The 2013 festival took place Saturday June 29th and Sunday June 30th, 2013.
The 2014 Festival will take place on Saturday June 28th and Sunday June 29th, 2014 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY USA.
Tickets may be purchased at the festival, and are also available online via SPAC’s website. Ticket prices are:
Lawn Amphitheater Adult (per day) $55 $55-$80 12 and under (per day) FREE $40-$65 A separate ticket is required for each day. Ampitheater prices depend on seating section. Two-day passes are no longer available.
Vote in our poll: who Were Your Favorite Performers?
See the results of our poll: which 2013 performers are you most looking forward to?
Saturday – June 29th
There will be fireworks finale on Saturday in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Freihofer’s Baking Company, sponsor of the festival since 1998!
- noon - 1:00: Rudresh Mahanthappa, saxophonist/composer
- 1:20 - 2:25: The Cookers featuring Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson, David Weiss, Craig Handy, George Cables, Cecil McBee & Billy Hart
- 2:50 - 3:55: Big Sam’s Funky Nation, self-described “driving force of urban funk”
- 4:20 - 5:25: McCoy Tyner Quartet w/ Gary Bartz, Gerald Cannon, Francisco Mela, and special guest John Scofield
- 5:45 - 6:55: Gregory Porter, Grammy nominated vocalist
- 7:25 - 8:40: David Sanborn, Bob James, and drummer Steve Gadd
- 9:10 -10:25: Arturo Sandoval
- 12:25 - 1:25: Gilad Hekselman, young Israeli guitarist
- 1:45 - 2:45: Ben Williams & Sound Effect
- 3:10 - 4:10: Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Gamak
- 4:35 - 5:35: Carmen Souza, a female singer of Cape Verdean ancestry
- 6:00 - 7:00: Gary Smulyan Quartet (baritone sax), Mike LeDonne (organ), Paul Bollenback (guitar) & Joe Farnsworth (drums)
Sunday – June 30th
- 12:30 - 1:30: Donny McCaslin Group w/ Jason Lindner, Tim Lefebvre & Mark Guiliana
- 1:50 - 3:00: Kevin Eubanks w/ Bill Pierce, Rene Camacho & Nate Smith
- 3:20 - 4:30: Ladysmith Black Mambazo
- 5:00 - 6:15: Preservation Hall Jazz Band, their first appearance at the Festival since 2006
- 6:45 - 8:00: Tony Bennett
- 8:30 - 9:45: Buddy Guy
- noon - 1:00: Fabian Almazan Trio
- 1:20 - 2:20: Ingrid Jensen Quartet w/ Gary Versace, Matt Clohesy and John Wikan
- 2:40 - 3:40: Donny McCaslin Group w/ Jason Lindner, Tim Lefebvre & Mark Guiliana
- 4:00 - 5:00: Introducing Brianna Thomas
- 5:25 - 6:35: Chris Bergson Band w/ Craig Dreyer, Matt Clohesy & Diego Voglino
SPAC exterior photo on this page licensed via CC-BY-SA-3.0/Matt H. Wade at Wikipedia.
128 replies on “2013 Lineup”
Our friends at NJPAC have put together a lovely festival in Newark, which will take place in Nov. Here are the details:
Best – DM
Hope everyone is well as move into Autumn. Our main man GP was on Leno the other night:
I was wondering when the first request to book someone would show up here!
Linda Oh has a new album out, is it too soon to book her for this years festival? She was amazing as a leader at the gazebo in 2010 and last year with Fabian Almazan.
Hi Friends – John Scofield, who performed with McCoy Tyner on Saturday’s program lost his 26-year old son after a 2-year battle with sarcoma, on July 6. Evan made John commit to all his gigs this summer even though they knew time was short. John was actually in CA when Evan passed. Evan was an avid outdoors-man and wished that his ashes by spread in far-flung places by his friends & family. Here’s a link to his story and a donation page so that his young friends can travel and fulfill Evan’s wishes. — Danny
I imagine its some sort of safety issue that they have to keep the stairs cleared. But they used to just enforce that at night, now its an all day deal. I agree though they used to be much nicer about moving people. Now there is a bit of an edge to it. Which is completely unecessary. Security used to be college kids, now its these middle age guys on a power trip.
Thanks, Danny, for a terrific festival once again!! Line-ups both days were outstanding. Big highlights were Gregory Porter, Arturo, Pres. Hall, Tony, and Buddy (with the kid!!). Good variety both days as well. I thought that for the most part the sound on the lawn was much better than in previous years, although it’s frustrating that they keep the sound turned down early in the day…I guess to prevent bleeding over into the gazebo area?
Was it just me, or was security a bit more aggressive this year? We were sitting dead center on the lawn and witnessed many times where the “gray shirts” were aggressively keeping people off the sidewalk in front of the lawn. Folks used to be permitted to stand there and watch. They even stopped a group who were having fun dancing during the Preservation Hall band…kinda silly if you ask me.
That said…we had a wonderful time and will be back for our 32nd time next year!
Last year, my first, I weighed in on the cavernous sound in the shed. Now I understand that there’s nothing that can done about it. So I spend most of my time at the Gazebo. Highlights there:
Saturday – I hear from a guitar friend (we weren’t there yet) that Gilead Hekselman was amazing. Rudresh and the crew were tremendous OUTDOORS, but I can’t imagine the cacophony of the shed. Carmen Souza has an incredible voice, but her background group didn’t do her justice. Gary Smulyan was the surprise of the day. Can there be a better bari sax anywhere?
Did see James/Sanborn in the shed, and they were good, given what they do. Kudos to their sound people. But wanted to hear more from Steve Gadd. Arturo Sandoval is a genius, and his ode to Dizzy moved us to tears. His was a great performance.
Sunday – Fabian Almazen put out a wonderful set, with supertalented Rudy Royston on drums. (Rudy reminded me of Omar Hakim from last year.) Ingrid Jensen played a good Miles-y set, but was tired from traveling and kept mentioning it. I would never listen to Donny McCaslin for enjoyment, but I appreciated what he and his group were doing. (Again, it had to be horrible indoors.) Brianna Thomas better learn how to use a microphone. Chris Bergson was really fabulous, even if he was high-level “bar band” music. He and his group rocked, and the crowd responded. A great finishing act at the Gazebo.
Great time, and thanks to nature for the weather. One moment of reminiscence. No one at the Gazebo matched Catherine Russell’s performance as a singer last year, nor did anyone top the insanity provoked by Pedrito Martinez and his quartet. Still, it’s great to see these less known folk, and also to hear bands in the acoustically fresh outdoors who would be unlistenable in the shed.
Food was great, especially the tent where they make the salads. Nothing better than the tomato and mozz.
Thanks to all, and to fun fans from all over.
Amen Danny! Tone down the blues? Of the 23 music slots only two were blues, less than 10%. This is a jazz fest. 15 of the 23 slots were indisputably jazz. Of the two world music acts (Ladysmith and Carmen Souza), even Souza was reminiscent of Brazilian jazz. Even the funk act (Big Sam) has that big easy jazz sound and had jazz trumpeter Maurice Brown in addition. Tony Bennett is pop but songbook has always been the favored material for jazz artists. Gregory Porter and Brianna Thomas are a little harder to classify (soul, cabaret who knows). Jazz acts alone could not support this festival which has a long history of including soul, blues, world and pop music. I prefer it this way. It gives me the opportunity to see performers that I might not have spent the time, energy and money to see separately and in the process widen my horizons. One of the problems that this festival had in its recent fallow years was the failure to include sufficient non jazz acts. I believe jazz sells poorly in part because of its purists and jazz elitism. Finally the term jazz when applied to music festivals should not be read so strictly, just check out the lineup at the country’s premier jazz festival in New Orleans.
I thought the inside sound was improved this year, though I was sitting very central. The lawn sound was great.
Hi Sam – thanks for your comments. I’m sorry Chris and Buddy aren’t your cup of tea but I have to say that they were both two of the biggest hits of the festival and played stunning sets. Chris sold more CDs than almost everyone else and Buddy was at the top. I can’t shy away from the roots of the music and blues, soul, etc. will always be part of this festival as long as I’m producing it. I’ve received emails from people begging me to bring Chris back next year.
As for the sound in the amphitheater, as long as most people are hanging out on the lawn and not sitting in their seats, there’s nothing that can be done. You can’t control the sound in a place with cement, plastic, wood and metal without people and their clothes helping to absorb the sound. It’s just an acoustic reality of the festival.
Hope everyone has a joyous and festive 4th!
We had less of a problem this year with the cigars. It hard to see how they can ban only cigars but not cigarettes as the best ground for banning them would be for health reasons. However, I concur, perhaps at best a reserved area for smoking that is off the beaten path.
And… seeing as how this is NOT called the Jazz and Blues fest, please tone down the blues acts. I waiting around Sunday to hear who Chris Bergson was and immediately left the park when I heard bar-band blues. I’m a guitar nut and love Buddy Guy, but didn’t stay to hear him either. I come for the JAZZ!
However, being a guitar nut I loved all the gazebo acts that had some new young cats. That’s the stuff.
I was a little disappointed in Kevin Eubanks. I was hoping he’d show off his jazz chops but I found it was mostly noisy funk rock. Three songs in a row, same tempo, probably the same key.
Also (I actually loved the fest, but) the sound in the Ampitheater was terrible. I was in one of the side sections and it was bad, I talked to someone who was front and center and it was bad. From where I was sitting McCoy Tyner sounded terrible, every hit of his piano caused a clear distortion. I couldn’t understand why the soundman was letting that happen. However, out on the lawn it sounded much better. And the Gazebo stage was awesome.
I have to agree with Chuck. The air went out of the place when Ladysmith played.
Please consider banning cigar smoking. Everywhere we went we smelled the stench of those things. The whole place smelled like a bathroom in a bar.
Hi Friends – It went so fast! I can’t believe it’s over either. Amazing. I hope everyone had a good time. We were really happy about the production and were thrilled how the bands performed. I appreciate everyone’s interest in the festival and look forward to next year. We had one of the best years of ticket sales in the past 15 years (almost as good as last year) so please spread the word to your friends and on facebook, etc. Chuck – I sent your note about the broken seat to the production manager at SPAC. I am sure they will fix it. One thing about Gregory Porter – he has a skin condition and wears the head-wrap and hat for that reason. Have a great summer everyone – “Speak” soon – Danny
Most importantly thanks to whoever arranged that we could avoid all the terrible weather that was nearby all weekend. If anyone from SPAC is viewing this site, the seat is broken at Section 3, Row T, Seat 1. It’s been a long time since the festival had such a wonderful finish with Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Chris Bergson, Tony Bennett and Buddy Guy. Tony Bennett is still selling class and elegance wrapped in humility. The often erratic Buddy Guy was rocking. Thought that Sanborn/James saved a weak Saturday. Sandoval’s performance was insufficiently latin. Did not like Mahanthappa, the Cookers were only OK for me. I tired of Big Sam as I found it repetitious. Tyner/Scofiled was solid but I was saddened to see McCoy so frail. Gregory Porter’s first two songs were terrific but after that the material was weak. A shame, as that is a great voice that would be best singing Songbook and Soul standards. Also, I don’t get the hat. I enjoyed Carmen Souza at the gazebo. Biggest disappointment of the festival: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, really boring. Great time had by our group of fourteen. Saturday was mixed musically but saved by a Sunday that was one of the best days of my thirty years at the festival. Thanks to all who contributed to it’s success.
Danny thanks for the festival. Loved it. Something for the whole family.We all enjoyed the music and were thrilled the weather (for the most part) held up! Cant wait till next year!!!
Does anybody know the name the encore piece that David Sanborn played…. It’ s driving us crazy trying to remember!! Must have had too much sun on Saturday…….
Buddy Guy is tearing it up. What a great way to close the weekend. It’s hard to believe it’s over already.
There should be a halfway to jazzfest concert to make the wait for next year easier.
They just made the announcement June 28 and 29 for next year.
What a day so far. Great lineup and the weather minus some rain has held out. Scofield is complimenting McCoy perfectly right now.
Listening to Rudresh soundcheck. If you aren’t here you need to be, it’s going to be amazing.
Check out this wonderful piece on Gilad Hekselman, who will open the gazebo stage on Saturday.
This reference to smoking is for the Live Nation promoted pop & rock concerts. It’s permitted at the jazz fest. I will speak with SPAC about this for next year. DM
■Alcohol is permitted on premises
■No Pets, Roller-blades. Skateboards or Bikes
■No Video or Recording Equipment – Cameras OK
■No Grills, Hibachis or Cooking Equipment
■No Glass of any kind
■No Beer Kegs or Beer Balls
■It is a VIOLATION of NYS Law to carry or possess any firearm, knife, weapon or fireworks on Park Property
Smoking is not permitted within the Live Nation Family Zones on the Lawn
All ground rules are subject to change.
Please do not allow smoking on the lawn.
Please consider setting aside an area outside the park in the parking lot for smoking. It is not fair to non-smokers to take in second-hand smoke. Not to mention, second-hand smoke is just as deadly.
Please do not allow smokers to even smoke on the edge of the lawn by the retaining wall even with the parking lot where the entertainer’s buses come in.
I am begging you to confine smoking to the main parking lot.
[edited by admin – 06/25/2013 11:49pm]
SPAC will decide late Saturday afternoon. Unless it is pouring or lightning, they will go on Sat. night. DM
If the weather doesnt cooperate on Saturday could the fireworks be moved to Sunday?
I am 99% sure smoking is still permitted on the SPAC lawn. I’ll check again and post the update.
Is smoking still permitted on the SPAC grounds? I ask because we generally suffer the misfortune of having two neighboring “men” who smoke cigars and when complained to about the offensiveness of their smoke and odor erroneously assert it as their right (it’s not a right but a privilege).
I hope y’all are doing your sun dancing right about now! DM
Great interview with the man that makes it all happen….
Some updated line-up info:
Gary Smulyan Quartet, (baritone saxophone); Mike LeDonne, organ; Paul Bollenback, guitar; Joe Farnsworth, drums
Kevin Eubanks drummer is now the great Nate Smith. “Smitty” Smith (no relation) will not be able to make it.
Hi Friends – Rudresh Mahanthappa won his 5th consecutive “alto saxophone player of the year” award from the Jazz Journalists Association this month. The journalist R.J. DeLuke is going to present the award to him prior to his Gazebo Stage set on Saturday. This will take place at 3:05pm. I will introduce RJ and he will present Rudresh with the award.
Any chance of expanding this website for next year? The festival inspires such a passionate fan base of returning people. It would be great to have a place for people to post pictures and share stories. Im not complaining I found this site to be very helpful. I just think it could be a great place for the fans to congregate during the long wait between festivals.
NPR MUSIC: 50 Favorite Songs of 2013, So Far.
Rudresh Mahanthappa, “Waiting Is Forbidden”
“Jazz fusion,” sure. But between the cutting alto sax and the slicing guitar, it’s like running through Gotham City with jet fuel in the veins and daggers for hands.
Hi Friends, I am at a Gregory Porter showcase in Greenwich Village. He is stunning & will blow the house down at the festival. Our next big jazz star. Amazing. DM
Chuck – you are correct about the set times. I created this schedule to allow for a better flow. I promise you that the early artists on Saturday will be amazing. No doubt about it. DM
The schedule is up on the SPAC site. Later starts each day at one of the stages to apparently make seeing all of the artists more possible. Also a later finish each day than in recent years. I love Sunday and find Saturday, especially early, a little off putting. But, as I’ve learned in other years, you never know. This is my 30th consecutive year, so I have some experience in being wrong about expectations.
New band line-up for Chris Bergson –
Chris Bergson Band with Craig Dreyer, Matt Clohesy & Diego Voglino
The fireworks are going to be on Saturday night, not on Sunday night.
We are going to publish this info within the next few days. I can tell you that Buddy Guy is closing. Tony Bennett will go on before Buddy Guy. Best – DM
Can’t seem to find the performance times for Sun.the 30th? what are the times the diff.artists are coming on stage?
I am overseas but will make it back in NY in time to catch the concert. The saturday line up is simply Incredible, can’t wait!!
Hi Friends – Hope everybody is enjoying this cool spring we’re having. I’m still trying to get onto the golf course! We just produced the Dave Brubeck memorial in NYC, which was amazing.
Here’s a lovely video of Gregory Porter from npr.org/music
Enjoy! – DM
Sal, great work on the playlist. Listening now as I count down the days to the festival.
Greetings from New Orleans! It’s wet and soggy here but the food is fine and music is incredible! Just a quick note to let you know that Rudresh Mahanthappa, who returns to the festival on June 29 with his new band, Gamak, was one of 20 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award recipients yesterday! This is a $275,000 award and one of the largest and most prestigious arts awards in the world! Congrats to Rudresh and we look forward to his 2 sets at the festival, which seems to be coming up very fast – 2 months away! DM
If anyone uses Spotify, I’ve created a playlist of the artists at this years festival.
I spent some time last night getting familiar with Gary Smulyan. Going to be some tough choices to make between the gazebo and the main stage!
I saw him the last time he was at SPAC. What an amazing performer!!! I CAN’T WAIT!!! Thanks Danny!!! @John Gilligan
Rudresh’s Gamak Band:
NYC CD release party at Le Poisson Rouge on Thursday, April 11.
We proudly announce the return of multi-Grammy and Latin Grammy award-winning artist, Arturo Sandoval, to the festival. He will close the main stage on Saturday. We had to wait until tonight as he performed at Proctor’s in Albany and we agreed to hold off until his performance. We will have fireworks, courtesy of Freihofer’s, after his set that night. DM
I was on the fence with this guy until listening to this entire NPR recording this morning. Thanks for posting this Danny!@Danny Melnick (producer)
Okay… I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been back & forth between this page and the SPAC site looking for that April 5th TBA to be revealed. Throw us a bone @Danny ?
Hi Clarence – Billy lives in Switzerland and only comes to the US when he has a tour. He was just here for about a week or two in the winter. He won’t be here in June. Best – Danny
When are you going to bring someone like Bill Cobham to the festival? This year is the 40th year celebration of Spectrum. This festival would’ve been a great opportunity to see him perform .
i have learned never to comment on your lineup until i see them. i know i will have a great time. good job. in future please make an effort to get jill scott, boney james, pieces of a dream
Although they are playing the festival on Saturday, June 29, my company is presenting the NYC debut of David Sanborn & Bob James together on Thursday, June 6 at The Town Hall in NYC.
Sanborn and James’ 1986 recording, “Double Vision,” spent 63 weeks on the Billboard charts, and sold over 1 million copies — but they never toured. Reuniting 27 years later for a new recording, “Quartette Humaine,” on the newly re-launched OKeh Records label, the pair will tour for the first time.
Their new band is a quartet and features the legendary Steve Gadd on drums and Saturday Night Live’s James Genus, on bass.
If you want a sneak preview before the festival (and a full concert show) and are in the NYC area, please check out Ticketmaster here:
Thanks! – DM
I’ve been attending this festival off and on since 1982. Remembering Dizzy introducing the young Marsalis men, hearing Dave Brubeck more than once, including his Happy Birthday singalong, Art Blakey, Miles Davis and Oscar Peterson—all quite amazing. Discovered that Gladys Knight has the most incredible rapport with the audience. Angelique Kidjo’s intense energy made the audience stand up and dance like crazy!
I so appreciate this festival in Saratoga. We are fortunate indeed to be privy to such talent. As for comments that certain artists are not jazz enough, I think the mix is fine. Just go have a beer when the fusion begins. Something for every jazz lover, as they say.
Danny, you are the man! Great job. I love this line-up. I will be there.
@Danny Melnick (producer)
The man’s got some pipes!
Great news! Love Steve Gadd!
We finally got confirmation that the legendary and superb drummer, Steve Gadd, will be with Bob James & David Sanborn.
You gotta listen to this!
We just heard from Chris last night that Bruce is now not available. The organ player will be Craig Dreyer.
Danny I have a quick question. On the announcement it lists Bruce Katz as playing with Chris Bergson. But I was looking on Chris’s website and it doesnt list Bruce as playing with him at the jazz festival. Just curious if Bruce is playing with Chris or not.Thanks. Lineup looks great!
I booked Ladysmith because they are such a fun and unique group. And we’ve had Angelique Kidjo, Youssou N’Dour, Femi Kuti, and other top African groups on the festival over the years and they’ve all done very well. As they are touring this June/July, I wanted to take this chance to present them. Thanks for the good words! -DM
Nice line-up, Danny!
Looks like a great lineup. McCoy Tyner and Scofield…yes!! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Buddy Guy will actually play one or two complete tunes, rather than endless medleys. I’ve seen him three times over about a 15 year period and could really live without a replay of the lame “now I’m gonna sound like all the other great guitar players” medley. Buddy, news flash, you are a great blues man and guitar player!!
Nevermind… I see my answer (April 5th announcement)
@Danny – Looks like another great lineup! I’m really looking forward to seeing McCoy Tyner/Scofield, Sanborn/James and Tony Bennett. I really don’t get the Ladysmith Black Mambazo inclusion. They’re not really my cup of tea but you can’t please everyone (who knows.. maybe they’ll surprise me).
Overall… Great job!
When will Saturday’s co-headliner be announced?
Thanks for all you do!
Hi Friends – One new change as of this morning. The legendary Cecil McBee will be playing bass with The Cookers, not Dwayne Burno, who is usually Cecil’s sub. Fortunately Cecil is available for our date.
We are announcing another co-headliner for Saturday on April 5.
I hope you enjoy the line-up this year. Fireworks courtesy of Freihofer’s on Sunday night!
Best – DM
I enjoy her music but found her diva behavior a little annoying.
Listening to Rudresh Mahanthappa, really hoping that he will get to play the main stage and gazebo, really looking forward to seeing him. Or we could get lucky and see him both days….
Hello all and thank you for posting some of the up coming artists for the festival in June. I have been holding out on posting the date for my yearly family reunion due my attending the Jazz Fest each year. I believe I have only missed it once. I can’t complain about the line up because I simply LOVE JAZZ! So no matter who’s playing, i’ll be some where in the crowd grooving.
Thank you and see you in JUNE!
Jim – It was me, Danny, I forgot to list my name when I sent the reply. To Tom Mc – you are completely correct about the budget and artist availability. People have suggested Sade and Stevie Wonder and others at that level and we will never ever ever get them. Sade never plays festivals, tours on average once every 8-10 years, and commands massive fees. I happen to love Donald Fagen & Steely Dan but I’m know we could never afford Steely. Donald maybe as his solo/band fees are less than when Steely Dan goes out but it would be tricky for us. DM
Its all well and good to blurt out suggestions, but booking a festival requires operating within a budget. Ive got to imagine booking someone like Donald Fagen would leave little money for other acts and that would reduce the overally quality of the festival. Is Donald Fagen even touring this summer? I like the way it is being run now with a mix of big names and acts Ive never gotten to a chance to hear before.I love walking away from the Gazebo being blown away by someone I never heard before…Matt Slocum I thought was awesome in 2011.
Just keep those damn tents away from the front of the gazebo this year!
I’d love to see Donald Fagan at the festival. Every time I’ve seen Steely Dan the past few years the house has pretty much been sold out. So, he’s still a draw. And his new album, Sunken Condos, is wonderful. Way more listenable than Morph the Cat.
I don’t doubt it. Nor did I mean to disparage them in my previous note. By the way, why the anonymity?
Jim – plenty of big names on the line-up but please check out the artists already listed on the internet. They are wonderfully talented and fantastic artists. Gregory Porter is a superstar. Chris Bergson is one of the finest blues guitarists and songwriters on the scene today. Rudresh and Donny are two of the most accomplished saxophone players in jazz and they both lead fabulous bands. You will say “wow” to all of them. DM
@Danny Melnick (producer)
Thank YOU, Danny. I’ve been coming to this festival since 1983, missing it just once (I quit that job!) The last few years have featured some of the best music ever. I appreciate the mix of straight ahead jazz, with just a little c-jazz sprinkled in, and the occasional headliner that isn’t really jazz, but is a big draw and a real treat…Smoky, The Temps, Ojays come to mind. Hall & Oates? Not so much. Donald Fagan, however…. Anyway, really looking forward to my 30th festival!
It is definitely the best jazz venue in the Northeast. I will go again just to hear the saxaphones, drums, brass, guitars, keyboards and singers echoing across the beautiful grounds. Only four months to go and I can’t wait!
yes George, they have been great at the festival. Chris Botti was great last year. Esperanza Spalding is a better fit at the Gazebo with her trio. George Benson is always a hit there and of course, I had the pleasure to listen to my Jazz idol, Dave Brubeck for the final time. I still think that Dan and Chris Brubeck are great on drums and bass and trombone respectively.
I, too, have been coming to this festival for many years. I thought last year’s line-up was excellent, way better than 2011. So, from my perspective, the assertion that the festival has gone continuously downhill for the past four years doesn’t hunt. That said, the partial line-up posted to date isn’t singing to me. Certainly some interesting artists there, but when the final production is unveiled I hope we’ll see some big names. Danny’s dead on about Hall and Oates, however. I can’t go for that. No can do.
I definitely agree. I have been going to this Jazz festival for more than 20 years. The past 4 years, the line up has been deteriorating. Please Dan, bring some great names. I am sort of losing hope with the future of this festival.
Ive been going to this festival since 1984.
I thought last years lineup was terrific.I had trouble prying myself away from the Gazebo to catch some of the mainstage acts. Trombone Shorty was lots fo fun.
I’ve been going to this event for the last 12 years and I have to agree that the lineup seems to have gotten worse over the last 4, please bring in some great names this year!
How about a little Brazilian Jazz? Phil Fest in Palm Beach FLorida is real good
Hi Friends – Thanks for all the suggestions and opinions. I’m so glad you’re all so “invested” in the festival. It reinforces what I already knew – that the festival really means something to so many people and that’s why I’ve always taken the programming and production of the festival so seriously. It means a lot to me and I want you to know, if you don’t already, that I do everything I can to put on a festival that will appeal to the widest audience and that is interesting, exciting, entertaining and also educational. There are literally thousands of artists to choose from but only 21 bands we can fit into our schedule each year. As I mentioned earlier, we are announcing the entire line-up on March 11 (it’ll actually be in the Albany Times Union next Sunday) and I am confident it is a wonderful line-up of amazing artists who will appeal to a lot of people. If you are unfamiliar with some of the gazebo stage artists, please check them out online. They are going to knock you out.
I realize too that everyone has their own personal favorites and opinion about who they want to see and not see, what they believe jazz is and what it’s not. I get so emails saying “book so-and-so, don’t book so-and-so.” It’s impossible to satisfy everyone but I was so inspired by last year’s amazing turn-out that I know we are in a really solid place with the festival right now. Last year’s attendance was the largest in over 20 years. I have all the #s and they tell the story – even in this crazy economy we’re in the midst of, you and your friends and so many other people are choosing to come to the festival and that’s just amazing for me and my production team and my partners at SPAC.
We appreciate your continued commitment to the festival and we love you madly!
Hall & Oates? I don’t think so!
Kind Regards – Danny
I’m a little mystified, Hall and Oates? Danny has worked very hard to bring JAZZ back. If you think H & O are jazz you should look to attend a pop music festival. H & O are good but that would be too big of a stretch to say they are jazz. BTW, the crowds have increased each of the last three years because Danny has brought JAZZ back.
The biggest ripoff for years was the “KOOL jazz festival” in Cincinati. Three days of “jazz” and not one jazz act on any of the three days. They finally wised up and now call it a music festival.
I have been coming to Saratoga for 18yrs, but the last five years the lineup is getting worse each year. How about: Darryl Hall and John Oats, Bonnie Raitt, Donald Fagan, Steely Dan just to name a few. I can just look around the lawn and tell you that attendance ha gone drastically down. Please bring back the fun Saratoga!!!
What’s wrong with Esperanza? She’s terrific!
Preservation Hall Jazz Band Brings New Orleans’ Flavor to Jazz Festival
The legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band returns to the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival in 2013, their first appearance since 2006. Founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe, the band is named for the venerable music venue located in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Whether performing at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center, for British Royalty or the King of Thailand, this music embodies a joyful, timeless spirit. Under the auspices of current director, Ben Jaffe, the son of founders Allan and Sandra, Preservation Hall continues to spread its mission to nurture and perpetuate the art form of New Orleans Jazz. Recent accolades include a NAACP Image Award and a featured performance alongside Dr. John and The Black Keys at the 55th Annual GRAMMY® Awards.
The Band counts many of the twentieth century’s jazz icons as its charter members, including Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and Bunk Johnson. These founding artists and dozens of others passed on the lessons of their music to a younger generation who now follow in their footsteps like the current lineup.
The historic Preservation Hall venue has been preserved in its original condition as a testament to the founding vision of the band. To this day, Preservation Hall has no drinks, air conditioning, or other typical accoutrements; it is a place that welcomes people of all ages interested in having one of the last pure music experiences left on the earth.
What do you mean by ‘expose yourself’? Anyway I can’t wait for March 11. I want to see that line up.
The Tain…. must have the mighty Jeff Tain Watts
PLEASE no Esperanza Spalding!
We’ve been announcing an artist almost once a week since late December. The entire line-up will be announced on March 11. Working on press release, ticketing system, marketing, brochure, website etc. Lots to do before announcing. DM
So, Danny, if the fest is all booked, why the cloak of secrecy? I’m really looking forward to it, but about this time every year I start to wonder what’s the line-up.
Acclaimed Bassist BEN WILLIAMS & SOUND EFFECT Highlight Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival
One of the brightest stars in the generation of musicians helping to push the jazz legacy forward, dynamic bassist Ben Williams and his band Sound Effect make their Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival debut on June 29. A 2009 winner of the Thelonious Monk Competition, Williams and his band Sound Effect have earned wide critical acclaim and performed with a who’s who of jazz greats, including Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Mulgrew Miller and Terence Blanchard.
Williams released his first record as a leader, State of Art in 2011, to strong critical acclaim. Considered to have a warm, woody tone, flowing groove, melodic phrasing, and storytelling approach, Williams has found favor among musicians and audiences. A bandleader, musical educator, composer, and electric and acoustic bassist, Ben has been working with New York’s finest jazz musicians even before graduating from Juilliard. When Williams showcased his band, Sound Effect, at The Jazz Gallery in New York, he earned an enthusiastic New York Times review with writer Nate Chinen noting, “Williams took several long solos in his first set at The Jazz Gallery . . . and each one felt more like an entitlement than an indulgence.”
Taking the gazebo stage, this performance will mark the group’s first festival performance, but a return to SPAC where Ben and his band performed in 2010 as part of SPAC’s Extended Season series.
Expose yourself, “Sal.”
@Jill of the Chesapeake & Potomac Jazz & Blues Society
Hi Jill – thanks so much for your suggestion. The festival is entirely booked but I will definitely check them out online. All my best – DM
….Buddy Guy…McCoy Tyner…David Sanborn….Ladysmith Black Mambazo..that is all.
Hi Danny, I’d like to suggest a band for the gazebo that would rock the house with their New Orleans via Milwaukee sound infused with R&B, Afro Cuban, Caribean, Cajuin/Zedico, & Funk fun! They have a lot of fans in the Washington, Philidelphia, New England & New Orleans area & of course among us of the Chesapeake & Potomac Jazz & Blues Society (several of our esteemed members are veteran attendees of the Saratoga Jazz Festival from the very first festival!). The band I am speaking of is Paul Cebar & Tomorrow Sound (of Yes Music People) formerly Paul Cebar & the Milwaukeeans. Don’t come to any conclusions about the name without hearing this band that sells out D.C. Venues & has been asked to return to the Rhythm & Roots Festival in Rhode Island, Bayou Boogie Blues in Mass. & Camp Jam in the Pines in NJ.
jill scott,pieces of a dream,chris botti,najee,boney james, these people would light the festival up
Robert Glasper or Gerald Clayton Please!
Brilliant Jazz Vocalist GREGORY PORTER Marks SPAC Debut at 2013 Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival
Grammy nominated vocalist Gregory Porter, described as “the brilliant new voice of jazz,” by the Huffington Post, will bring his vocal mastery to SPAC’s main stage as part of the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, June 29-30. This will be the singer’s first performance at the jazz festival.
Fusing jazz and soul, Porter’s release “Real Good Hands,” off his dynamic album, Be Good, has received a Best Traditional R&B Performance Grammy nomination, marking the jazz superstar’s second Grammy nomination. Showcasing Porter’s blues, gospel and soul influences, Be Good, has also been named the Best Jazz Vocal Album in iTunes’ Best of 2012. The award is the latest in the spate of accolades and acclaim that Porter has earned since the February release, his second for Harlem-based Motema Music. Earning worldwide recognition for his sophomore album, Jazz Times concluded, “Be Good signals the arrival of a great jazz artist with long-range staying power.”
Highlights of Porter’s extensive 2013 tour include performances scheduled in Canada, Japan, Indonesia and Brazil and at many prominent jazz festivals throughout the world, including the Newport, Playboy, Monterey, San Francisco, Cape Town and Johannesburg Jazz Festivals
Really! Kenny G and Michael Bolton aren’t jazz artists, Ruth. They’re two of the four horsemen of the freaking apocalypse!
I hope that list is a joke. Kenny G? Michael Bolton? Did April Fool’s Day come early this year?
Danny, Can you get some head liners like: Kenny G, Boney James, KEM, Michael Bolton, Peabo Bryson, Charlie Wilson, Jill Scott, Erkyah Badah, and Anita Baker.
How about Gordon Godwin’s big phat band?
Saxophone Sensation RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA Returns for 2013 Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival
Few musicians share the ability of saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa to embody the expansive possibilities of his music with his culture. Time and again, Mahanthappa has eloquently displayed the capacity to absorb numerous styles and genres of music, combine them with the language of modern jazz, and emerge with a new form still recognizably jazz.
What has materialized is a sound that hybridizes progressive jazz and South Indian classical music in a fluid and forward-looking form that reflects Mahanthappa’s own experience growing up a second-generation Indian-American. Just as his personal experience is never wholly lived on one side of the hyphenate or the other, his music speaks in a voice dedicated to forging a new path forward.
The manifestations of that trajectory include the latest version of his quartet setting, currently named Gamak, and now featuring guitarist David “Fuze” Fiuczynski, whose own microtonal vocabulary has opened new possibilities for Mahanthappa’s compositional imagination. Gamak, which includes bassist Francois Moutin and drummer Dan Weiss, has recently issued a new release (January 2013) which kicks off an extended period of live performances for the band.
Mahanthappa has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and commissions from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, Chamber Music America and the American Composers Forum. He has been named alto saxophonist of the year in Downbeat’s 2011 & 2012 International Critics Polls and for four years running by the Jazz Journalists’ Association (2009-2012).
These impressive accolades, as well as critical praise from such influential outlets as NPR, the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice and the New Yorker, spotlight Mahanthappa’s expanding role as a pioneer in the contemporary jazz world.
Mahanthappa last appeared at the Festival in 2011 as part of Jack DeJohnette’s All-Star Band.
I loved the lineup last year. Hiromi was 100x better than I’d anticipated. Chris Botti was awesome too. I’ve seen lots of requests over the years for Frankie Beverly & Maze & think they’d be great. How about Erykah Badu or Jill Scott? There’s some great talent coming out of the far east, Kaori Kobayashi (sax) and Chihiro Yamanaka (piano) are a few great acts that come to mind, Eldar would be another great piano act to see! Conga great, Sammy Figueroa, Charlie Hunter and bassist, Avishai Cohen are also on my wish list. I’m sure you’re working on a great 2013 lineup… CAN’T WAIT!!!
As to your lineup requests: I second that emotion !
Can you bring any of the following: Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson; Joe Sample, Boney James; Jonathan Butler, Charlie Wilson or Gab Band; Norman Brown; Jeff Lober; Mindi Abair; Kirk Whalum; Rick Braun; Lee Ritenour; Four Play (Larry Carlton); Earl Klugh; Bob James; Marcus Miller; Gladys Knight; India Arie; George Benson; Valerie Simson; Stephenie Mills.
It will be nice to bring Saratoga Jazz back this year.
Please try to get: Gerald Clayton; Vijay Iyer with Marcus Gilmore;or Jonathan Batiste with the Stay Human Band
@Danny Melnick (producer)
Im okay if she brings Dr John with her to Saratoga!!
Please think about having Norman Brown, Ann Hampton Calloway, Boney James and Pieces of a Dream this year.
Looking forward to my 26th year with friends at Family at the JazzFest. Originally from Long Island,I now make the trip every year with my family from Ann Arbor MI. Snowy days like today I tend to daydream of warm gazebo afternoons!
Please, please, please, try to get Kem!!!
Leslie – go to spac.org and sign up for the email list there. DM
Would like to be placed on email list regarding events
My friend just told me about Donny, looking forward to seeing him!
Sarah Morrow is actually not going to be on the festival this year as she has been hired to be Dr. John’s band leader. We are thrilled for her and will have her back to the festival sometime in the future. We are announcing another artist today!
Hi Friends – This past Thursday we added the stunning tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin to our announced line-up. He has a very progressive jazz band a la Weather Report, and will perform on Sunday, Jun 30.
We’ve announced the sensational blues guitarist & singer, Chris Bergson, for the gazebo on Sunday, June 30. For those hundreds of people who loved Brian Mitchell these past two years, you will equally adore Chris. He’s amazing and so much fun! He’s playing at the Jazz Standard in NYC on Wed., Dec 26 and at MOMA on New Years Eve.
Live in northern ca. Planning n.y. trip for this festival