2014 Lineup

Saratoga Performing Arts Center exterior photo

The 2014 Festival took place on Saturday June 28th and Sunday June 29th, 2014 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY USA.


Saturday – June 28th

Check out the biographies for Saturday performers.

Gates opened at 10am.


  • noon - 1:00 ~ Robin McKelle and The Flytones
  • 1:20 - 2:20 ~ Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters
  • 2:45 - 3:50 ~ Jon Batiste and Stay Human
  • 4:15 - 5:20 ~ Mike Stern/Bill Evans Band featuring Steve Smith and Tom Kennedy
  • 5:40 - 6:45 ~ Terence Blanchard
  • 7:15 - 8:30 ~ Dr. Lonnie Smith Octet
  • 9:15 - ???? ~ Earth, Wind and Fire


  • 12:15 - 1:20 ~ Marc Cary Focus Trio
  • 1:40 - 2:45 ~ Lew Tabackin Trio
  • 3:10 - 4:15 ~ Mary Halvorson Trio with John Hebert and Ches Smith
  • 4:40 - 5:40 ~ Robin McKelle and The Flytones
  • 6:05 - 7:10 ~ Jaimeo Brown with JD Allen and Chris Sholar

Sunday – June 29th

Check out the biographies for Sunday performers.

Gates opened at 11am.


  • 12:30 - 1:30 ~ Quinn Sullivan
  • 1:50 - 3:00 ~ Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60, with Karrin Allyson, Anat Cohen, Randy Brecker, Mark Whitfield, Peter Martin, Larry Grenadier and Clarence Penn
  • 3:20 - 4:30 ~ Dave Holland Prism with Kevin Eubanks, Craig Taborn and Eric Harland
  • 5:00 - 6:15 ~ Patti Austin
  • 6:45 - 8:00 ~ Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra
  • 8:30 - ???? ~ Trombone Shorty


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

Take our poll: Who were your favorite performers?

See the results of our poll: Who are you most looking forward to seeing this year?

Beware: SPAC has a new policy, no professional cameras will be allowed in the amphitheater. The artists have requested this and the festival organizers have agreed. You can take pics with phones, or small point-and-shoot cameras, but nothing more sophisticated than that.

2014 Saratoga Jazz Festival Logo
SPAC exterior photo on this page licensed via CC-BY-SA-3.0/Matt H. Wade at Wikipedia.

128 replies on “2014 Lineup”

Can we try to get Snarky Puppy please, they will be performing in the area that weekend. Down to the Bone,

So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend Herb Chesbrough. I thank him for his apparent love of music and insight into this great jazz festival.

Check out Detroit for a “real” free Jazz festival, the lineup and programs they have every year are amazing. That being said the festival at Saratoga is wonderful, you don’t have to be a hard core Jazz addict, which I am by the way, to enjoy the great company plus the festive, picnic atmosphere at SPAC. Groups like Earth Wind & Fire are great entertainment which to me is the point, a great mix, from Lonnie Smith to Sean Jones to Warren Wolfe, Terence Blanchard, plenty of straight up Jazz balanced by EWF, Quinn Sullivan, Ronnie Earl etc. Being allowed to bring in your own food and drinks is a big plus. Nothing is perfect, it’s getting expensive, the picture policy this year was annoying but I look forward to 2015 !

@james y
Is there available shade? Have to confess that at age 67 I don’t find the late hours appealing. I will check it out for next year based on your recommendation.


Just got back from Hartford. Unbelievable. 20,000- 30,000 fans. That was a jazz festival.
75% of the people at Freihoffer’s wanted to see Earth, Wind and Fire. Love them, but that is not even jazz. More vendors in Hartford and a better venue. Music until 1:30am.

Too many known jazz artists to have a lineup like Freihoffer’s. They can do better and they know it.

I was just reading the ballet crowd wasnt happy with the state of the lawn this year. They seem to be blaming the Phish concert, but that lawn was in the worst shape I ever saw it this year for the jazz festival. Obviously the winter was not a good one, which I am sure contributed to it.

@james y
While the price of the Hartford festival is right , the lineup is hardly impressive. It’s really just nine acts spread out over three days. This year’s Saratoga lineup was solid but they’ve done better even in recent years. SPAC is still the best festival facility around despite this year’s staff, photo and sound volume foul ups.

This is my 6 festival and although I love the venue, the lineups leave a lot to be desired. The ticket prices continue to go up and the lineups are getting considerably worse. Going to Hartford this weekend Saturday acts (David Sanborn, Marion Meadows and Kim Waters) just to name a few. Oh, did I mention that it is FREE.

Danny, great festival once again! Thanks so much. And please ignore the comments about the music being too loud. For the past two years it has been delightful for us on the lawn. (The amphitheater is a nightmare unless there are lots of people.) For so many years we had a running complaint about how it usually took far too long for anyone in the venue to remember that there were paying customers on the lawn, dying to hear the great music. If anything, the only issue I had with sound this year was that Quinn Sullivan could be heard from the Gazebo (over an entirely unmemorable Patty Austin). I’ll also echo others’ complaints about security (and send a note to SPAC).

Friends – thanks so much for your comments. While I am a full partner with SPAC, the ushers and security staff is under their domain. Please send these comments to Lisa Hill at SPAC – lhill@spac.org and she will get them to the proper administrators there.

All my best – DM

Rudy, the ushers were totally amped up, especially on Sunday. I had a seat in the pit right next to the usher’s chair. There were two ushers there together and I heard most of their conversation between acts. A woman put a drink on the stage as she was sitting in her chair and before she could settle in and remove it, one of the ushers was accosting her. This, by the way, between acts. I heard them discuss a photographer who entered the pit area at the opposite entrance. Observing his large camera, one usher suggested they check the photographer out even though they just observed him pass by the usher check point at the other entrance. On Saturday, early in the day, when few seats were filled, the ushers allowed me to leave the pit where no photography was allowed and sit in the first row for five minutes twice and shoot. The next day I did the same thing for the first act when a supervisor type woman approached me waiving a typed piece of paper with pen cross outs at me. She advised that the photo policy of allowing small cameras in the seats had been changed and that no photography was permitted except at the very back of the amphitheater. Meanwhile the music from the amphitheater was consistently too loud both days and for two acts at the gazebo, McKelle and Sullivan, it was hideously loud so that the bleeding of sound interfered with hearing music from the amphitheater. Perhaps, a little more concentration on providing a better musical service and a little less security effort. In thirty one years this is the first time I’ve ever complained about the sound or the staff.

Chuck :
@Danny Melnick (producer)
What a great festival except for all that crummy weather! Thanks for a great festival. Thought Earl, Palmieri, Blanchard and McKelle were the best. I hope you will accept some constructive criticism. Our group who sit at the top of the hill by the rotunda area thought the music was too loud. At one point a member of our group said, “I don’t remember having to yell to be heard”. Second, the hyper restrictive and schizophrenic (it changed for the worse as the festival progressed) photo policy was annoying to those of us who like to shoot. Third, one of the ushers was very rude to a member of our group. Around 11:00 A.M. on Sunday morning one of our guys ambled down to the amphitheater and was barked at by one of the ushers or other staff. Rather than a polite request to wait until 11:30 to enter the stage area, he was told “You can’t come in an here, get off the concrete, no one is allowed in until 11:30!” This was done in an aggressive and totally unnecessary manner. Please review the photo policy. You should be accommodating the patrons over performer preferences whenever possible. We are providing their income. Thanks again and see you next year.

@ Danny Melnick. Great festival again. However, I found the ushers to be consistently rude. I am a press photographer and had to show my badge more than once for most sessions at the amphitheater, many times in a less than polite manner. The restrictions on taking photos made it difficult for us in the press to cover the festival. Shooting from the corners makes it difficult to cover many of the large ensembles on site this year. Note that one of the photographers from the local newspapers left the venue in total frustration. You should know that the resources at the local newspapers are extremely limited. It is rare that they send out a photographer for a local event. I was equally unhappy when a couple was enjoying Eddie Palmieri by dancing in a corner of the amphitheater was told to move and the blame was placed on me!!!! Some sort of accommodation should be made to please all. SPAC should understand we are not a rock festival yet not a classical concert so patrons do not remain in their seats but will get up and enjoy themselves without causing a ruckus!!!

Thank you for putting on a great festival, with a fantastic diverse line up. As a long time attendee I was disappointed to find out that inside seats were being sold for the same price as lawn tickets at the box office Friday and Saturday. It is not fair to the people who bought their tickets in advance. I agree that there were numerous sound issues which seems to happen every year. We did leave our inside seats during the Eddie Palmieri set because it was just too loud. All the gazebo acts were really good, and you always find the hidden talents which make the festival so enjoyable. Ronnie Earl, Mike Stern, E.W.F., Dave Holland and Kevin Eubanks really put on great sets. Wish list for next year…bring back Pieces of a Dream!

I completely agree with you. Saratoga is more like a true Jazz Fest & Capital is an R&B Fest with some jazz.

@Danny Melnick (producer)
What a great festival except for all that crummy weather! Thanks for a great festival. Thought Earl, Palmieri, Blanchard and McKelle were the best. I hope you will accept some constructive criticism. Our group who sit at the top of the hill by the rotunda area thought the music was too loud. At one point a member of our group said, “I don’t remember having to yell to be heard”. Second, the hyper restrictive and schizophrenic (it changed for the worse as the festival progressed) photo policy was annoying to those of us who like to shoot. Third, one of the ushers was very rude to a member of our group. Around 11:00 A.M. on Sunday morning one of our guys ambled down to the amphitheater and was barked at by one of the ushers or other staff. Rather than a polite request to wait until 11:30 to enter the stage area, he was told “You can’t come in an here, get off the concrete, no one is allowed in until 11:30!” This was done in an aggressive and totally unnecessary manner. Please review the photo policy. You should be accommodating the patrons over performer preferences whenever possible. We are providing their income. Thanks again and see you next year.

Whew! I am tired!!! But happy too! What a great weekend. 2015 dates are June 27-28.

Take care everyone. DM

Can’t believe it is over already. Thanks Danny for another great year.

Was next years dates announced?

What a great opener! Great energy to get it started, add perfect weather and anyone that is not here needs to get here right away.

Isn’t it curious that the set times are available yet the SPAC Jazz Fest web site hasn’t bothered to post them?

SPAC has a new policy – no professional cameras allowed in the amphitheater. The artist’s have requested this and we are agreeing. You can take pics with iphones, or small point-and-shoot cameras but nothing more than that. DM

I noticed that too! Ronnie’s a “trip” and it actually made me laugh. I’ll see if he remembers once he arrives at SPAC! DM

@Danny Melnick (producer)
Ronnie Earl indicated that he had never been at Saratoga before. I suppose he can be forgiven for forgetting that he opened the festival on the main stage in 1997. He may have forgotten but I haven’t. It was a scorching set and I’ve been a fan ever since.

The 18th annual Jazz Journalists Association award ceremony was held in NYC on Wednesday and three of our artists won awards on their respective instruments:

Terence Blanchard – trumpeter of the year
Dr. Lonnie Smith – keyboardist of the year
Anat Cohen – clarinetist of the year

Congratulations to them and all the winner (and nominees) and we look forward to seeing and hearing them in only TWO WEEKS! – DM

Is there a timeframe for the start times being posted? Im just curious, not being annoying, I hope!


My favorite is “Colour of Love.”

I think his band will be all instrumental but I’m not 100% sure yet. DM

Nice update adding the biographies.

The countdown is on, I’m looking forward to this years lineup.

I am thrilled that finally Dr. Lonnie Smith will be playing SPAC. Those in the know, has missed him here. The wait is over. I can’t wait until, Thank you SPAC JAZZ

Listening to some Warren Wolf out on the patio… can’t wait to see his group at the Gazebo..

Hi Barb – thanks for your interest in the festival. I am the producer and we’d love to have you with us!!! We have a full bar there too so don’t worry too much about your wine!!! 😉

All my best – Danny Melnick

Most folks set up on the lawn despite having underneath seats. It’s a wonderful picnic and offers a change of pace for those hard seats. Coolers are allowed for jazz fest. I guess you have to go with box wine or transfer some from bottles to a plastic container. Parking is near the grounds. Best bet is the Route 50 side of the park. The earlier you come the closer you will be able to park. Gates open at 10 AM on Saturday and 11 AM on Sunday. People line up somewhat earlier. The earlier you enter the better the spot you will get, depending on your requirements. The choice spots in the shade and by the gazebo go early. But no matter what time you arrive, you will find a lawn spot. Many people cart their gear in on wagons and travel totes.


Chuck – appreciate the comments and suggestions. A couple of things. So you are saying I should buy seats – any seats – but sit on the lawn, right?

All the information on the website says no coolers. Goodies I understand, and since glass is not allowed, how would we get wine in?

Lastly, how far is the parking lot from the lawn (for carrying all this stuff!)

Thanks again!

One more thing Barb. I’m 67 and this will be my 31st consecutive year at the festival. You’ll fit right in. Welcome aboard.

Barb, the lawn is great if the weather holds. Most people spend more time on the lawn than in the amphitheater. But I recommend that you buy underneath seats just in case the weather gets harsh. You will be glad you spent the extra money if we get a thunder shower. Bring a tarp, chairs and a cooler of goodies (no glass) and set up shop. It’s a very relaxed and mature scene, especially by music festival standards. Chuck.

We are interested in coming to Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival 2014 (anniversary surprise). This will be our first time at the event and there are very few seats left and only good ones seem to be through brokers. Since we have never been, are lawn seats any good or would I be better off buying through a broker? We are late 40’s with no kids coming. Thanks for your help and any information you could give me would be great!

Greetings from JazzFest in New Orleans. Incredible music, food, weather etc. It’s such an inspirational place in so many ways and my home away from home. I hope y’all have a chance to visit sometime (or return) soon.

Dr Lonnie Smith is smokin’ up the JazzTent now and I can’t for his set in Saratoga on June 28. See you there. Danny

Lineup “degrading” the past few years? I might concede that last year’s lineup wasn’t near the top of all the jazz festivals I’ve attended since 1978. It was okay, not great. I might even concede that about the 2011 lineup, but the 2012 lineup proved to be excellent with each act stepping up to the task of honoring the 35th year of the Newport/Kool Jazz/Freihofer festival at SPAC.

Apples and oranges Joe! Saratoga is a Jazz Festival. My impression of Capitol Jazz is that it is an R&B/Pop Festival with a few jazz artists along for the ride. Of the 23 acts at Capitol Jazz 15 clearly fit within the R&B/Pop genre (Erika Badu, John Legend, Chaka Kahn, Brand New Heavies, Klymaxx, Dwele, Regina Belle, Kem, Incognito, Ojays, Faith Evans, Peabo Bryson, Joe, Loose Ends and Marcus Johnson). Of the remaining eight acts only five fit squarely in the jazz category (Rick Braun, Dianne Reeves, Michael Franks, Jeff Lorber and Keiko Matsui). The remaining three walk a line: Down To the Bone is a groove band in my book; Rachelle Ferrell is a great jazz singer but for this fest she’ll probably break out her soul catalogue; the Al Jarreau/Stanley Clarke George Duke tribute will probably tiptoe that smooth jazz/soul line.) Nonetheless many of these artists have appeared at Saratoga (Belle, Ojays, Jarreau, Clarke, Reeves, Franks, Ferrell, Matsui).

Can you specify what acts you would like to see Joe? Trombone Shorty is a burgeoning superstar, Earth Wind and Fire are a fairly popular act. I have to imagine there are budgetary restraints that factor into the booking for the festival. Ive been going to the festival for almost 30 years. it has evolved over the years. But I feel like this is solid lineup being presented here.

I have been going to Sarartoga Jazz for more than 25 years, but the past 5-6 years, the lineup has been degrading almost every year. Can something be done about it? Attract new crowd. Check the lineup for CaptoL Jazz you will see what I am implying to. You don’t have to bring the whole lot of popular artits, but 3-4 will do.

In response to my and my cousin’s repeated complaints about the sound and lighting, the executive director of “The Space” called me yesterday. He indicated that the artists had overruled their sound and lighting preferences at many of the shows. He further indicated that they would make every effort in the future to get greater control over sound and lighting. He said that he also had to wear ear plugs for the Trombone Shorty show. So it’s good to know that the festival keeps control of those issues rather than the performers. I’ve never had any complaints regarding sound and lighting at SPAC.

I can’t comment on Shorty’s show at the moment but I have been to The Space a few times myself and love it. I have experienced nothing but great sound, lights, etc. It’s all about how the artist’s production team can “control” the situation. We don’t allow that at the festival but it happens at venues a lot. DM

Bad news from America! Saw Trombone Shorty last night and it sucked. The old Shorty is gone. That New Orleans/modern jazz Creole that he played with great virtuosity has been replaced by a hard driving rock and roll show. It’s over based, over drummed and repetitive. The guitar screaming is annoying. The two saxes are nothing but fill, and overrun at that, by the relentless rhythm section. Every song sounded the same until near the end when he did “St. James Infirmary” and another New Orleans classic. But even they were tainted by the rock approach. In the effort to become a national act, Shorty has surrendered what made him unique. He still is super talented but it rides on the crest of the noise machine that his act is now. Saw the show at the new venue The Space at Westbury which is a nice plant but is run by nincompoops. Been there four times now and the volume is hideously loud no matter what the act. The lighting is the worst I’ve ever seen. No backdrop, full stage under lit and then the subjects over spot lit. So beware, the Trombone Short of two years ago is not what is closing the festival this year. Oh yeah, bring your ear plugs.

I think the overall SPAC plant is excellent. The grounds are beautiful and offer a significant amount of shade. The festival is rarely overcrowded other than the area near the Gazebo. And even that crowding actually offers an ambiance that enhances that stage. Therefore the two biggest problems of most festivals, including Newport, sun and overcrowding are generally solvable at SPAC. Also the parking is adequate and close by. The agony of dragging your junk in and out by shuttle bus at many festivals, including Newport, is not required. Also our group loves the ability to bring in coolers with drink and food. Further, the town is nearby making the drive to and from its many Inns, hotels and motels easy.

True, the screens are not effective in sunlight, but I do not find this a significant negative. The sound on the lawn is excellent. I agree that the sound in the Amphitheater is problematical when not crowded. I tend to spend most of the day outside on the lawn and tend to be in the Amphitheater later when it is more crowded and the sound is better. The indoor plumbing facilities are adequate and something not easily and adequately available at many festivals. The covered amphitheater provides protection against bad weather. There is a significant but not oppressive security presence. The festival is generally run on time and is quite orderly. Compare this to the chaos of Jazz Fest in New Orleans. Finally, the beautiful Saratoga crowd generally sets a very high standard in performance courtesy.

Dave Holland group will be very interesting, as will Tim Berne and Snake Oil. Wish this was comparable in any way to Newport Jazz Fest, but it isn’t. Facility is in need of upgrading. Video monitors are a joke, and the sound is uneven unless you’re in the front rows. That said, it’s close, and it is a good time. Merchandise is excellent.

Hi Friends – spring soon? I hope the time change this weekend helps. We have the Newport 60th band at the Jazz Standard through Saturday night and in Philly on Sunday night. They are stunning and so much fun. If you’re around NYC or Philly definitely try to check them out.

We have the young maestro, Warren Wolf, at the festival on Sunday, June 29. He filmed this concert at the Berklee College of Music last night. It’s amazing:


Tix on sale March 18 at spac.org.

Best – DM

@Tom Mc

Thank you Tom, Keith and Phil. Chuck – you & I could talk for hours! Whew.

We have received excellent response and I can’t wait for the music, sunshine, and food. Enough of this winter!

Also — I was with the Newport Now 60 band in Atlanta on Saturday for their tour opener and the band was sensational. They play Boston on Thursday night (I am here now), at the Jazz Standard club in NYC March 4-8 and in Philly on March 9. If anyone is in these areas please come and see this great band. They’ll be at the fest on Sunday, June 29 too (and in Newport on Aug 1).

All my best – DM

I think you did a terrific job, this lineup looks top notch to me. It certainly is not an easy task trying to please everyone with the lineup, and maintaining a budget. I think you sprinkled enough of everything to keep the crowd happy. Thank you!

The sure things would appear to be Shorty, Ronnie Earl and Karrin Allyson. I’m hopeful with Patti Austin and Robin McKelle. Hoping Eddie Palmieri can rock the house. Will have to see if a larger dose of Quinn Sullivan is palatable. I’ve seen John Batiste in a club setting. I hope he can carry the big room. I’ve also seen Sean Jones and he should be right for the Gazebo. Lonnie Smith can be good but I’ve seen him go off on some bizarre tangents also. I’m intrigued by Warren Wolf though vibes are not a favored instrument. Also interested to see Mary Halvorsen and hope she doesn’t get too scientific. Hoping Stern/Evans is melodic enough to be entertaining. Dave Holland has bored me in the past but he does have the great Eric Harland on the drums. Listening to Melissa Aldana on line left me flat but she also has a great drummer in Francisco Mela. Terrance Blanchard usually does nothing for me but who knows, maybe this time. Tim Berne could be a science project but I’ll check it out anyway. Lew Tabackin has bored me in the past and I don’t know much about Cary and Brown. Hoping for the best. A nice varied lineup, just what you want in a festival. Some old favorites, some new hopefuls and some experiments. Now it’s all about the weather.

I might have to go the whole weekend this year! Fantastic lineup for both days!! Congratulations for booking these acts!

John Coltrane, Roland Kirk, Charlie Parker have all departed this mortal coil, but Ornette Coleman and Little Jimmy Scott are still with us! And would love to see John Zorn, if for no other reason, than to set the twilight reeling.

We are announcing the complete festival line-up in Sunday’s Albany Times Union (and online, of course). Let the games begin! (Or is that in Sochi?)

Best – DM

Looks like a young guitarist who brought down the house last year at the fesitval has leaked it on his website as June 29th Friehofers Jazz Festival Saratoga.

Dan..last year was the worst festival music in the 35 years i have gone..way too avant-garde and unmelodic..just not festival music for a beautiful afternoon

Milo Z and the ZFunk / Jazz Band from NYC perfect for the Gazebo. They have played at the Parting Glass Pub and would energize SPAC. This is our 26th consecutive year. Great Line-up so far this year Danny. Looking forward to Lonnie Smith, Warren Wolf & Sean Jones. Always like a BLUES band thrown in, or some FUNK to mix it up. THANKS !!!

Jeff Antoniuk is a wonderful sax player from Maryland. He and his group would be the perfect Gazebo Stage act. I attended one of his summer workshops a few years ago and was very impressed with him and his staff (comprised of his band members and others). Check him out at jazzupdate dot com

Why not some latin jazz? Check out Ray Vega the trumpet player – a north country (VT) heavy weight. I see you are bringing in Lew Tabackin. I remember him from the early 70’s and is a fantastic woodwind musician. Good to see you’re bringing in some good folks. This year I’ll be there.

I see Renee Marie, Pharaoh Sanders and the dreadful Al Jarreau are performing at Jazzfest in New Orleans. Freihofer’s has had performers who played that same fest in the same year. Renee Marie is good but she has an Eartha Kitt tribute disk out that I find the material and style wanting. Pharaoh Sanders’ performances can turn into science projects. Al Jarreau who was once excellent hasn’t sung a melody in two decades. It’s just that rhythmic baby talk junk that you get from him now. Hopefully we will do better.

Need some upbeat New Orleans jazz. How about Harry Connick Jr one year? Some young talents such as Dani Elliot (gazebo stage)?

Need some pizazz, I have been going since the 80’s and it has become too mellow.
How about reaching out to Bob Baldwin-Marcus Johnson-Peter White-Brian Culbertson-Boney James-

Danny………..Bring back Trombone Shorty.

just saw him at the Egg……..he was great but that isn’t the best venue to see him.

he was the highlight of the 2012 show and took many in Saratoga by surprise

We’re newcomers to the festival. This will be only our 3rd year. Wish we had attended every one! Not knowing which Canadian content (except Diana) you’ve had in the past perhaps some blues with Canada’s first lady of the Blues – Shakura S’Aida! Check her out. She travels quite a bit with B3 organ player Lance Anderson. She’s going to performing a tribute to the music of Ray Charles in March in Toronto with a fantastic lineup of Toronto musicians.

I have to say looking back, I think the best festival was in 1982. Pieces of a Dream opened up the day and there were Buddy Rich, Ella, George Benson, Jerry Mulligan, Ron Carter and Bobby McFerron. What a day!!

Miriam, I cannot agree with you more. I have loved Basia for years and would love to hear her in concert. I have not been disappointed the passed decade and I have bought and enjoyed the performers including Dave Brubeck, Anat Cohen, Chris Botti, Gerald Albright and others including the mind blowing singer, Dee Dee Bridgewater. I can’t wait until June!

As a travel agent who organizes large groups for hotel stays for this event, clients want to see more smooth jazz performers as well as traditional groups.
Please try to arrange this and you might see complete sell out !

Happy New Year friends – we are announcing a very exciting artist on Thursday. One that I believe will be a star in just a few years.

Meanwhile, last year, we presented The Cookers. The amazing hard-bop/be-bop all-star band. The bassist, Dwayne Burno, passed away during the holidays of kidney disease. He was only 43 and leaves behind his wife and 7 year-old son. The jazz community has set-up a fundraising page for them here:


All my best – DM

Would love to see Nancy Wilson, Kirk Whalum, Najee, Brian Cullberson (?), Randi Crawford, just to name a few.


I am also a huge Basia fan! It would be so great to see her and her band at the festival!
Jeff Lorber
Joe Sample
Freddie Ravel
The Rippingtons

I so agree with you Tom! It may be cold outside, but all I do is count the days until I’m at the festival in the warm sun! And I also LOVED Trombone Shorty!

How about giving your audiences the excitement of incredible young B3 player, Kevin Coelho
My other wish favorites are Nancy Harms and Cecile McLorin Salvant. Wishes are good..
Great festival in every way.!

Hi Friends – I am 99% done booking the festival already! I can say that some of the names included in the last 3-4 posts will be at the festival in June! We are going to start rolling out the names soon. Re: Karrin Allyson – she is going to be there on Sunday as part of an international tour I am producing called “Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60.” It is an all-star band celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival, which will be Aug 1-3 (I am the associate producer in Newport). The band is Karrin, Anat Cohen, Randy Brecker, Mark Whitfield, Peter Martin, Larry Grenadier and Clarence Penn. They will play throughout the US in March & April. Tour dates are here: http://www.absolutelylive.net/upcoming-events

Best – DM

How about Dr Lonnie Smith ? I guess it will always be a case of so much wonderful music how does one possibly narrow it down ? All I know is that as we head into a cold winter I dream of sitting at the gazebo in the hot sun with a cooler 🙂 Trombone Shorty was thrilling a couple of years ago

I also have a few comments which would be nice to add to your list:

*Candy Dulfer
*Joyce Cooling
*Jeff Kashiwa
*Norman Brown
Just a few that would be a nice mix. Thanks

Hey Dan. Wishing you all the best this holiday season. Thanks for bringing Arturo back last year. Personally, I think Buddy Guy’s performance was the best of the weekend. I’d never heard Donny McCaslin before & was impressed. I loved Fabian Almazan at the gazebo as well. I know you’re almost fully booked up for ’14, but I’ve submit a “wish list” on this forum over the last few years, and it is almost Christmas. Here it goes:
1) Etienne Charles
2.) Kendrick Scott
3.) Chicho Valdes
4.) Sammy Figueroa
You always do a great job putting together a solid show. I’m looking forward to seeing the 2014 lineup.

@Danny Melnick (producer)

Hi Friends – Remember, we had the Mingus Big Band in 2012. I am very busy booking the festival and about 75% done already. We’ll be announcing some artists rather soon at spac.org and on my website, etc. (absolutelylive.net) I’ll post info here as well.

Hope everyone is doing well as we head into the holiday season.

Best – DM

Right you are Tom. The last truly Big Band was Sunday in ’09 when George Benson did a Nat King Cole tribute show with a 28 piece orchestra. Personally not a huge big band fan but always like to see variety. I love Brazilian jazz and would love to see Ivan Lins, Gal Costa, Vinicius Cantuaria, Rosa Passos not to mention to mention the huge Caetano Veloso. While I’m at it Patricia Barber and Dena DeRose are great. It may be that the Big Bands are big budget busters plus the set up and take down times are likely lenghty and labor intensive.

Really hoping to see a Big Band at the Festival this year. Back in 1987 I saw my first Big Band ever at the Festival, The Charlie Watts Orchestra.I was 22 at the time and I never forgot that.Please consider it. All sorts of Jazz is represtented, please include a Big Band in that!