Winter Jazzfest 2017 Announces Lineup

The first artists for next January’s Winter Jazzfest in New York have been announced and tickets went on sale for one of the most progessive, versatile, and innovative festivals the world over. And more so than ever, there is a heavy dose of socio-politics involved with several of the groups performing. We get Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble, Terri Lyne Carrington & Social Science, Craig Harris’ Breathe, Nate Smith Kinfolk, or Samora Pinderhughes with his Transformation Suite.

Nate Smith Kinfolk More than a dozen Greenwich Village clubs will participate again, with 140 groups and another of those positively exhausting 2-day marathons (January 6th and 7th). The festival opens on January 5th with a concert by Pharoah Sanders and opening act Shabaka and the Ancestors, led by UK/Caribbean saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, whose last record “Wisdom Of Elders” on Brownswood Recordings made quiet a stir.

There is also going to be a special concert in celebration of Thelonious Monk‘s 100th birthday where 12 artists will play music of one of Monk’s albums in various configurations (January 8th). The artist for the final night is still to be announced but the first list of participants is already breathtaking. I can’t wait to see Earth, Wind & Brown, for example, a group founded by Nigel Hall with a very distinct tribute to the legendary Earth, Wind & Fire. And then there is drummer Justin Brown with his new group NYEUSI, another group which blends jazz with contemporary soul and r&b in an exciting, fresh way. The group features Jason Lindner and James Francies on keys, Burniss Travis on bass, and Mark Shim on wind controller.

There will be a lot more to explore, like new Blue Note singing sensation Kandace Springs or Madison McFerrin, daughter of Bobby; Mary Halvorson, one of the most sought-after guitarists who just played Berlin Jazzfest in a duo setting, is scheduled with her octet which features Jon Irabagon and Jonathan Finlayson. Artist in residence is going to be Andrew Cyrille, who at 76 (he turns 77 this week) has just released “The Declaration Of Musical Independence” on ECM. There are more ECM artists (the label is one of the sponsoring partners) like Nik Bärtsch and Mobile, Jakob Bro and his trio, or Bill Frisell with Thomas Morgan.

Come check back here regularly for any updates and for reports of the festival in January. Also make sure to visit or click on the banner top right.

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