September 23, 2014
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Jazz follows folk in Newport
Don Fowler

After a sold-out, cloudy, eclectic weekend of folk music, jazz moves into Fort Adams for another nearly sold-out weekend (tickets are still available).

Rhode Island’s own Brown Bird opened the festival on the main stage last Saturday and wowed the crowd, as did Rhode Island-based Deer Tick later in the day, playing on the expanded Quad Stage area.

At times there were as many people listening to performers inside the fort as outside. Lines were long at the concession stands and port-a-johns and empty seats were non-existent at three of the four stages. Although fans brought their own chairs and blankets to the Fort Stage area, most of them stood during the performances.

Every year there are new groups that blow me away, and 2012 was no exception. The Spirit Family Reunion, from of all places New York, five young talented musicians with more energy than the thunderstorm that closed the show Saturday night, combined their talents for bluegrass, folk, rock, gospel and southern swing, kicking up their own storm.

The successful festival ended Saturday evening with a terrific set by Jackson Browne, who brought many of the artists on stage in a great weekend of music.

Jazz returns to Newport this weekend, with the same mixture of old and new filling three stages at Fort Adams on Saturday and Sunday, preceded by a Friday night concert with Dr. John at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Veteran performers Pat Metheny and Dianne Reeves headline the Saturday festival, while the Tedeshi-Trucks Band will play a full two-hour concert to close the weekend Sunday evening.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, celebrating their 50th anniversary, also play Friday night, making them the only group to play both the folk and the jazz festivals the same year.

Come early on Saturday (11 a.m.) and hear the RIEA Senior All-State Jazz Ensemble kick things off.


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