The Roots Newport Jazz Fest

The Roots to headline Newport Jazz Festival!

Producer/Founder George Wein and Artistic Director Christian McBride announce the third wave of artists for the 2017 Newport Jazz Festival® presented by Natixis Global Asset Management, which takes place at Fort Adams State Park and the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino August 4 – 6.  Tickets are available at
“As this third wave of artists for the 2017 Newport Jazz Festival sweeps the shores of the Narragansett Bay, it feels like you might be in a tsunami; but you will not be drowning, you will be swimming in a sea of the finest traditional and contemporary jazz,” said Wein. “Having already seen the first two waves, which includes Maceo Parker, Snarky Puppy and Andra Day, here is wave three.”

Friday, August 4

*Naturally 7
*Joey DeFrancesco + The People
*Christian Sands Quartet with Gilad Hekselman,
Yasushi Nakamura &
Jerome Jennings
Saturday, August 5
*Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding
*Uri Caine Trio with Mark Helias & Clarence Penn
*David Torkanowsky, solo piano
Sunday, August 6
*The Roots
*Philadelphia Experiment: Questlove, Christian McBride, Uri Caine
*John Medeski, solo piano
“Headlining Sunday will be Jimmy Fallon’s cohorts The Roots, who never stop swinging. They will break it up Sunday and we believe it will be a sell-out concert,” said Wein.
McBride added, “Having Questlove and Black Thought at Newport will be amazing. We all graduated in 1989 from CAPA, the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, so it will be like going to a high school reunion.”
Outstanding trios have always been front and center at Newport, and this year also has some special offerings.
“A trio with Geri Allen and Terri Lyne Carrington brings Esperanza Spalding back to Newport for the first time in a few years,” said Wein. “I remember when Esperanza was there with the Newport All-Stars – after she sang one song, the newspapers hailed the next day that a new star had risen. It’s great to have Geri, Terri Lyne – whom I’ve known since she was 12 – and Esperanza with us in August.”
“Those amazing ladies always make great music, individually and as a group.  I heard them play at the Village Vanguard a year or two ago, and there’s no doubt, they are a true power trio,” said McBride.
Newport Jazz Festival has also presented some stellar vocal prowess as well, from Lambert, Hendricks & Ross to Bobby McFerrin, The Manhattan Transfer to Take Six. This year Naturally 7 makes its debut on the stage at Fort Adams.
“Naturally 7 is an a cappella vocal group that appeared at the Playboy Jazz Festival and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival last year. They are unique, and anyone who hears them will have an unforgettable experience,” said Wein.
Christian chimed in, “These guys make up one of the hottest, most creative vocal groups ever. It is going to be a thrill to have them in Newport. The first time I heard them live, I was floored.”
There’s always room to swing at the Newport Jazz Festival, and George Wein says that Joey DeFrancesco is his “favorite swinging organist along with his group, The People. Joey is the best at what he does.”
The high school reunion continues for McBride, who also graduated with DeFrancesco. “Like George says, Joey is a swinging organist and he will no doubt take us to a funky club and straight to church all on the Newport stage.”
“Christian McBride is always experimenting musically. Along with two friends, Questlove and Uri Caine, he has a group called the Philadelphia Experiment. I’m interested to see the results of this Experiment,” said Wein.
“There is going to be a double dose of Uri – with his own trio and with the Philadelphia Experiment. We don’t get to play together very often. Since our album was released back in 2001, we have only played together about five times, so we are greatly anticipating our set,” said Christian.
Christian Sands, whose trio has appeared at Newport, “brought back memories of Oscar Peterson, and this year his band has been augmented to a Quartet,” Wein reminisced.
McBride added, “Christian Sands is one of the most special musicians I have met. It was a joy to have him in my trio for five years. I look forward to seeing what he does as a band leader. It’s going to be a special journey to watch.”
Two years ago, the Newport Jazz Festival inaugurated Storyville as a fourth stage where individual artists can demonstrate their virtuosity in solo performance. Named after Wein’s former club in Boston, Newport’s Storyville, says Wein, “is a supreme success and we’re privileged to present John Medeski playing solo piano this year. John has appeared at Newport several times with Medeski, Martin & Wood, but I personally am interested in seeing what he’s doing when he’s alone at the piano.
“Another pianist who will appear at Storyville we’re bringing up from New Orleans, where I’ve known him for many years. He deserves to be at Newport, and we’re proud to welcome David Torkanowsky. Upon listening to him, you will hear a formidable jazz pianist,” commented Wein.
“I just played with David a week ago in New Orleans. He’s a great pianist, arranger, composer and a consummate and sublime musician. I haven’t heard John Medeski play solo, and I am really looking forward to hearing him in the intimate Storyville setting,” said McBride.
The partial Newport Jazz Festival lineup, including the first, second and third waves, features:
Friday, August 4 (Fort Adams)
*Béla Fleck & The Flecktones
*Maceo Parker
*Cécile McLorin Salvant
*Naturally 7
*Joey DeFrancesco + The People
*Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith
*Christian Sands Quartet with Gilad Hekselman, Yasushi Nakamura & Jerome Jennings
*One for All: Jim Rotondi, Steve Davis, Eric Alexander, David Hazeltine, John Webber & Joe Farnsworth
*Evan Christopher Clarinet Road & New Orleans Brass
*Rodriguez Brothers
Friday, August 4 (Tennis Hall of Fame)
*Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
*Rhiannon GiddensSaturday, August 5 (Fort Adams)
*Snarky Puppy
*Rhiannon Giddens
*Christian McBride Big Band with Special Guests
*Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding
*Henry Threadgill Zooid
*Vijay Iyer Sextet
*Antonio Sanchez & Migration
*Uri Caine Trio with Mark Helias & Clarence Penn
*Dominick Farinacci
*David Torkanowsky, solo piano
Sunday, August 6 (Fort Adams)
*The Roots
*Andra Day
*Maria Schneider Orchestra
*Hudson: Jack DeJohnette, John Scofield, John Medeski & Larry Grenadier
*Philadelphia Experiment: Questlove, Christian McBride, Uri Caine
*Jason Moran: Fats Waller Dance Party
*Sean Jones Quintet with Brian Hogans, Orrin Evans, Luques Curtis & Obed Calvaire
*Cyrille Aimée
*John Medeski, solo piano

“By the way,” George Wein emphasizes, “we will be announcing a fourth wave of Newport Jazz artists in the next few weeks. Hold your breath.”
Newport Jazz Festival’s official travel partner, WBGO Jazz 88.3FM is offering Day Trips and an exclusive Weekend Package for festival fans. For more information, sign up for WBGO’s Newport List at
All adult, children and student tickets for the 2017 Newport Jazz Festival presented by Natixis Global Asset Management are available at Service charges apply to all tickets purchased on-line or by phone.  For information regarding pre-sales and special offers, subscribe to the newsletter on the festival web site or follow NJF on social media.  
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