Falling in love at the Newport Jazz festival

August 1st, 2013 Debra Mann


Jazz festival season is upon us here in RI, home of the legendary Newport Jazz Festival, established in 1954, and billed as the “First Annual American Jazz Festival”. What a fantastic legacy George Wein, founder and concert organizer, has established in “America’s First Resort”. Needless to say, if you are a jazz lover, this is the crème de la crème of jazz festivals.


I first attended the festival in the summer of 1977 when the stage was inside the fort at Fort Adams State Park. I have attended many times since then, with the main stage being outside of the fort, overlooking the Newport Bridge. But, the year that will forever standout for me is the year (1992) I attended with the man who would ultimately become my husband.

 Jazz Female Vocalist - Falling in Love at a Jazz Festival

It was a beautiful festival day morning. We set off to Newport, driving over that gorgeous expanse of the Jamestown Bridge and Newport Bridge, while sailboats and powerboats gathered below us in the Newport Harbor in anticipation of the event of the summer.


We were new friends, but our conversation was seamless and effortless, combined with a rare simpatico that gave a buoyancy to the day. The feeling of ease between us was so sweet that we felt we knew each other in a very profound and intuitive way. There was an instant trust between us that has never left us.


We had gotten an early start to the day in hopes of getting a spot close to the stage. When the gates finally opened, we were able get in and get set-up in a great spot with unusual ease. Don had brought the necessary hardware (chairs, umbrellas, a tarp for under us, and plastic to put over us in the event of rain). I brought a cooler full of yummy edibles, and a book to read, The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav. There was only one main stage back then, so there was a lot of down time between performers.


We read to each other during those breaks. We discovered that we were both on a spiritual path, and striving for greater understanding and unity with Spirit. Eureka!


Once the concert began we were thrilled just to be sitting there together, and it seemed that no matter who was performing that day, everything was in a state of harmony.


However, the weather did turn to rain late in the day, so Don set up the clear plastic over our chairs and umbrellas and we continued listening to the music without getting wet. We were impervious to the elements. We were just too darned content to let the rain dampen our spirits. Someone turned around, looked at us, and said, “You guys are the sunshine couple.” There is a picture of us from that day, which showed our faces glowing with joy and light. The rest, as they say, is history. Don and I have since attended many Newport Jazz Festivals.



The Newport Jazz festival is this weekend!!!! Go listen to some live jazz and fall in love!






Here is the link to the website, as well as the lineup for this year’s festival.





Friday, August 2, 2013


Natalie Cole

“An Unforgettable Evening”

Bill Charlap Trio with special guest Freddy Cole



Saturday, August 3, 2013


Wayne Shorter’s 80th Birthday Celebration: Wayne Shorter Quartet featuring Danilo

Pérez, John Patitucci & Brian Blade plus special guest Herbie Hancock

Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society

Marcus Miller

Michel Camilo Sextet

Terence Blanchard Quintet

Robert Glasper Experiment

Gregory Porter

Bill Charlap Trio with special guests Bob Wilber & Anat Cohen

Edmar Castañeda with special guest Andrea Tierra

Lew Tabackin Quartet with Randy Brecker, Peter Washington & Lewis Nash

Ray Anderson Pocket Brass Band

Performing works made possible by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation info ›

Rez Abbasi Trio

Amir ElSaffar Two Rivers

Debuting commissioned work made possible by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Mary Halvorson Quintet

From Berklee College of Music: The Ali Amr Experiment

RI Music Educators Association Senior All-State Jazz Ensemble


Sunday, August 4, 2013


Chick Corea & The Vigil with Christian McBride, Tim Garland, Marcus Gilmore, &

Charles Altura

Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra

Dizzy Gillespie™ Big Band under the direction of Paquito D’Rivera

Hiromi: The Trio Project with Anthony Jackson & Steve Smith

Joshua Redman Quartet

Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band

Steve Coleman Projects: Five Elements, Talea Ensemble and Duo with David Bryant

Jim Hall with Scott Colley, Lewis Nash and special guest Julian Lage

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Jon Batiste & Stay Human

Dee Alexander

“Songs That My Mother Loved”

Donny McCaslin Group

David Gilmore & Numerology featuring Claudia Acuña, Miguel Zenón, Luis Perdomo,

Christian McBride, Jeff “Tain” Watts & Mino Cinelu

MA Music Educators Association All-State Jazz Band

University of Rhode Island Jazz Festival Big Band

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