbs
    7:30 PM – 8:00 PM Crystal J. Torres

    Relish Stage – INDOOR
    8:00 PM – 12:00 PM Joanna Gardner

    Relish Stage – OUTDOOR
    4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Philly Cats
    5:15 PM – 5:45 PM Carmen Butler Dance
    6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Mi’cal Beckham
    8:00 PM – 9:15 PM TC III

    Various Venues
    9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Lynn Riley Corn Bread & Coffee
    12:00 PM – 2:00 PM Tony Wyatt, Drum Workshop & Performance West Oak Lane Senior Center
    8:00 PM – 11:00 PM Po/Jazz Connection, hosted by Nish Pugh, plus Band Third Element Spa
    8:00 PM – 11:00 PM Timi Tanzania Victorias Kitchen

    Sunday June 19, 2011
    Stage 1
    1:15 PM – 2:00 PM Talent Search Winner
    2:30 PM – 3:15 PM Philadelphia Freedom Jazz Orchestra
    3:45 PM – 4:45 PM Christian McBride & Inside Straight
    5:15 PM – 6:15 PM Rodney Mack Philly Big Band
    6:45 PM – 8:00 PM Chaka Khan

    Stage 2
    11:30 AM – 12:00 PM Jafar Baron
    12:15 PM – 12:45 PM Monkadelphia
    1:00 PM – 1:30 PM Bootsie Barnes
    1:45 PM – 2:15 PM Philadelphia Clef Club Youth Band
    2:30 PM – 3:15 PM 3D Ritmo De Vida
    3:30 PM – 4:15 PM Tia Fuller
    4:30 PM – 5:30 PM Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra
    5:45 PM – 6:15 PM Michael Ray
    6:30 PM – 7:00 PM Richard Waller
    Relish Stage – INDOOR
    8:00 PM – 12:00 PM George Barron
    Relish Stage – OUTDOOR
    3:00 PM – 4:00 PM Tamika Patton
    5:15 PM – 6:15 PM The LXG
    5:30 PM – 6:30 PM Abstract Truth

    Various Venues
    9:00 AM – 12:00 PM David Joel Corn Bread & Coffee

  27. Jim
    March 3rd, 2011 at 22:27 | #28

    I plan to, Miles. I think this year’s line-up is at least as tasty as last year’s, and I liked last year’s festival very much. But I hasten to add that I can’t imagine what kind of festival could entice me to drive from Cincy to Saratoga.

  28. Miles
    March 2nd, 2011 at 15:00 | #29

    @ Jim, I have already been to S. Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Egypt and all of these countries are beautiful. I stick by my opinion and what I like to add is that if you look at this lineup, who is that one group or person that you like to see? That is none of them! So Jim enjoy the festival.

  29. Jim
    March 1st, 2011 at 14:27 | #30

    So, maybe you should consider South Africa, Miles. Ken’s a big proponent.

  30. Christmas in June
    February 25th, 2011 at 21:04 | #31

    Miles and others please reconsider. I believe there is a lot to like and I look forward to Saratoga’s jazz fest this year. Saturday: I’m thrilled to honor George Wein. He is the father of all jazz festivals including Saratoga. Read his autobiography. We owe so much to this great man. Elaine Elias will be an instant highlight. Brazilian jazz has been sorely lacking and she will surprise. Dee Dee doing Billie and Jack DeJohnette- What’s not to like? Michael McDonald I’m not so sure about but I trust Danny Melnick’s judgement in booking him. And the blindfold thing should be a blast. Sunday holds GREAT promise. Sharon Jones and the Dapp Kings are fantastic live and will bring the house down. Please trust me on this. Treme sounds VERY interesting. NOLA holds a special place in the heart of jazz and Donald Harrison Jr. will bring that spirit to SPAC. Best of all and what I look forward to the most is the Sing the Truth show. This class act will close the fest on a positive note. Lastly, consider what this event is all about. To me it’s one weekend out of the year when people from all walks of life get together and get along. It happens every year. I thank George Wein for creating this event and now Danny Melnick for carrying on the tradition. Walk around and talk to people you wouldn’t normally to talk to. This festival is very special for so many reasons.

  31. Miles
    February 23rd, 2011 at 13:23 | #32

    I believe Ken has a lot of validity, after looking at the current lineup I’m considering staying in Cincy instead of driving up to Saratoga. As a person who has to make a long trek there, is it really worth it? Barbara from Maine and Teressa from Chicago seem to agree with Ken, what some of you are missing and I believe Ken is pointing out, is it worth the current lineup to make a long trek there? It seems that it is the people who are closer to the venue, that get into the party atmosphere, whereas the people who are farther away come for the lineup. As it stands, this is not a great lineup whether it’s on the main stage or gazebo and really not worth my drive or weekend investment. Hopefully next year they take a look at booking a better lineup since I really like the Saratoga Spings area andn’t just the venue.

  32. Chuck
    February 14th, 2011 at 10:27 | #33

    Yes, I also found Ken’s “gazebo act” remark unfortunate. Besides being a terrific venue, the gazebo affords the opportunity to see possible future jazz stars early in their careers. Many years my favorite performances of the weekend occur at the gazebo. For instance in 2007 when the festival opened at the gazebo with last night’s Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding. We will not have the opportunity to see her again at that venue. Last year it was the Mario Abney Septet. A few other “gazebo acts” that I have enjoyed not previously mentioned include Maurice Brown, Dafnis Prieto, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Robert Glasper, Miguel Zenon, Eric Alexander, the Moutin Reunion Roberta Gambarini, Matt Wilson, Shamekia Copeland, Chuck Loeb, Wallace Roney, Mark Turner, Junior Mance, Cyrus Chestnut, Pinetop Perkins, Larry McCray and Special EFX.

  33. Jim
    February 14th, 2011 at 09:37 | #34

    Jeez, Chuck, what a bunch of flunkies! I guess Ken was right. 🙂

  34. Chuck
    February 13th, 2011 at 17:41 | #35

    A few artists who played the gazebo and later the main stage: Brian Blade, James Carter, Regina Carter, Christian McBride, Nicholas Payton, Christian Scott and Lizz Wright.

  35. Jim
    February 13th, 2011 at 13:09 | #36

    Hey, Ken, it’s probably not worth perpetuating this dialogue, but for what it’s worth I wanted to correct an error in your note of February 11 – the one in which you said I was “comparing apples to oranges when comparing a jazzfest in Saratoga to one in S. Africa.” Go back and check the trail, Buddy. I never compared the Saratoga and South Africa festivals. You’re the one who gratuitously raised the specter of South Africa, as though many of the folks who come to Saratoga each summer could afford that alternative. You are, indeed, entitled to your opinion. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Freihofer’s is my favorite music festival. I look forward to attending it every year and I’m not, as you snorted, a “newbie.” I don’t remember when The Bad Plus played the gazebo, but playing the gazebo doesn’t disqualify anyone from later playing the main stage. I think they’re a terrific band and I’m really looking forward to their set.

  36. February 12th, 2011 at 23:16 | #37

    Hi Folks – what’s a world without passion? 😉 Ken – my mother always says “feelings can’t be wrong.” But “facts’ can be. The Bad Plus plays “main stages” all over the world and they have earned the right to return to SPAC after many years to “graduate” to our main stage. You’ll be missed and we hope you have a good weekend whatever you’ll be doing then.

    Also want to take this chance to let everyone know that we are having a bit of a ” Saratoga Fest winter reunion” on Feb. 24 at the Jazz Standard in NYC. Marcia and I will be there to say a few words about the festival and to “introduce” the stunning guitarist and singer Lionel Loueke and his band with special guest pianist Jason Moran. There are two sets – 7:30 and 9:30 and they will also play through Sunday Feb 27. Please join us if you can. The food and vibe at the club is wonderful. You can get tickets at jazzstandard.net.

    All my best – DM

  37. Chuck
    February 12th, 2011 at 09:06 | #38

    Music festivals are not only about the lineup. Saratoga is one of the most comfortable and therefore enjoyable festivals. Many events are ordeals to be survived with no way to avoid the sun or rain. Many festivals have excessively large crowds with all the attendant problems like lines for food and facilities. SPAC is one of the best plants for a music festival and I have been to many. Yes, about a third of this lineup are performers who have appeared previously but that can be both good and bad. Rarely, do most people at the festival see all of the acts. For me it can actually diminish the enjoyment to see too much music in one day. I listen to it all from a distance and select certain acts to attend more closely. So knowing the lineup from previous contact can be helpful. Ultimately, it’s an impossible task for the festival to completely satisfy everyone’s taste in music. It’s a great picnic and only really bad weather can spoil the mood.

  38. Ken
    February 11th, 2011 at 18:54 | #39

    @ Jim, it seems like you’re comparing apples to oranges when comparing a jazzfest in Saratoga to one in S. Africa. As I stated, what I presented was just the first day of the festival. Also seeing Hugh Masekela or Johnathan Butler in their homeland was such a treat, since one see’s how they are much loved by their people. I have seen Dianne Reeves here in the states on several occasions, yet her performance in Africa was better than I have ever seen her. Some of these artists it’s their first time in Africa and it gives them a sense of coming home and they give a inspiring performance. If you don’t understand this…I understand why. So seeing a artist at Saratoga depending on how many times they played there is, it’s just a gig. You’re entitled to your opinion of the current lineup at Saratoga this year and I’m entitled to mine, I still consider it to be weak and not worthy of attending this year.

  39. George
    February 11th, 2011 at 15:57 | #40

    Many of those Cape Town artists have performed at Saratoga before — Wayne Shorter Quartet, Esperanza Spalding, Youssou N’Dour, and Dave Koz just from memory. That’s more than a quarter of the lineup you listed, so recycling or repeating can’t be that much of an issue for you in and of itself.

    Of course, this all boils down to personal preference and you can prefer whatever lineup, festival, and venue you choose based on whatever factors you want to use to decide.

    Some years the “recycling” of artists has bothered me but it doesn’t look bad this year. If I’m remembering correctly, Dianne Reeves hasn’t played since ’08 (3 years ago) and Jack DeJohnette since ’07 (4 years ago). I know I’ve seen Lizz Wright at Saratoga before but I think that was even longer ago. Booking an artist every 3 or 4 years seems very reasonable to me. (Dave Brubeck is a legend, and it was a treat to see him the first time, but I think we saw him 3 times in 4 years in the mid-00s, which was too much.)

    And I’m looking forward to seeing The Bad Plus again. They played the Gazebo 8 years ago and have released 4 or 5 studio albums with new compositions since then. It’s hardly unreasonable to imagine that their audience (and appearance fee) has grown since then. Here in the Boston area they’re playing bigger more-upscale venues than they did in ’03 (I saw their Boston-area debut at Ryles). I think it would be a nice tradition to bring Gazebo acts who have gone on to have successful careers back to the festival once in a while.

  40. Ken
    February 11th, 2011 at 14:24 | #41

    @ Jim, you must be a newbie since, Bad Plus use to be a Gazebo act now they’re main stage?…I don’t think so! Lizz Wright, Dianne Reeves have been there in the past, as you stated Jack De Johnnette. I’m surprise that Dave Brubeck isn’t on here since he is a regular there. I like the Lizz Wright, Angelique Kidjo and Dianne Wright since I enjoy all three and Diane did a fantastic show at the Cape Town S. Africa Jazzfest which is one of the World’s Best! Speaking of which I will be attending this year and look at this lineup for just one day and the second day will be posted soon. The cost is about the same as here for two days f$125.00 Patricia Barber (US),Dave Ledbetter and the Clearing (SA),Hubert Laws (US)
    Wayne Shorter Quartet with Brian Blade, Danilo Perez & John Gang of Instrumentals (SA)
    Monique Bingham (US) Gazelle (SA) Christian Scott (US) Lisa Bauer (SA) Esperanza Spalding (US) Sandra Cordeiro (Angola) Simphiwe Dana (SA) Youssou N’Dour EARTH, WIND & FIRE Hanjin (Singapore/Hong Kong) Dave Koz (US) Ivan Mazuze (Mozambique/SA) The Flames – Official Reunion (SA) this is just ONE DAY! The concerts start about 6:pm and end at around 1:am and a great party atmosphere and there is no more beautiful city than Cape Town in the World. The first day linrup there is better than the two day at Saratoga. How may people like the Cape Town Line up? http://www.capetownjazzfest.com

  41. AK
    February 11th, 2011 at 10:58 | #42

    I don’t think Danny it’s about presenting all the great names suggested, just a headliner or two. Now, if you are saying that some of the artists are beyond the budget, I completely understand. Hopefully next year will be better and more exciting

  42. Jim
    February 11th, 2011 at 08:52 | #43

    Who’s being “recycled,” Ken. The only artist on this year’s schedule that I remember seeing recently at Saratoga is the great Jack DeJohnette, who was last there with Trio Beyond three years ago. Have you seen Jack too much lately? How unfortunate for you. I think the 2011 line-up looks terrific, and it’s easily as good as the cast at Syracuse last year. Don’t be a whiner! it’s unseemly.

  43. Ken
    February 10th, 2011 at 12:18 | #44

    After reviewing the line up for this year, I won’t be attending. I read your comments Danny and I agree, you can’t please everyone. Yet I still see artists being recycled here constantly, so is that fair? The weird thing is that, Michael McDonald is possibly the biggest name and he’s not a jazz artist. I know Syracuse Jazzfest is the same weekend as Saratoga, I bet that they will have a better line-up than this…and it’s FREE…Hear me again it’s FREE! So people wait until the Syracuse line-up is announced, to agree or disagree with me and feel free to join me in Syracuse….Hell you can’t beat FREE!

  44. Jim
    February 10th, 2011 at 10:33 | #45

    Well, I’m very pleased with the 2011 line-up, Danny. I also thought last year’s line-up was terrific, a decided improvement on the previous year. I think you do a tremendous job addressing the eclectic tastes of your audience. You can’t please everyone, but this line-up certainly has a good mix of both jazz and pop artists. I think you gotta like a festival that includes Jack DeJohnette, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Donald Harrison, Michael McDonald and The Bad Plus! It works for me and I’m so looking forward to being there in June.

  45. George
    February 9th, 2011 at 13:26 | #46

    I like to see the lesser-known more-contemporary artists, and I don’t think I would enjoy the festival as much if it were just big name “headliner” followed by big name “headliner” as some of the commentators here seem to want.

    The number of artists in the festival has changed a lot over the past few years. Last year there were 7 Main Stage acts on Saturday and 6 on Sunday; ten years ago there were 9 Saturday and 8 Sunday! I’m not sure if this was a cost-cutting move, or if it’s a way to end the night earlier (I remember a few times they played well past midnight Saturday!) or if it’s a way to get longer sets — likely a combination of all 3 I suppose. In any case, you’ll never be able to please all of the people all of the time, but with two fewer artists each day it seems inevitable that it will be harder for attendees to find artists they are excited about.

  46. george potts
    February 8th, 2011 at 21:25 | #47

    i agree with most of the comments about the artists that you have chose, not a good bunch. if , i saw this lineup before i made my resevations i would miss this one.not enough good talent. all these performs are good, however there are much better out there.

  47. February 8th, 2011 at 00:58 | #48

    We are announcing the line-up on Thursday. I, like all of you, would love to present so many of the groups you are suggesting but we would need 17 days and nights and about a $5,000,000 budget! We work real hard each year to present a diverse line-up of new and not-so-new artists. I have been working on the festival since 1994 and booking it since 1999. I had the honor of working with every jazz legend that was alive and performing since the late 80s and it’s astonishing to think how many have passed since then. We keep the music and the festival alive and moving forward by presenting lots of different artists. We want you to have a great time, be entertained and get turned onto something new. It’s a delicate balance – MORE jazz, MORE R&B, NO R&B, MORE BLUES, less Smooth Jazz, MORE Smooth Jazz… I love your passion and respect your tastes. I hope you all find someone on the line-up we’re about to announce that you love and someone you have no clue about. Come and dig what’s so great about SPAC – the vibe, the hang, the chill and the music. Thank you all so much – Danny Melnick

  48. barbara
    February 7th, 2011 at 22:12 | #49

    I have been coming since the very first festival. I have missed a couple of years do to children and life. I take 4 days off from work and drive down from Maine. I rent a room for 3 nights, buy the food, gas, etc.. I think the line up for the past few years has been getting a little lame. We used to have mostly head liners. We want those days back. I would be willing to pay more to see some great JAZZ!!!!!!!!

  49. BaBa
    February 7th, 2011 at 18:42 | #50

    The Festival is listed as JAZZ Festival, read all prev comments & artist requested,most are R&B singers. Lets keep jazz artist and singers working. Seems like they are a dying breed.

  50. Teressa
    February 7th, 2011 at 10:41 | #51

    I totally agree with those who want Frankie Beverly and Maze. My husband and I travel from Chicago to attend the festival, I am sure there are others who travel even further. I feel they would be an exciting, crowd pleasing addition. We also book our hotel a year in advance, but with the line up that is posted, we are not going to spend money or the time to attend.

  51. Jim
    February 7th, 2011 at 10:22 | #52

    Back at Christmas Danny posted that the festival was “99 percent booked” and he was waiting for one more artist to confirm before announcing the entire line-up by the end of January. What happened? Since the partial line-up posted on New Year’s Day there’s been no new information. That partial line-up sounded promising, but certainly not “99 percent.” Why the long tease?

  52. Patricia
    February 6th, 2011 at 15:44 | #53

    If you are looking for more artists for the 2011 Freihofer’s jazzfest in Saratoga…..please please please get Frankie Beverly and Maze!! They are available that weekend and will absolutely be the icing on the ‘cake’! Marvelous group that pleases ‘decades’ of many different audiences! They would be a mash hit in this venue….no one tires of seeing this ageless group! Get him!! thanks!

  53. george potts
    February 5th, 2011 at 20:54 | #54

    i agree this so far is not a good lineup, hope better people are coming. frankie beverly and maze, puices of a dream, sade,whispers, o’jayswould perk up this years affair

  54. Sandra
    February 5th, 2011 at 09:22 | #55

    A great line-up would include Frankie Beverly and Maze, the Original Jazz Crusaders, Lizz Wright and Hugh Masekela.

  55. Ken
    February 2nd, 2011 at 18:08 | #56

    The only Headliner of the bunch is Jack De Johnette, Dee Dee Bridgewater, is ok but not a true headliner and was just there in 2008. Bought the last Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings hoping that that it would be good…Hated It! Elaine Elias…damn where has she been in the last 15-20 years? The rest of the people announced so far can’t even pack a NYC Jazz Club. I usually come up for the two day event and really they haven’t had a decent line up in about 5 years. The West Oak Lane Jazz Festival in Philly had these artists for FREE last year and this line-up isn’t even close…Esperanza Spalding, David Sanborn, and Al Jarreau, George Duke, Joey DeFrancesco, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dahi Devine and did I say it was FREE and I bet this year line up will beat this one at Saratoga. Spend that $50 on gas and drive down to Philly and enjoy a free show.

  56. John G
    February 2nd, 2011 at 17:42 | #57

    C’mon!!! A street festival? I would gladly pay $50 just to see Eliane Elias! Dee Dee Bridgewater, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and Jazz Legend, Jack DeJohnette? This is shaping up to be one of the better lineups I’ve seen in a while. BTW….. Michael McDonald is headlining one of the nights (likely Saturday) Great job Danny!!!

  57. Ken
    February 2nd, 2011 at 10:44 | #58

    I hope that some real heavy hitters are added, so far the line up looks like a street festival line up.

  58. Monique
    January 30th, 2011 at 13:38 | #59

    What a line up this would be for Saratoga….David Benoit, Gerald Albright, Brian Culpertson, KEM, Pieces of a Dream, George Benson, Ken Norris, Paul Tayor, Kirk Whalum, Emel Larieux …etc. etc.

  59. george
    January 30th, 2011 at 12:46 | #60

    @Danny Melnick
    boney james, sade, pieces of a dream, jill scitt, o’jays,latin jazz allstars, quirk , gerald albright

  60. Bob Trackey
    January 27th, 2011 at 14:00 | #61

    Please look into getting Giacomo Gates on the card. He played a number of years ago at the Gazebo but I would love to see him on the main stage. He has an amazing voice, style, and relates very well to the audience. He has a way of introducing, humor, history, and a smooth voice into a strong repetroire of songs.
    I have tried to find ways to nominate talent but I don’t think any of them have worked.

  61. Barbara Burt
    January 27th, 2011 at 10:54 | #62

    YES, it would be wonderful to hear singers like: “KEM”, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Boney James and of course Eric Benet.

  62. Kelley wilford
    January 21st, 2011 at 18:44 | #63

    I would love to see Lizz Wright or Renee Marie. I have been going since 1989, I would like to see mor younger and up coming artist. No matter what I will be there with 70 of my friends enjoying the weekend.

  63. Christmas in June
    January 20th, 2011 at 20:36 | #64

    I’m excited to hear the entire line up announcement any day now. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings are at the Egg this Saturday. We’ll be there. I know you’ve pretty much got it planned and booked but Gloria Estefen performing her Cuban music would be a hugh draw and a defining moment for me. Sade as well. Some year maybe. So happy to hear Eliane Elias will be here. Kinda hoping Susie Hansen will be here this year. Please keep me posted re mid winter jazz fest reunion. Anne and I will be there. Hope you want the signs again this year. Jess is living in Philly now. I’ll make it happen. Cheers, Tom Gaughan

  64. Bruce Johnston
    January 18th, 2011 at 17:52 | #65

    @Danny Melnick


    Looks like a solid line-up, so far! I used to go to SPAC for the jazz festival from ’82 until ’97, at which time my wife and I had three kids………..and little kids and jazz don’t mix too well, IMHO…

    But in 2009, I brought my son with me, and now we make it an annual event. This year we will also bring my daughter, who is mildly autistic, but who has great taste and loves jazz. So truly a family affair…….

    A few wish-list artists: Steve Smith Vital Legacy, Branford Marsalis Quartet (or even Joey Calderazzo!), Charles Lloyd, John Scofield, Robben Ford………so many good memories at SPAC, I’m sure which ever acts you book will be great!

    Thanks for keeping the tradition alive! I just plowed half a foot of sow off my driveway in New Hampshire, so you gotta believe I check in with the SPAC jazz festival countdown clock often!

    All best,

    Bruce Johnston

  65. Audrey Woods
    January 11th, 2011 at 13:33 | #66

    Love the Festival – 2010 was my first with friends and planning on attending again, and again, and again …. (smile)

    Thank you, the staff, for your hard work on putting together a wonderful event.

    I would love to see more singers: Kem, Cassandra Wison, Eric Benet, Diane Reeves, Kurt Elling, and the most fabulous Gregory Porter…. just a few ideas.

    See you in June and a wonderful New Year!

  66. om
    January 3rd, 2011 at 13:10 | #67

    I would love to see Rachelle Ferrell , Layla Hathaway, India Arie, Eric Benet, Boney James, Kirk Whalum, or Steve Wonder this year.

  67. December 25th, 2010 at 20:34 | #68

    Christmas gift! — The festival is 99% booked. We are waiting for 1 more artist to confirm and we expect to announce the complete line-up in late January. We are also working on a winter jazz-fest “reunion” of sorts at one of the NYC jazz clubs for late February. Details will be announced soon. A few more names for y’all — Eliane Elias Quartet; Ben Allison Band – for Saturday, both main stage. On Sunday, the incredible Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings will appear on the main stage and we will be showcasing an incredible conga player named Pedrito Martinez on both stages. OK – more soon! THANKS and all my best wishes for the new year – DM

  68. Ken
    December 9th, 2010 at 12:46 | #69

    Now that the Original Jazz Crusaders are back together and touring, they would be a great addition.

  69. Ken
    December 3rd, 2010 at 12:23 | #70

    For the next Jazz fest can we enjoy the talents of any of these artists, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Hugh Masekela, Randy Weston, Sonny Rollins, Fourplay, McCoy Tyner, Kenny Barron, Esperanza Spaulding, Cassandra Wilson.

  70. admin
    November 8th, 2010 at 22:40 | #71

    @Dann Melnick
    Thanks for the update Danny!

  71. November 8th, 2010 at 13:36 | #72

    Hi Friends – I get google alerts on the festival and this posting appeared in my inbox! Yes indeed, we have re-booked Dee Dee as we had her last year but she had to postpone so we agreed to present her in 2011. She’s going to do her new “Billie Holiday Tribute” plus other music. We have also confirmed the great drummer Jack DeJohnette for Saturday. He will lead an incredible new all-star band he has put together. And we’ve booked a wonderful singer named Hilary Kole for the gazebo on Saturday, a killer alto sax player – David Binney – for the gazebo on Sunday and a bunch of other artists. We’re working real hard to get as much as can done early so we can announce earlier. We’ll keep you posted! Thanks of everything – Danny Melnick

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