April-14th-2011, 02:06 PM
Litchfield Jazz Fest - 2011
The Litchfield Jazz Festival will make its 16th Anniversary appearance August 5 -7 in Kent CT. This year’s lineup is literally award winning, and as always, star studded. Litchfield Performing Arts, the non-profit producer, will be honored at the festival as one of two organizations nationally chosen to receive Chamber Music America’s CMAcclaim Award, recognizing LPA’s “hard work and significant accomplishments in fostering a vibrant environment for chamber music in the community.” Additionally, the Festival has received two awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the first, an Art Works Grant in support of the festival, and the second, an NEA Jazz Masters Live Grant, in honor of two of the headliners. Jazz Masters will support the appearances of the venerable drummer Roy Haynes who, at age 86, will appear on August 6th with his Fountain of Youth Band, and saxophonist Jimmy Heath who, at age 84, closes the Festival on August 7th with his Jimmy Heath Big Band, featuring Lewis Nash, Gary Smulyan, Sean Jones and Connecticut’s own Steve Davis on trombone.
In addition to these stellar performers, the festival features the world renowned Clayton Brothers Quintet. The group includes the young Gerald Clayton, who at 23 received his first Grammy nomination; a perennial critic’s poll winner and Grammy awardee, Joe Lovano and his Nonet; internationally acclaimed master of the Hammond B3 Organ, Dr. Lonnie Smith; the festival’s Artist-in-Residence, drummer Matt Wilson, this year with his Quartet plus Strings and with the Dena DeRose Trio; and for a touch of Latin flavor, The Bronx Horns.
Having built a major reputation for introducing the “next jazz star,” the Litchfield Jazz Festival continues that tradition. But this year all of them, it appears, were child prodigies if not outright geniuses. Pianist Vijay Iyer with appear with his Trio, Pianist/vocalist Champian Fulton with her Quintet, saxophonist Albert Rivera with his Organ Quintet, and two youthful talents who will bring New Orleans to Connecticut. The first of the two, Trombone Shorty, who, at just 25, received a 2011 Grammy Nomination and performed at this year’s ceremonies, is already making waves with one of the busiest summer schedules in the industry. He appears on August 5th for LJF’s Opening Night with his Orleans Avenue band. On August 6th New Orleans native Davell Crawford will treat the audience to a tribute to the great Ray Charles who appeared at the Festival in 2000.
Trombone Shorty, whose real name is Troy Andrews, earned the nickname by marching in bands on the streets of the Big Easy as a five year old who was already leading bands at age 10. Davell Crawford, another enfant terrible, was touring Europe at seven (there must be something in the water in New Orleans). Vijay Iyer began playing violin at 3 and proceeded to teach himself piano. More fascinating yet, Iyer is a mathematician and physicist (Yale at age 20) and PH.D in Technology and the Arts, and a published author, and all this as a first generation American son of Tamil immigrants. His awards for music, including a Grammy Nomination, are even more numerous, but too many to mention here.
Premium tickets are $350 for Best Friends VIP weekend passes and $150 for single day Friends VIP tickets. These include upfront assigned seating, a VIP Lounge and priority parking. VIP ticket holders on Friday night attend the Friends of the Festival Gala at Kent School in Kent, CT. Advance-purchase general admission tickets are $22 outdoors and $33 for the new Flex-ticket (indoor and outdoor access). Indoors at $46, $62 and $83 for assigned seats in the Springs Center. Discounted multi-day passes are available until July 1st. Parking is free. Children under 12 are free on the lawn with an adult ticket buyer. The Metro North Train stops at nearby Tenmile River station, just 2 hours from NYC. A shuttle bus will take festival goers from the train to the festival grounds and back (call 860-361-6285 for shuttle schedule) as well as from the parking area, with a stop in town to explore Kent, and onto The Festival.
The Litchfield Jazz Festival is supported in part by an award from the NEA Art Works and NEA Jazz Masters Live, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, CT Commission on Culture & Tourism, DownBeat, Republican-American, Steinway & Sons Westport Gallery, Charter Communications, Litchfield Magazine, Crystal Rock Water Company, Kelley Transit, RS Berkeley, Union Savings Bank, Infinity Music Hall & Bistro, Magic Hat Brewery, TD Bank, Vandoren and others. Litchfield Jazz Camp students, who study for up to a month prior to The Festival and perform on the student stage, participate through major support from the CT State Department of Education Interdistrict Grants and additional support from The Joe Williams Every Day Fund and LPA members. For tickets visit www.litchfieldjazzfest.com or call 860-361-6285.