Jazz Festival Updates!


Galactic will headline the John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival.

(Photo: Courtesy of Galactic)

The jazz festival season for 2021 has certainly been a moving target, mostly for the good. With a host of late-breaking news and artist additions, there’s plenty to get excited about for lovers of live, improvised music. Here’s news from a few major festivals around the globe.

Out on the West Coast, the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2021, Aug. 13–15, recently announced Common will join a lineup of jazz, hip-hop and r&b stars that includes Goapele, James Francies, Kancace Springs, Christian Sands, the Helen Sung Quartet, the Jamie Baum Septet+ and more.

Jazzaldia’s 56th festival, July 21–25 in Donostia/San Sebastián, Spain, announced that it will honor Cuban jazz legend Chucho Valdés with the festival’s Donostiako Jazzaldia Award nearly two decades after his father, Bebo, received the award. In addition, La Locomotora Negra, one of Spain’s longest-running jazz ensembles, will also receive the Donostiako Jazzaldia Award. The band has decided to offer its final performance at the festival this year.

The Newport Jazz Festival is gearing up to go live July 30–Aug. 1 with a killer lineup. Recently, the fest announced that Kamasi Washington will replace Wynton Marsalis, who had to withdraw for personal reasons, on the July 30 lineup, joining the wildly popular Khruangbin, Robert Glasper, A Christian McBride Situation, the Arturo O’Farrill Quintet and Catherine Russell. A few choice hits from the rest of the weekend include Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science, Chris Potter Circuits Trio, Charles Lloyd, Immanuel Wilkins and more.

In Belgium, Jazz Middelheim is adding to its lineup for the Aug. 13–16 event. The last day of the fest will feature the Joe Lovano Trio, Philip Catherine “Two Pianos” and bassist Avishai Cohen on the main stage.

Aug. 16–22, the 41st annual International Jazzfestival Saalfelden will relaunch in the Austrian Alps with some 60 concerts including Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog, the duo Courvoisier/Davis, Avram Fever, Craig Taborn and more.

The DC JazzFest continues to add to it’s lineup for Sept. 4–5 of the Labor Day weekend with a closing dance party hosted by rapper and DJ D-Nice. For fans of straightahead jazz, don’t worry, the festival provides plenty of that, too, with Regina Carter, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Orrin Evans’ Terreno Comum and more.

In the Midwest, the Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Rocket Mortgage plans for live audiences over the Labor Day weekend with COVID-19 safety precautions in place. The festival will feature three live stages in downtown Detroit featuring artist-in-residence Dee Dee Bridgewater in several settings and performances by Herbie Hancock, Gregory Porter, Keyon Harrold, Omar Sosa and the Havana-Detroit Jazz Project, Kurt Elling’s Big Band and more. The festival will be live-streamed at live.detroitjazzfest.org.

And one more for Labor Day weekend, the 10th Annual John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival in High Point, North Carolina, Sept. 4–5, has an enviable lineup featuring Galactic, Lakecia Benjamin, Kenny Lattimore, Tito Puente Jr., Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Chris Botti, Kurt Elling and more.

As the weather turns colder and the festivals head south, The Suncoast Festival in Clearwater Beach, Florida, has announced that the Brubeck Brothers will headline the 31st edition of the event Nov. 19–21. DB

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