Artist Profile

Saturday Lineup Details

The following artists will perform on Saturday June 28 at the 2014 Saratoga Jazz Festival!

Earth, Wind & Fire – Saturday Amphitheatre

One of the most popular funk and R&B bands of all-time – selling over 90 million albums in their 44-year career, with countless hits and awards – Earth, Wind & Fire will make their festival debut, performing a full-concert length set, including their complete light show. They’ll appear in support of a new album, Now, Then & Forever. Earth, Wind & Fire is one of the most prestigious and popular headlining artists the festival has ever presented in its 37-year history.

Dr. Lonnie Smith Octet – Saturday Amphitheatre

Described by The New York Times as “a reliable captain of soul [who] can make almost any groove feel deep and inevitable,” this Hammond B-3 organ master will make his festival debut, performing in support of his latest album, In The Beginning Vols. 1 & 2. The project spotlights a collection of Smith’s original compositions from early in his career (most of which were initially documented on his classic mid-to-late 1960s Columbia Records and Blue Note Records albums).

Terence Blanchard – Saturday Amphitheatre

The multi-faceted trumpeter, bandleader, film-score and soundtrack composer returns to the festival for his fourth appearance as a leader and fifth overall. Terence Blanchard first played the festival with jazz legend Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers in 1985. Subsequently appearing at the festival with his own band in 1991, 1995, and more recently in 2008. This year, Blanchard will perform in support of his most recent Blue Note Records release, Magnetic, which was nominated for a Grammy® Award in December 2013.

Mike Stern/Bill Evans Band featuring Steve Smith & Tom Kennedy – Saturday Amphitheatre

The festival is proud to present the U.S. debut of a new “super band,” led by virtuoso guitarist Mike Stern and renowned saxophonist Bill Evans (both sharing the common thread of having worked with Miles Davis in the 1980s). They are joined by an explosive rhythm section consisting of drummer Steve Smith and bassist Tom Kennedy, providing for a complete and vigorous set of jazz fusion at its best.

Jon Batiste & Stay Human – Saturday Amphitheatre

At 25, Jon Batiste is considered by many to be one of the most exciting and progressive new crossover talents on the scene today. A “Movado Future Legend” award recipient, and a “Steinway Performing Artist”, Batiste has performed in innumerable prestigious events and venues across the world. His modern take on the American songbook, through the channels of a virtuosic pedigree in jazz and classical music, is attracting critical acclaim as well as audiences across all demographics. Together with his band Stay Human, Batiste is creating a unique grassroots movement that encourages accessibility and appreciation in the art of the live performance. Apart from his natural focus, Batiste is also a noted advocate for music education (Traveling Ambassador for Music Unites, Associate Artistic Director for the National Jazz Museum) and a regular figure in television and film (HBO’s Treme, Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer). Batiste’s appearance will be his first since 2008, the year he made his festival debut.

Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters – Saturday Amphitheatre

Appearing at the festival only once in 1997, guitarist Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters will make their long-awaited return in 2014. Earl is considered a New England blues guitar legend – a staple on the local blues circuit for years (having received praise from blues masters such as B.B. King and Muddy Waters).

Robin McKelle & The Flytones – Saturday Ampitheatre and Gazebo

Hailing from Rochester, New York, vocalist Robin McKelle placed third in the 2004 Thelonious Monk Vocal Jazz Competition. However in recent years, McKelle’s music has been beyond generic classification as a jazz vocalist. Alternatively, she has fully embraced classic rhythm & blues, traditional pop music, and soul styles. Her latest album, Soul Flower, released on Sony Music’s recently re-launched OKeh Records, showcases her passion for classic American R&B. Her second, forthcoming OKeh album, titled Heart of Memphis, strikes a chord with a more roots-centric sound. McKelle will make her festival debut.

Marc Cary Focus Trio featuring Rashaan Carter & Sameer Gupta – Saturday Gazebo

Multi-dimensional keyboardist Marc Cary, who will make his festival debut as a leader, has credits ranging from Abbey Lincoln and Dizzy Gillespie to Erykah Badu and Q-Tip. A four-time Grammy Award nominee (through collaborations), Cary successfully released his first solo piano record in mid-2013 on Motéma Music, titled For The Love Of Abbey (a tribute to his mentor and collaborator Abbey Lincoln). The festival will spotlight Cary in a different format, with his Focus Trio (featuring Rashaan Carter & Sameer Gupta). Fusing East Asian, Indian, African, and Native American influences within the African-American blues and jazz traditions, Focus Trio recently released their second Motéma album, titled Four Directions.

Lew Tabackin Trio – Saturday Gazebo

A favorite at the Saratoga Jazz Festival since debuting in 1980 with the award winning Toshiko Akiyoshi Big Band (a group that he formed with Akiyoshi, his wife), this year marks acclaimed flutist and tenor saxophonist Lew Tabackin’s ninth overall festival appearance and second as a leader (first appearing with his own group in 2000). Performing with his Trio, Tabackin will break tradition and appear on the intimate Gazebo Stage (having always performed on the Amphitheatre stage in previous festival editions). His accolades and awards include a 2012 nomination for the JJA Jazz Awards; winning the Downbeat 2010 critics poll in the Flute category, and winning his 4th consecutive Swing Journal Reader’s poll.

Jaimeo Brown with JD Allen & Chris Sholar – Saturday Gazebo

Renowned drummer, composer and conceptualist Jaimeo Brown’s haunting debut as a leader, Transcendence (Motéma Music, 2013), brilliantly taps the root soul connections between African-American spirituals, transcendental East Indian music, Coltrane-esque improvisation and 21st century electronic music. Joined by guitarist/producer Chris Sholar (Q-Tip, Kanye West, Jay Z) and saxophonist JD Allen, Brown will make his festival debut.

Mary Halvorson Trio with John Hebert & Ches Smith – Saturday Gazebo

Guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson has been called “NYC’s least-predictable improviser” (City Arts), “the most forward-thinking guitarist working right now” (NPR) and “one of today’s most formidable bandleaders” (The Village Voice). Halvorson will make her festival debut, appearing with her longstanding trio – her flagship ensemble – featuring bassist John Hebert and drummer Ches Smith. In addition to the trio, Halvorson leads a quintet, a chamber-jazz duo and is also an active member of bands led by Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Myra Melford, Marc Ribot, and Tom Rainey, among others.

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