The 31st annual festival runs from May 30 – June 8 and kicks off summer in Vermont, as always, with a monster lineup featuring legendary artists. Today the festival has grown into a 10-day celebration hosting hundreds of events at venues, clubs, and restaurants all over the city. Every corner of Burlington resonates with music, and the festival truly brings the city alive. Past festivals featured a veritable feast of jazz legends from Ella Fitzgerald to Dizzie Gillespie to Bobby McFerrin. Discover Jazz has its finger on the pulse of contemporary jazz, presenting the preeminent musicians and rising stars of today.
The festival leaps into full swing with a performance by violinist Regina Carter (Friday, May 30 at 8pm, Flynn MainStage). The 2006 MacArthur Fellow’s improvisational music – intelligent and daring – is a passport to other worlds, from jazz to classical to soul, and she “takes the listener into the future of jazz” (TIME).
The following evening, Tony Bennett (Saturday, May 31 at 8 pm, Flynn MainStage) will showcase his legendary vocals, charming stage presence, and signature tunes which form a part of the fabric of American culture. His long list of achievements, spanning over 60 years, includes seventeen Grammy Awards, one of which is the prestigious Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. His daughter, Antonia Bennett, will open the performance with a collection of jazz/pop standards.
Neither blues nor R&B, Grégoire Maret (Saturday, May 31 at 10pm, FlynnSpace) is a “harmonica virtuoso” (New York Times) whose style evokes the soul-searing expression of the legendary Stevie Wonder. Maret’s style is lyrical and progressive and stretches effortlessly across numerous musical genres.
Listenable and insane: that’s how Dawn of Midi (Sunday, June 1 at 6pm, FlynnSpace) describes their all-acoustic, electronica-inspired trance grooves, as red-blooded and rhythmic as a seamless DJ set.
On Sunday night the Flynn MainStage will be home to a double bill performance by NEA Jazz Masters Ron Carter and Benny Golson (Sunday, June 1 at 8pm).Grammy-winner Ron Carter is “living proof that integrity and clarity of artistic vision are alive and well” (EmArcy). Among the most prolific and influential bassists in jazz, Carter has more than 2,000 albums to his credit and was elected to the DownBeat Jazz Hall of Fame in 2012. Tenor saxophonist Benny Golson’s playing career spans six decades: from his childhood days with John Coltrane, to years with Dizzy Gillespie’s band, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and as co-leader of the Jazztet.
Bassist and composer Linda Oh (Monday, June 2 at 8pm, FlynnSpace) draws upon her Chinese, Malaysian, and Australian roots to create music that’s “graceful and sometimes aggressive” (New York Times). A rising star in a fearless group of jazz progressives, Oh embraces her love of rock and classical in jazz compositions full of spirit, atmosphere, and creative depth.
Julian Lage (Tuesday, June 3 at 8pm, FlynnSpace) is a monstrously gifted guitarist, a one-time prodigy who turned pro at age seven. His unique style melds various genres with blinding technique, and has led him to be called “a giant in the making” (All About Jazz).
Supremely inventive and virtuosic pianist Geoffrey Keezer’s (Wednesday, June 4 at 8pm, FlynnSpace) unique compositions and acclaimed performances are famous for their exotically complex rhythms and harmonies. Keezer has the “wit and intelligence to weave all of his apparently disparate strands of influence into an original and compelling whole” (TIME).
The Nth Power (Wednesday, June 4 at 9pm, Nectar’s) – members of Dumpstaphunk, John Brown’s Body, Lettuce, Toubab Krewe, and Jennifer Hartswick Band – will inspire you to dance and groove with their gospel-tinged three-part harmonies and a merciless blend of world-beat, funk, gospel, and jazz. Alan Evans’ Playonbrother, brainchild of Alan Evans, the co-founder, writer, and drummer of Soulive, is chock-full of heady licks, booming drumbeats, and swirling organ.
Baltimore’s Warren Wolf (Thursday, June 5 at 8pm, FlynnSpace) is one of the premier vibraphonists of his generation, back for his own performance as a leader after stealing the show at the 2012 Burlington Discover Jazz Festival as a member of Christian McBride’s Inside Straight. Wolf creates a hypnotic sound that’s “spiced with harmonic ingenuity” (The Guardian), harnessing the power of bebop, blues, and swing.
The Waterfront Park Thursday Tent heats up with one of the most sampled musicicans in history, headliner Maceo Parker (Thursday, June 5 at 6pm). First as the lynchpin of James Brown’s band and then as a crew member of Parliament-Funkadelic, Parker’s soulful playing and vocals have established him as “one of the all-time great saxophonists” (San Jose Mercury News).
Big Chief Donald Harrison (Friday, June 6 at 8pm, Flynn MainStage) is Big Chief of the Congo Square Nation Afro-New Orleans Cultural Group, a band that preserves the legacy of black New Orleans residents parading in incredible, Native American-influenced costumes at Mardi Gras.
Valerie June (Friday, June 6 at 9:30pm, Signal Kitchen) draws on the rich wellspring of American roots, blending folk and blues into a timeless sound that sits outside any particular musical era. Just off tour opening for Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, she is a singular performer ready for the spotlight.
Waterfront Park Saturday Tent delivers serious homegrown grooves with the 20th Anniversary Reunion of Belizbeha (Saturday, June 7 at 4:30pm). Returning for their first local appearance since 2009, the acid-jazz/funk legends rocked Burlington constantly for close to a decade. The Jennifer Hartswick Band and Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band will open.
Cécile McLorin Salvant (Saturday, June 7 at 8pm & 10pm, FlynnSpace) is one of the most celebrated young vocalists in jazz, earning herself a Grammy nomination for her latest record. Revered for her unique interpretations of jazz compositions both familiar and obscure, she has a deep, velvety voice and a sublime feel for the blues – “Salvant has it all” (New York Times).
High-powered tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi (Sunday, June 8 at 6pm, FlynnSpace) has redefined approaches to jazz improvisation. A fixture of the Boston jazz scene, Bergonzi is a legendary live performer defined by his commanding grasp of chord changes and unbelievable musical imagination.
As a leading force in Afro-Caribbean music for more than half a century, the NEA Jazz Master and nine-time Grammy Award winner Eddie Palmieri was the last great bandleader to emerge from the Palladium Ballroom’s golden era. The beloved patriarch of Latin music is joined by his septet Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Band (Sunday, June 8 at 8pm, MainStage)for gravity-defying grooves.
Visit flynntix.org or call the Flynn box office at 802-86-FLYNN to purchase tickets. We hope to see you there!