NEWPORT, RI: Legendary tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter will celebrate his 80th birthday year at the annual Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc. fundraising benefit, which will be held at Rosecliff, one of Newport’s historic mansions, on Saturday, August 3, at 7:30 pm. Joining Shorter for this exciting occasion will be fellow Miles Davis alumnus, Herbie Hancock, and jazz’s rising star Esperanza Spalding. Master guitarist Rez Abbasi and New Orleans pianist Jon Batiste also will take part in the evening’s festivities.
The annual Gala is one of the highlights of the 59th year of the Newport Jazz Festival, which runs Friday, August 2, at the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino and Saturday and Sunday, August 3 and 4, at Fort Adams State Park. Shorter kicks off his birthday celebration at Newport with a Saturday afternoon performance with his stellar quartet featuring pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brain Blade plus special guest Herbie Hancock.
Tables for the Gala are $10,000, $25,000 and $50,000. Individual seats are $600 and $1,000. Tickets for the Newport Jazz Festival are included in the price, if the buyer chooses to add them. For Gala tickets, log on to newportfestivalsfoundation.org. Tickets for concerts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Fort Adams are available at newportjazzfest.org.
Funds raised from the Gala go to insure that the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival, both under the aegis of Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc., continue as part of the cultural life of Rhode Island and the world.
“For nearly 60 years, the Newport Festivals have set the direction for so many other music events throughout the world, ” said George Wein, Chairman of the Newport Festivals Foundation and producer of the Jazz and Folk Festivals. “From breaking new artists to amazing comebacks, the Newport Festivals have raised the bar on outdoor music events and continue to present memorable concerts and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”
This eagerly-anticipated Festival date is the perfect opportunity to hear Shorter and his young sonic disciples spontaneously create new compositions, recreate many of Shorter’s jazz standards and recombinate several Shorter-associated songs from the classics and film scores.
About Wayne Shorter
For five decades, the Newark, NJ-born Shorter extended and augmented the fabric of jazz with his evolutionary, moving and mindful mix of improvisation, including African, classical and South American music. His stints with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis and his classic sixties Blue Note albums are an astonishing part of jazz history. Juju, Speak No Evil, Night Dreamer, The All Seeing Eye and Schizophrenia yielded many Shorter-penned compositions that form the jazz canon, including “Infant Eyes, ” “Footprints, ” “Angola, ” “Lester Left Town” and “Fee Fi Fo Fum.” His co-founding of the fusion group, Weather Report, with Davis band mate, Joe Zawinul, and his ground-breaking collaboration with Brazilian vocalist Milton Nascimento on the seminal LP, Native Dancer, to his eighties and nineties beyond- category studio recordings (Atlantis, Phantom Navigator, Joy Ryder and High Life), as well as his stupendous sideman-work with Steely Dan and Joni Mitchell are equally important.
Shorter’s second genesis in this new century occurred in 2000 when he assembled his formidable foursome with emerging jazz titans: Danilo Perez, the poetic and percussive pianist whose musical passport equally extends to Thelonious Monk and the mambo; John Patitucci, the Brooklyn bassist whose anchor-sure basslines provide the rock-steady foundation for the quartet’s evocative excursions; and Brian Blade, the Louisiana drummer who conjures up moods and grooves that stretch from the Congo to Congo Square. Critics and fans alike celebrate the quartet’s studio CD Alegria, and their live recordings, Footprints Live!, Breaking The Sound Barrier and their new CD, Without A Net, which features “Pegasus, ” a 23-minute opus featuring the Imani Winds.
Speaking about his quartet, Shorter told Greg Thomas of the New York Daily News that it, “takes a kind of courage and chance-taking attitude and trust for them to do what they do when we get together, as this combination, myself included.” Shorter’s appearance on the Newport Jazz Festival will be the perfect place to experience a once-in-a-lifetime close encounter of the artistic kind with a master musician.
In addition to Wayne Shorter’s 80th Birthday Celebration, the Newport Jazz Festival also features Natalie Cole, Chick Corea, Eddie Palmieri, Marcus Miller, Esperanza Spalding, Robert Glasper, Dizzy Gillespie Big Band under the direction of Paquito Rivera, Gregory Porter, Roy Haynes, Joshua Redman, Hiromi and many more.