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The Modern All-Stars: A Newport Jazz Festival Special, on Jazz Night in America

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Ken Franckling
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Christian McBride was 19, a vigorous young bassist just making his name on the scene, when he paid his first visit to the Newport Jazz Festival as a member of Jazz Futures. Skip ahead some 30 years, and McBride is the artistic director of the festival, as well as our esteemed host at Jazz Night in America. It's in these dual capacities that he helped curate the music in our three-part Newport Jazz Festival Special.

We're calling this third episode The Modern All-Stars, and the name really fits. We'll be hearing from several stellar performances at Fort Adams State Park — everything from an acoustic Herbie Hancock Trio in 1988 to singer Cécile McLorin Salvant with Artemis in 2018. Also in the mix: a 2001 set by the late trumpeter Roy Hargrove, and even a bit of that Jazz Futures hit, which featured Hargrove alongside McBride and others.

It's a fun and fitting conclusion to our series, which began with a celebration of the Newport Jazz Festival's first decade (The Golden Age) and continued with a look at its spectacular second phase (The Stars Shine). And as McBride would say, it's also a reminder that this story is still ongoing. Newport Jazz Lives! See you out there.

Musicians

Newport House Band: Coleman Hawkins, tenor sax; Zoot Sims, tenor sax; Clark Terry, trumpet; Howard McGhee, trumpet; Joe Zawinul, piano; Wendell Marshall, bass; Roy Haynes, drums.

Herbie Hancock Trio: Buster Williams, bass; Al Foster, drums; Herbie Hancock, piano.

Jazz Futures: Benny Green, piano; Christian McBride, bass; Carl Allen, drums; Marlon Jordan, trumpet; Tim Warfield, tenor sax; Antonio Hart, alto sax; Roy Hargrove, trumpet; Mark Whitfield, guitar.

Roy Hargrove, trumpet; Larry Willis, piano; Bruce Williams, alto sax, Gerald Cannon, bass, Willie Jones III, drums.

Artemis: Renee Rosnes, piano; Ingrid Jensen, trumpet; Melissa Aldana, alto sax; Noriko Ueda, bass; Allison Miller, drums; Anat Cohen, clarinet; Cécile McLorin-Salvant, vocals.

Set List

  • "Undecided" (Newport House Band)
  • "Just One Of Those Things" (Herbie Hancock Trio)
  • "Captain Hook" (Jazz Futures)
  • "Nature Boy / To Wisdom The Prize" (Roy Hargrove)
  • "Fine and Mellow" (Artemis)

Credits

Special thanks to Jay Sweet, Charles Raggio, Billy Glassner, Christopher "Caps" Capotosto, and George Wein from the Newport Festivals Foundation.

Producers: Trevor Smith, Sarah Geledi, Nate Chinen, Alex Ariff; Senior Producer: Katie Simon; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Executive Producers: Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundmann; Senior Director of NPR Music: Lauren Onkey.

A veteran jazz critic and award-winning author, Nate Chinen is editorial director at WBGO and a regular contributor to NPR Music.
Alex Ariff has big ears. A musician first, he straddles the worlds between performance/songwriting, media production and storytelling. Alex earned his B.A in Music from Florida State University where he fell for all facets of jazz music, history, and culture. He went onto earn his M.A. in Jazz History and Research from Rutgers University-Newark. It was during this time that Alex began working at WBGO, where he currently works as a producer on Jazz Night in America. Outside of WBGO, Alex enjoys lapsang souchong, bike rides, and playing with his band The Wali Sanga.