Caramoor Presents its 25th Annual Jazz Festival on July 21 in Collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center, Headlined by Dianne Reeves
July 5, 2018
Now in its 25th season, and the fourth year of its enormously successful programming collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center, the annual Caramoor Jazz Festival returns on Saturday, July 21, bringing together an eclectic mix of established jazz legends, future phenoms, large ensembles, and solo performers for a daylong excursion into every corner of America’s home-grown art form. This summer’s Jazz Festival will culminate with a headline performance in the Venetian Theater by towering jazz vocalist and five-time Grammy winner Dianne Reeves, of whom Wynton Marsalis declares: “She has one of the most powerful, purposeful and accurate voices of this or any time.”
The festival also boasts a stellar roster of daytime performers, playing sets throughout the 90 acres of picturesque Italianate architecture and gardens that make up the Caramoor estate. Benny Green is a bebop pianist and veteran of the legendary Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers who can only be described as a jazz elder statesman, despite being a mere 55 years old. He plays a set with his Trio and special guest Veronica Swift, a celebrated young jazz singer who headlined the Telluride Jazz Festival in 2016. French guitarist Stephane Wrembel — who learned his craft among the Gypsies at campsites in the French countryside — has been called “a revelation” by Rolling Stone and “the living face of Gypsy jazz” by the New York Observer. Soprano saxophonist, flautist, pianist, multiple Juno Award-winner, and two-time Grammy nominee Jane Bunnett brings her Afro-Cuban band Maqueque to Caramoor. Eclectic jazz, R&B, and gospel vocalist Shenel Johns joins young South African vocalist and Montreux and Monk Competition winner Vuyo Sotashe, who appeared in last season’s festival with Michael Mwenso and the Shakes, as they present together “A Revolutionary Friendship: The Music of Miriam Makeba and Nina Simone.” Grammy Award-winning drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. — hailed as a “legitimate jazz triple threat” (Critical Jazz) — plays music from his recent album THREE with bassist Reuben Rogers and vibraphonist Joel Ross, his partners on the album. Brazilian tap dancer Leonardo Sandoval, described by the Chicago Sun-Times as “strong yet fine-boned, capable of authority and nuance” adds some physicality to the day, joined by Brazilian bassist and seamless stylist Eduardo Belo. The Paul Nedzela Quartet is led by baritone saxophonist and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member Paul Nedzela, praised in a Daily News review of the JLCO as a “wonderful” player “who gives this band its bottom and holds it together.” Sam Reider and the Human Hands, a collective of virtuoso jazz and bluegrass musicians from Brooklyn, is led by composer, accordionist, pianist, and singer Reider — whose accordion work was described by the Bluegrass Situation as “the unyielding anchor, giving a dose of soulful, raw timelessness, but with a modern crispness and confidence.” The band also features violinist Alex Hargreaves, saxophonist Eddie Barbash (a returning Caramoor favorite), guitarist Grant Gordy, mandolinist Dominick Leslie, guitarist Roy Williams, and bassist Dave Speranza. Grammy-nominated and award-winning saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer/arranger Patrick Bartley is featured in “Patrick Bartley Presents The Mighty Cannonball Adderley.” Returning favorite, trombonist Mariel Bildsten plays a set with her Septet, after performing with a trio in last year’s festival and with the Evan Sherman Big Band the previous year. Jeffery Miller’s New Orleans Krewe features young New Orleans-bred trombonist and singer Miller, winner of the 2013 ASCAP Louis Prima Award and the 2014 and 2015 Young Arts Merit Awards in Jazz Trombone. And finally, vibraphonist Joel Ross, who was twice selected as a Thelonious Monk Institute National All-Star and a 2013 YoungArts Jazz Finalist and also plays in this summer’s Jazz Festival with Ulysses Owens, Jr., performs a collaborative set with Juilliard saxophonist, composer, and arranger Immanuel Wilkins.
Caramoor’s 2018 Jazz Festival also features two special sets for kids and families on the East Lawn. From 1:00pm–1:30pm, trombonist Mariel Bildsten leads “Melodies with Mariel,” and from 3:00pm–3:30pm is “Swingin’ with Shenel Johns and Vuyo Satashe.” Caramoor’s Education Coordinator Scott Ellison will also lead Sound Art tours, including five different works: Nafasi Yako Ni Ya Kijani (Your Place is Green) by Walter Kitundu, woven by air by Paula Matthusen, Ranjit Bhatnagar’s Stone Song, Taylor Deupree’s t(ch)ime, and Sisyphus 2.0, an interactive audio puzzle housed within a six-foot tall galvanized steel sphere sculpture that “sings” in response to movement. Other activities for young and old alike include I Spy tours of the historic Rosen House; an instrument petting zoo set up by Mamaroneck’s Music & Arts music store; scavenger hunts; free giveaways; and more.
Following the daylong Jazz Festival, on July 27 Caramoor and Jazz at Lincoln Center present another jazz event, as returning favorite, 15-year-old Indonesian pianist Joey Alexander plays a Spanish Courtyard show with his Trio. The pianist played both with his Trio and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Youth Orchestra for his Caramoor debut in 2015. Youthful though he is, Alexander has just released his fourth album, and his music-making shows a thoughtfulness and control belying his years. As The Guardian puts it: “This is the performance of an old soul, not just a quick-fingered one.”
Jazz has been part of Caramoor’s cultural mix for almost three decades, with performances by the likes of the great Ray Brown, as well as the big bands carrying on the official heritage of Count Basie and Duke Ellington. The Jazz Festival was founded in 1993, and has since devoted itself to convening an eclectic array of jazz legends and future stars for one-of-a-kind collaborations and fresh synergies. In recent years, Caramoor’s exquisite setting and laid-back charm have attracted such performers as Chick Corea, Bill Frisell, Jason Moran, Roy Haynes, Vijay Iyer, Dr. John, Robert Glasper, Paquito D’Rivera, and McCoy Tyner, among many others. As the Huffington Post said about jazz at Caramoor: “One couldn’t ask for a more exciting and contemporary selection of musical performers to choose from.”
As this year’s headliner, the Caramoor Jazz Festival and Jazz at Lincoln Center present peerless jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves, who made Grammy history by receiving the “Best Jazz Vocal Performance” award for three consecutive recordings — a Grammy first in any vocal category. In April of this year she received what is widely described as the highest honor for jazz in the U.S., the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master award. Reeves’ most recent album, Beautiful Life, melding R&B, Latin, and pop elements within the framework of 21st century jazz, won the 2015 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album, as well as Jazz FM’s “Album of the Year.” “At its essence,” says Reeves, “Life is beautiful, and I wanted to celebrate that which is too often overlooked.”
Joining Reeves at Caramoor are pianist Peter Martin, who performed on and arranged another of Reeves’s Grammy-winning albums, A Little Moonlight; double bassist Reginald Veal, a protégé of famed jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis, collaborator with his sons Wynton and Branford, and veteran of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra; drummer Terry Lyne Carrington, a three-time Grammy winner and 40-year music business veteran who rose to prominence drumming on the Arsenio Hall Show; and Brazilian jazz guitarist Romero Lubambo, who in his long career has worked with a roster of jazz celebrities from Herbie Mann to Michael Brecker to Flora Purim.
Reeves has recorded and extensively performed with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, has recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim, and was a featured soloist with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. In addition, she was the first Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the first singer to ever perform at the famed Walt Disney Concert Hall. She appeared throughout George Clooney’s award-winning Good Night and Good Luck and performed every song on the Grammy-winning soundtrack. More recently, Reeves has toured the world in a variety of contexts including a program entitled “Sing the Truth,” a musical celebration of Nina Simone in which Lizz Wright and Angelique Kidjo were also featured. As the Huffington Post summarizes her enduring appeal: “Dianne Reeves is one of our generation’s definitive jazz masters, a vocal stylist of extraordinary skill and vivacity.” See Reeves’s 2017 performance Live @ Jazz à la Villette here.
Joey Alexander Trio
In an additional collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center this season, Caramoor presents the Joey Alexander Trio in an intimate Spanish Courtyard concert on July 27. Alexander first appeared at Caramoor in 2015’s Jazz Festival, the year after his first appearance with Jazz at Lincoln Center, and his debut album that same year earned two Grammy nominations, earning him the distinction of being the youngest jazz artist ever to be nominated for a Grammy. Reviewing a performance in Houston last year, the Houston Chronicle declared that hearing Alexander perform was “like being in the same room as history.” His third studio album, Eclipse, released this past May on the Motema Music label, features a rhythm section of Eric Harland on drums and Reuben Rogers on bass, as well as a guest appearance on three tracks by saxophonist Joshua Redman. As Philadelphia’s WRTI says of the new release:
“Releasing an album that contains six original compositions, a couple of standards, a Lennon/McCartney interpretation, and a trip to church is quite a feat. At the age of 14 it might seem impossible … but not for piano phenom Joey Alexander. Eclipse is his fourth album, and it does not disappoint. … At fourteen, you can’t say that Joey Alexander is ‘going places.’ He’s already been to so many. I can’t wait to see what fifteen brings.”
See Joey Alexander perform Thelonious Monk’s “Evidence” live at the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center, from his album Joey.Monk.Live! here.
Food + Drink Offerings
On performance days during the summer, spread a blanket on the lawn, reminisce with family and friends over a glass of wine at a picnic table, or set up your own table and chairs for the day — Caramoor has plenty of space. The Food + Drink Offerings during the Summer Season feature a variety of delicious, organic, and locally-sourced snacks and beverages provided by Great Performances catering and events company. The Katchkie Food Truck offers the mouth-watering Caramoor Burger and Treble Dog, and the Tap Tent has a wide range of snacks, water, soda, local wine and beer, coffee and tea, not to mention Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Caramoor Members enjoy 10% off at the Food + Drink selections and certain events like festival days feature special menus. For maximum convenience and to avoid the lines, Great Performances also offers pre-ordered picnic boxes in a variety of menus. Additionally, on July 22 and 29, a relaxed Symphony Court dining experience with seats under a tented pavilion is offered. Each buffet menu includes unlimited wine, beer, and soda, or you are welcome to bring your own. Menus for the picnics and Symphony Court are available online, and you can either order online or call the Box Office at 914.232.1252. Order by Tuesday at 4:00pm for the upcoming week’s performance.
For high-resolution photos, click here.
Caramoor is a performing arts center located on a unique 90-acre estate with Italianate architecture and gardens in Westchester County, NY. It enriches the lives of its audiences through innovative and diverse musical performances of the highest quality. Its mission also includes mentoring young professional musicians and providing educational programs for young children centered around music. Audiences are invited to come early to explore the beautiful grounds; tour the historic Rosen House, a stunning mansion listed on the National Register of Historic Places; unwind with a pre-concert picnic or concessions with beer and wine; enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea on Wednesdays and Sundays; and discover beautiful music in the relaxed settings of the Venetian Theater, Spanish Courtyard, Music Room of the Rosen House, and magnificent gardens. Summer concerts take place in two outdoor theaters: the acoustically superb Venetian Theater, which seats approximately 1,500, and the more intimate, romantic Spanish Courtyard, which seats around 470. In the fall and winter, concerts are presented in the splendid Music Room in the Rosen House. Caramoor’s gardens, also used for concerts and the sound exhibition Sonic Innovations, are well worth the visit and include nine unique perennial gardens. Among them are a Sense Circle for the visually impaired, the Sunken Garden, a Butterfly Garden, the Tapestry Hedge, and the Iris and Peony Garden.
Getting to Caramoor
Getting to Caramoor is simple by car, train or public transportation. All parking is free and close to the performance areas. Handicapped parking is also free and readily available.
By car from New York City, take the Henry Hudson Parkway north to the Saw Mill River Parkway north to I-684 north to Exit 6. Go east on Route 35 to the traffic light (0.3 miles). Turn right onto Route 22 south, and travel 1.9 miles to the junction of Girdle Ridge Road where there is a green Caramoor sign. At the junction, veer left and make a quick right onto Girdle Ridge Road. Continue on Girdle Ridge Road 0.5 miles to the Caramoor gates on the right. Approximate drive time is one hour.
By train from Grand Central Station, take the Harlem Division Line of the Metro-North Railroad heading to Southeast, and exit at Katonah. Caramoor is a 3.5-mile drive from the Katonah station, where taxi service is always available and free shuttle service is available for most performances. For current information, check the Metro-North schedule.
Caramoor: 2018 Jazz Festival
Jazz Festival Day
Presented in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center
Benny Green Trio with special guest Veronica Swift
Jane Bunnett and Maqueque
Shenel Johns and Vuyo Sotashe — A Revolutionary Friendship: The Music of Miriam Makeba and Nina Simone
Ulysses Owens, Jr. THREE
Leonardo Sandoval and Eduardo Belo
Paul Nedzela Quartet
Sam Reider and the Human Hands
Patrick Bartley Presents The Mighty Cannonball Adderley
Mariel Bildsten Septet
Jeffery Miller’s New Orleans Krewe
Joel Ross and Immanuel Wilkins
Evening headliner: Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves, vocalist
Peter Martin, piano
Reginald Veal, double bass
Terreon Gully, drums
Romero Lubambo, guitar
Joey Alexander Trio
Presented in Collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center
All concerts made possible, in part, by ArtsWestchester with funds from the Westchester County Government.
All concerts made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
The 2018 Summer Music Festival is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.