2016 Lineup

Saratoga Performing Arts Center exterior photo

The 2016 Festival took place on Saturday June 25th and Sunday June 26th, 2016 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY USA.

The 2017 Festival will take place on Saturday June 24th and Sunday June 25th, 2017. Chaka Khan is already signed to headline Saturday night!

Saturday Lineup – June 25th


  •  noon -  1:00 ~ Eric Lindell (also appearing on the Gazebo Stage)
  •  1:20 -  2:20 ~ Joey Alexander Trio
  •  2:45 -  3:45 ~ Pieces Of A Dream 40th Anniversary Tour
  •  4:10 -  5:15 ~ Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah presents Stretch Music
  •  5:40 -  6:40 ~ Shemekia Copeland
  •  7:10 -  8:25 ~ Steps Ahead Reunion
    • featuring Michael Mainieri, George Garzone, Eliane Elias, Marc Johnson & Billy Kilson
    • Listen on Spotify
  •  9:10 - close ~ The Isley Brothers featuring Ronald and Ernie Isley
    • Chaka Khan was previously scheduled to perform, but is unable due to a throat infection. She will headline the 2017 40th Anniversary Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival on Saturday, June 24, 2017


  • 12:15 -  1:20 ~ Elio Villafranca
  •  1:40 -  2:45 ~ Vincent Herring & The Kings of Swing
  •  3:05 -  4:10 ~ Karrin Allyson Sings Rodgers & Hammerstein
  •  4:35 -  5:40 ~ Eric Lindell (also appearing on the Main Stage)
  •  6:00 -  7:05 ~ Jamison Ross

Sunday Lineup – June 26th



  • 12:10 -  1:10 ~ Aaron Diehl Trio
  •  1:30 -  2:30 ~ Alicia Olatuja
  •  2:50 -  3:50 ~ LaFayette Suite
  •  4:10 -  5:10 ~ Bria Skonberg Quintet (also appearing on the Main Stage)
  •  5:35 -  6:45 ~ Jarrod Lawson


If you attended the festival, vote now in our poll: who was your favorite 2016 performer.

Thanks to Harvey Bernard Bloomfield for curating the streaming links thru Spotify so readers can preview some of the great music for no cost!

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

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

100 replies on “2016 Lineup”

Here’s hoping for another great season at SPAC… I would love to see Frankie Beverley And Maze again…Earth, wind and fire with Chicago …. KEM or Charlie Wilson ….

Happy and Healthy 2017 to everyone. We are announcing the festival late January and going on sale in early February. We are really looking forward to the 40th edition, only 170 days away!

All my best – DM

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, “Celebrating Ella: First Lady of Jazz” (with vocalists Kenny Washington and the wonderful Roberta Gambarini) sounds like a viable Freihofer slot.

Ah yes, Jack Broadbent. He’s astonishing!

We announced today that we are now offering a “FLEX” Ticket option for the lawn and it is available now through Dec 22. You can buy a $50 One Day Lawn Ticket (Reg. $65) with NO FEES! – Good for either day at the jazz festival. So you can buy tickets now and use them on both days, or all on one day, etc.


Best DM

Pollstar is reporting JACK BROADBENT for Saturday 2017. He appears to be a slide guitar and singing busker if I found the right guy online.

Hi Friends – It’s been a while. I hope everyone is well. We’ve had a heck of year, for many reasons, and we’ve lost a lot of amazing musicians – David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, Mose Allison, Bob Cranshaw, Victor Bailey and many others. We lost the incredible Sharon Jones last night. She graced our stage in 2011 and was a powerhouse singer and performer.

We are gearing up for the 40th festival on June 24 & 25 and have booked most of the artists already. We are working on the promotion, on sale date and many other things and counting down the days (217 from today) until we’re all together again celebrating life, love, art and music.

more soon — all my best – DM

Yes, Lou, will you be performing or are you going to be doing cruise ships, since you know it’s a good time to be doing that…. 🙂

It was sad to learn today that for Chaka Khan that her cancellation was more than a throat infection

Chaka Khan Enters Rehab for Prescription Drug Abuse and Prince’s Death Spurred Her to Seek Help

It good that she handling this situation and we wish all the best and see here next year at SPAC 2017

With the 40th Birthday of SPAC Jazz coming its time to look back all the years line up and reflect on all those who performed and the many who are not with us any more but their music lives on.

SPAC Jazz Year 2

Performances on Saturday, 6/30/1979

– Battle of the Saxophones
– Carmen McRae and Her Trio
– Charles Rouse & Dom Salvadore with Cinnamon Flower
– Dave Brubeck Quartet
– Fats Domino Band
– Grover Washington Jr.
– Lonnie Liston Smith and the Cosmic Echoes
– Machito and his Afro-Cuban Band
– Muddy Waters Blues Band with Johnny Winter

Performances on Sunday, 7/1/1979

– B. B. King’s Blues Band
– Betty Carter and her Trio
– Chuck Israels & His National Jazz Foundation Ensemble
– David Friesen Trio
– Gerry Mulligan Big Band
– Lionel Hampton and his All Star Orchestra
– Ronnie Laws
– The Famous Jam Session
– Willie Bobo and His New Group, Bobo

Danny Great show for 2016 thank you. I would like to suggest for 2017 Vinx, Fourplay ,Keb Moe.
Earl klugh,Lee Rienour,Sade,Jean Luc Ponty, Thank you for all your work see you next year.

Hi Everyone – sitting here watching the rain fall and wondering if they’ll be OK tonight for the Phish concert at SPAC! It rained like mad on Monday and I kept thinking how lucky we were all weekend!

We had a fabulous time producing the festival and hope y’all who were there had a great time. Sure seemed so. And if you weren’t there…. what were you thinking?

As noted above – the 40th festival will be June 24 & 25, 2017 and Chaka has already been contracted to perform on June 24. I have my lists, looking at yours, seeing what’s happening out there through the summer and fall and will do everything I can to curate a special line-up for the 40th. It’s also the 100th year of the word “Jazz” and the centennial celebrations for Dizzy, Ella, Monk, Buddy Rich, Lena Horne, Mongo Santamaria and others. Whew.

On to Newport in a few weeks. Hope you all have a wonderful summer and stay in touch.

Best – Danny

With the 40th Birthday of SPAC Jazz coming its time to look back all the years line up and reflect on all those who performed and the many who are not with us any more but their music lives on.

SPAC Jazz Year 1

Performances on Saturday, 7/1/1978

– Al Jarreau
– Chick Corea
– Dee Dee Bridgewater
– Dexter Gordon
– Dizzy Gillespie
– Gary Burton
– George Benson
– Herbie Hancock
– Jean-Luc Ponty
– John Lewis
– Roy Hargrove
– Roy Haynes
– Sonny Rollins
– Tony Williams

Performances on Sunday, 7/2/1978

– Buddy Rich & the Buddy Rich Orchestra
– Count Basie and His Orchestra
– Grover Washington Jr.
– Maynard Ferguson and His Orchestra
– Mercer Ellington & the Duke Ellington Orchestra
– Stan Kenton & his Orchestra
– Thad Jones /Mel Lewis Orchestra
– The NY Jazz Repertory Company
– Woody Herman and the Young Thundering Herd
– Zazuzaz

Chuck I apologize You are right but I never thought of it that way
Spain is Chick version with a intro from the Concerto And Of course that Jim Hall lp/cd is a master
Here the Wiki on

Spain is an instrumental jazz fusion composition by jazz pianist and composer Chick Corea. It is probably Corea’s most recognized piece, and some[who?] would consider it a modern jazz standard.

Spain was composed in 1971 and appeared in its original (and most well-known) rendition on the album Light as a Feather, with performances by Corea (Rhodes electric piano), Airto Moreira (drums), Flora Purim (vocals and percussion), Stanley Clarke (bass), and Joe Farrell (flute). It has been recorded in several versions, by Corea himself as well as by other artists, including a flamenco version by Paco de Lucia and John McLaughlin in the 1980s, and a progressive bluegrass version by Bela Fleck in 1979. More recently, Corea has performed it as a duo with Japanese pianist Hiromi Uehara.

The Light as a Feather version of Spain received two Grammy nominations, for Best Instrumental Arrangement and for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance by a Group. In 2001, Corea was awarded the Best Instrumental Arrangement Grammy for “Spain for Sextet and Orchestra”.

Corea opens the Light as a Feather version of Spain with the adagio from Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez. After the intro, the song switches to a fast, steady samba-like rhythm, in which the main theme and an improvisation part are repeated. At the break, the listener is required to clap along to the beat.

The chord progression used during the improvisation part is based on harmonic progressions in Rodrigo’s concerto. It runs as follows:

Gmaj7 F#7 Em7 A7 Dmaj7 (Gmaj7) C#7 F#7 Bm B7
In line with jazz philosophy, other interpretations of the song are structured differently and some might only retain the main theme or parts of it. In the Paco de Lucia and John McLaughlin version some chords are altered in parts, including the F#7 to F#7b9 or F#7aug and C#7 to C#7#9

@Harvey Bernard Bloomfield
Harvey, I just went to Utube and listened to several versions of “Spain” and then pulled out my Jim Hall and then back to Utube for comparison’s sake. The core melody of “Spain” is the introductory melody of “Concierto de Aranjuaz”. The piece was written by J. Rodrigo in 1939 before Chick was composing. So Chick can call it whatever he wants and I enjoyed it very much.

Danny for the 40th
We have figure that we have been to the Fest 37 of 39 since 1980 missing the first few years as we did not know about it(no internet) . If you are working to put together stuff from all the fest for a museum I have save the Original KOOL Newport Jazz Program Book and Brochure June 27- July 6 1980 Also the 1982 Brochure for both SPAC and New York
Note in 1980 it was $10 for Lawn and a extra 7.50 for seating
Artist OMG Benson Torme Dizzy Woods Coryell Hancock and so many more

Chuck I agree with most of what you said about this years line up. Afew comments
Chicks encore was SPAIN not Concerto but as with all Chick music he did a little different this time
This was for me his best trio in sometime with Blade and McBride outstanding. No electronics Thank god and including the audience in a vocalese was the 1st time I have seen that
Chick cover a Stevie Wonder tune and Bria mashed up Sir Duke with a 30’s number and to top it off hearing Smoky talk about all the hits he wrote for motown priceless. They should have Stevie as a headliner in 2017
As for Joey He is a prodigy and with that it can go many ways but for now I really enjoyed it and look like he is well grounded from his stage presence. Great weekend looking forward to next year HB

Saturday was one of the best days in recent memory. It’s been a decade since I was able to sit through two sets at the Gazebo. Karrin Allyson was my best of fest and right after that Eric Lindell’s almost completely different set from the main stage was my second favorite of the weekend. Sunday was too hot for me at the Gazebo but I managed to walk in just as Alicia Olatuja was doing Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature”. Speaking of covers, in 33 years I don’t think I ever heard a Neil Young song but two were covered this weekend, Lindell did “Cinnamon Girl” and I can’t remember the one that Liz Wright did. Also Joni Mitchell was covered twice by Allyson and Skonberg.

The New Orleans influence was very welcomed by our crowd who enjoyed residents Lindell and Cleary and the traditional stylings of Bria Skonberg. Got to see what all the fuss was about with Alexander, don’t think I’ve seen the Amphitheater that crowded that early ever. My question, if he was 23 would the attention be anywhere the same? One jazz geek I know and respect from the festival said it was genius and another answered my question by saying that if 23 he would have been playing the Gazebo.

I enjoyed Pat Martino much more than expected and even Chick Corea, who usually bores me, was terrific. We especially enjoyed the encore of “Concierto de Aranjuaz” which is one of our favorite pieces of music. The Jim Hall version is still the best in our book though the Miles take is also great. The only disappointment for me was Lizz Wright who’s set I described as 9 dirges and a blues. But overall, a great weekend in just about every way. Thanks to all who made it possible.

What about Fourplay, Richard Elliot, Rick Braun, David Sanborn, Boney James or Keiko Matsui for 2017

Day 2 Can it get any better YES from the youngest jazz pianist to the senior jazz pianist Chick,Christian and Brian put on a master class in jazz trio improv. who else but chick could get the audience vocalizing to SPAIN. Great performances by all artist but a shout out to Bria Skonberg for her two sets and Pat Martino. This was a well balanced 2 days looking forward to the 40th may if you can find a collage of all the t Shirts the festival produced. Danny one day off back to work for next year special occasion Much love

For the 2017 festival have you considered a 40th reunion band comprised of members of the Super Band that closed the Saturday show back in.1978? If so, who?

What a perfect 1st day weather perfect amd the performance thru out excellent from a discovery of Eric Lindell and the amazing performace of of Joey Alexander 13 yrs Can you imagine how his playing will evolve as he gets into old age at 20. All of the sets main stage had some thing to offer and a R&B history lesson from the Isleys. shout out to Jamison Ross with velet vocals and drumming. as well Karen Alyson Looking forward to day 2

I’ll be at SPAC in 20 hours! I’m really looking forward to this year’s festival! Looks like it will be a hot one, but that’s preferable to last year’s chilly rain.

Seems like it will get off to a strange start. Eric Lindell appears to be a blues rock act, and as such I am surprised to see the festival open with him on the main stage, but after that I am really looking forward to Saturday’s lineup. At first I thought Joey Alexander was kind of a gimmick, but after listening to him he sounds legit and it will be nice to see a piano trio on the main stage!

Saturday may be the stronger day, but Pat Martino and Chick Corea on Sunday should be great! And I am looking forward to checking out Aaron Diehl at the Gazebo.

Who’s with me this weekend? Sunshine, great music, positive vibes.

I’m psyched.

Have fun – Danny

Hi Friends – parking remains free for the jazz festival.

It’s been an interesting few days but I am so glad the Isley Brothers were available and were able to confirm the deal so quickly. I am really psyched to have them for the first time on the festival and I am also really glad Chaka agreed to confirm next year now. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and look forward to the hang next weekend. It’s ALL about the weather now! – Best DM

Can’t wait!! Sorry to hear about Chaka’s throat issues. Scary stuff for a singer. I heard from someone that attended a Live Nation event that SPAC is now charging $10 to park in the route 50 lots. Is that going to be the case for the festival? Seems like it would be difficult to manage with the length of the event and all the comings and goings. Also, just don’t like it.

That great start to Summer approaches! Two great closing artists that attract both Jazz and R&B fans plus artists there that I’ve wanted a chance to see perform like Shemekia Copeland and Christian Scott. Add to that what I always say: You never know who you might hear and discover you like. Once again look forward to getting to “The Hang.” Good for DM taking the helm at Newport; hope it doesn’t mean he’s letting Saratoga go.

some edits to Saturday’s program listed above:

Chaka Khan, 9:10-onward
Steps Ahead Reunion Featuring Michael Mainieri, George Garzone, Eliane Elias, Marc Johnson & Billy Kilson, 7:10-8:25

60 Minutes will rebroadcast the feature on Joey Alexander tomorrow (Sunday) night. We’ll celebrate his 13th birthday on Saturday, June 25. You have your tix yet?

3 weeks away! wha who! Best DM

Hey friends, WMHT is broadcasting a fabulous documentary on SPAC tonight and it’s also online. I saw it in a movie theater last night in Saratoga and it’s really inspiring. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Best DM

A month to go. That seemed like and extra long 11 months! Hears to the weather coperating this year!

Hi Danny,

Just want to say that you have put together a truly awesome line up for this year. Chaka Khan for Saturday night is AWESOME!! Congratulations and look forward to seeing you back stage.



Hi Friends – We just heard some news regarding Eric Lindell, the superb guitarist/singer/songwriter who will grace our stages on June 25. If you’re inclined to assist, or share this information, please do so.

Kay Chevalier Lindell (Baby K) named after his grandma “Millie Kay Chevalier” arrived on March 2nd at 3:30am via emergency C-section to the proud parents Eric and Sarah Lindell. Baby K immediately went on life support /ECMO and they repaired his congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Sarah was transferred by ambulance to a different hospital, because while she was under anesthesia, they noticed she had something wrong with her heart. When it rains it pours. Baby K has undergone another surgery and is healing quite well but has several more surgeries ahead of him. Sarah has been moved to a hospital room near him so she can be close by while they monitor her heart issues. Much time is being spent in the hospital in Colorado away from their home in Florida and we’re hoping we can help them out in anyway we can!!!


Hi friends, firstly thank you so much for the kind words on the promotion at Newport. Very excited about it and I’m looking forward to work with Christian McBride as well. I have secured a headliner for Saturday (!!) and we are announcing within the next week or so! We’ve just been gathering some other special things that we want to tell you about and we want to announce all of them at the same time. And, no, you are not losing me! I am honored and in love with Saratoga and this festival! Happy Spring Ahead. Where was winter? All my best DM


We saw Shemekia in a little club in Simsbury, CT, with her dad, years ago. She is the real deal. And she’s gotten better since then.

Just saw Shemekia Copeland in Hartford in Wadsworth Antheneum small venue….Get ready to be moved!!!

So it’s March, and still no Saturday headliner after “pretty soon” promises on 1/17 and then 2/13. Any news??

We have three Grammy winners on the festival! Eliane Elias with Steps Ahead Reunion, Christian McBride with Chick Corea, and Jon Cleary! And Joey Alexander played solo piano on the broadcast. So great! We’ll have him on his 13th birthday! DM

Jon Cleary, who will be with us on Sunday, June 26 just won a Grammy Award!! His new album, Go Go Juice, is amazing. DM

No no. Just tricky negotiations with numerous artists. We’ll be announcing soon. All is well. Best DM

Some great memories from the Gazebo over the past years: Pedrito Martinez, Gary Smullyan, Catherine Russell, Mike LeDonne Groover Quartet.

I think I can safely say that rap performance by Aretha’s son was the worst act i’ve seen in 30 years of going to the festival. I remember the look of disgust by everyone as they went streaming for the exits.
And I do recall the cooler smashing episode. I remember seeing the guy getting hauled off in a golf cart to parts unknown.

It was 1993. The only time Aretha performed on the festival. Appreciate everyone’s comments. Hope to have Sat night’s headliner resolved soon. You’d think we were negotiating an international trade deal or somethin’! Best DM

@Joel Chance
What year was that? I have this memory of it being a beautiful sunny idyllic nothing could be better nothing could go wrong kind of Saratoga afternoon. Jazz Fest and the beloved iconic Aretha and then the proud mom brings out her rapper son and his pals. The audience seemed stunned for a while. Then they stopped and it was like a headache cleared. Then Aretha said, “Want to here some more?” There was an audible lawn wide polite but negative groan. Then Aretha told the boys to continue. Not only rap but bad rap. When it came to an end it was like getting out of the dentist’s chair.

I think the lineup is looking great… can’t wait to see who the headliner will be also can’t wait to see Smokey Robinson

@Cool Whip
Aretha’s son… does anybody remember a drunken maniac smashing coolers into light posts along the main path. Boy that was bizarre. This was while Aretha’s son performed

Danny Year 27 for me. I have survived Rain Heat, Arthea Franklin’s son well that was a near death experience and of course the legndary MarshMellow Wars. Always the best weekend of my year. Cyrille Aimme @ Gazebo would not be a bad choice. Conrad Herwig would be great @ Gazebo or main stage. SF Jazz Collective closer main stage in your TBA slot. No matter I trust in you.

Great line- up how abt some Latin and Afro- Cuban Jazz. Ray Vega.Los Van van.Eddie Palmieri, Chico O”Farrill Mongo Santamaria, etc…I have going the fest back in the early70 when it was the Kool Jazz fest and they pass out cigarettes going over the walking bridge.Some hot salsa to put the people on the hill warm and on there feet.I will be there from Westpalmbeach,Florida

Lineups looking good. Aaron Diehl is the man. He’s going to knock people’s socks off. Please don’t schedule him against Martino or Corea as they will draw similar interests.

Karrin Allyson in the Gazebo? Wow … please don’t schedule here or Vincent Herring against Joey Alexander.

How about Cyrille Aimee to fill out that last gazebo spot on Sunday? She’s in Rochester the following Sunday and is terrific.

Great to see an (almost) complete lineup! Much earlier than last year, if I recall. Will the first night’s headliner be announced before tickets go on sale Tuesday?

Excellent! Eric Lindell is great, kind of a soul blues gumbo. John Cleary and Shamekia Copeland will fill out the blues component very well. Karrin Allyson at the gazebo will be special, pray for good weather. Well done Danny.

I have been going to the festival every year since 1980 and its my weekend away and I have been blessed to see so many great performers, Mel Torme, Jaco with Weather Report,and the day Jon Faddis blew Wynton Marsalis off the bandstand in in big band performance. This is my weekend away, there is always something to take away from these 2 days and your job is clearly not easy to please everyone. So my suggestion to all is just enjoy the days. I just realized that I saw Pieces Of A Dream very early in their career and they had a blown way performance at SPAC, and one day you will tell your kids I saw Joey Alexander when he was 12.

We are announcing the lineup on Sunday. All ticket information at Spac.org. Ticketmaster does not handle Jazz festival sales. DM

Are tickets on sale through the SPAC website or through Ticketmaster (or both)? Also, will more artists’ appearances be made public prior to the on-sale date? Thanks.

On the way to The Montreal Jazz Fest We could speculate about the following artists playing at SPAC

If this is just a taste we are going to have a great weekend
Jamison Ross is a new cat on the horizon
and the others are very well know.
When the list is completed I will provide links to there material streaming on either Spotify Or Apple Music

How about adding Charles Tolliver, Jimmy Owens, Ronnie Cuber, or Charles McPherson for Sunday? Get any one of those cats and I’m sold on that day.

How about Gladys Knight, Patti Labelle, Dianne Reeves, Christian Scott, Jeremy Pelt, Greg Osby, “Doc” Michael Woods, Robert Glasper, Jason Moran, Richard Bona

Terrance Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, or Mark Whitfield, Stefan Harris, Josh Redman

Esperanza Spaulding, or Renee Marie

Happy New Year friends – So things are heating up (not the weather), leaking out and being posted. It’s all good! I am 99% done booking the festival and have one last artist I’m negotiating with. Therefore I’m not gonna’ comment on your fine suggestions because I either booked them already, or didn’t! 😉

It’s 2016. The festival can no longer be discussed in terms of “next year.” We’ll be enjoying the 39th festival and the 50th summer season at SPAC soon enough. I can’t wait.

All my best regards and good wishes to everyone for a healthy, fun, and safe 2016. DM

Hey Dan, any chance on getting Kamasi Washington? Thanks again for putting together an awesome 2015 lineup!

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