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NYC Winter Jazzfest Announces a Final Lineup, Adding More Than Three Dozen Acts

Lawrence Sumulong
Jazz at Lincoln Center
Nicholas Payton & Afro-Caribbean Mixtape

More than three dozen acts have been added to the NYC Winter Jazzfest, finalizing the festival lineup for 2018. Among them are Nicholas Payton & Afro-Caribbean Mixtape, the vocal group Duchess, Fay Victor’s SoundNoiseFUNK, and the Eli Degibri Quartet. They will all appear on the Winter Jazzfest Marathon, a two-day crush of shows on Jan. 12 and 13. The festival itself sprawls to eight days, the longest edition yet, though with fewer groups performing than in 2017.

“We realized we grew a bit too large,” said Brice Rosenbloom, the founder of Winter Jazzfest, and its co-producer with Adam Schatz. “It felt appropriate at the time. But it was also a little unwieldy. So we intentionally pared it back a little bit.”

Rosenbloom was speaking in relative terms: the Winter Jazzfest still amounts to a delirious overspill of music. (As in past years, WBGO is a media partner.) The previously announced lineup for 2018 includes a British jazz showcase hosted by the influential talent scout and DJ Gilles Peterson (Jan. 10); the premiere of a tour called ‘Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers’ (Jan. 11); and an all-star tribute to pianist Geri Allen, organized by her former collaborator Terri Lyne Carrington (Jan. 15).

Some of the new additions are old stalwarts — like the Sun Ra Arkestra, which will perform a live score to the film Space Is the Place as a finale on Jan. 13 at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium. The creative artists Adegoke Steve Colson and Iqua Colson, who recently paid homage to Muhal Richard Abrams in a post for WBGO, will do the same in a special performance. And the veteran Chicago saxophonist Ernest Dawkins will perform in a duo with pianist Vijay Iyer.

The Dan Weiss Metal Jazz Quintet: Weiss, Matt Mitchell, Ben Monder, Craig Taborn, Trevor Dunn

Other notable additions include the Dan Weiss Metal Jazz Quintet, which has an album due out in the spring;  pianist Sullivan Fortner; a trio led by another pianist, Mara Rosenbloom; guitarist Matthew Stevens with his Preverbal trio; and the Kate Gentile New Quartet, whose leader is a drummer and composer. The lineup will also feature the New York City debut by pianist Cameron Graves, who just appeared both on The Checkout and in a Night Owl session.

“You might notice that there are quite a few female artists we’re presenting,” added Rosenbloom. “That was intentional. This is what we believe a festival should look like in 2018. And even then, women-led groups are going to account for about 30% of the roster. Last year women-led groups amounted to only 15%. So we definitely see it as an improvement, though we’d like to keep doing better.”

Social justice issues have been a priority for the organizers of the festival in recent years, and they will take center stage during a series of discussions curated in part by the critic Greg Tate. Along with immigration and protest, one panel will focus on sexism in jazz. “So the festival will be relevant,” Rosenbloom noted, “and aligned with the issues of the day.”

Here is a list of new additions to the lineup, provided by the Winter Jazzfest:

Aaron Weinstein Duo

Adegoke Steve Colson & Iqua Colson: Music of Protest and Love For Muhal Richard Abrams

Anna Webber Trio

Blaque Dynamite (Revive Music Stage)

Briggan Krauss Quartet featuring Wayne Horvitz

Cameron Graves

Ches Smith We All Break

Dan Weiss Metal Jazz Quintet

Darius Jones’ LawNOrder

Duchess (New York Hot Jazz Fest Stage)

Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band (New York Hot Jazz Stage)

Ehud Asherie - Harlem Piano Giants (New York Hot Jazz Stage)

Eli Degibri Quartet

Ernest Dawkins and Vijay Iyer Duo

Fay Victor’s SoundNoiseFUNK

Felix Peikli & Joe Doubleday Showtime Band (New York Hot Jazz Stage)

Freelance (Revive Stage)

Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity

Hank Roberts Sextet 

Jason Prover's Sneak Thievery Orchestra (New York Hot Jazz Fest Stage)

Jumaane Smith's "Louis Louis Louis"

Kate Gentile New Quartet

Madison McFerrin

Mara Rosenbloom Trio

Matt Munisteri (New York Hot Jazz Fest Stage)

Matthew Stevens Preverbal

Mike Sailors Quartet (New York Hot Jazz Fest Stage)

The New Standards

Nicholas Payton & Afro-Caribbean Mixtape

ONYX Collective with special guest Nick Hakim

Ranky Tanky (New York Hot Jazz Fest Stage)


Ronald Bruner (Revive Music Stage)

Sarah Manning’s Underworld Alchemy

Sidewalk Chalk (Revive Music Stage)

Stephane Wrembel Band (New York Hot Jazz Fest Stage)

Sullivan Fortner

Sun Ra Arkestra