Jazz stars head lineup at Newport festival

By Rick Massimo

Journal Pop Music Writer
Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Chris Botti and a double dose of Jamie Cullum are among the highlights of the CareFusion Newport Jazz Festival, to be held Aug. 6 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and Aug. 7-8 at Fort Adams. The lineups were announced Tuesday.

The Friday night show Aug. 6 features Cullum, whose hits include “All At Sea” and “Twentysomething,” and the teenage Boston-based vocal and saxophone prodigy Grace Kelly.

On Saturday, Aug. 7, the festival moves to Fort Adams for a pair of all-day shows, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday’s show includes The Chick Corea Freedom Band with Kenny Garrett, Christian McBride and Roy Haynes; Cullum; The Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, Ahmad Jamal and more. The top of Sunday’s bill includes Hancock, Botti, Wynton Marsalis and Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra.

Festival impresario George Wein said Tuesday that among the younger performers on the bill, he’s high on Darcy James Argue’s 18-piece “steampunk big band” The Secret Society. “It’s a unique style, and I think he has a lot of charisma as a young man. I think he’s going to mean something someday; he’s an original.” He’s also a fan of violinist Jenny Scheinman. “There are so many young artists we have. It’s very interesting to me to do this.”

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Tickets go on sale Friday, March 26, at 10 a.m. They can be had at www.ticketmaster.com or www.newportjazzfest.net, or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.

Wein also announced a discounted ticket program for people who come in person to the Newport & Bristol County Convention & Visitors Bureau, at 23 America’s Cup Ave. Tickets bought there before April 9 will be $50, as opposed to the $69 price on the phone or online. “That’s something we’ve never done before,” Wein said. “I want to see the reaction from local people, and we’re getting more cooperation from the town than we ever have.”

This is the second year that the festival has been sponsored by the medical-device company CareFusion, and the second year that Wein has been back in charge of the festival after having sold his operations in 2007.

Wein, 84, says getting back in the game has been gratifying and revitalizing. “What else am I going to do? I’m still in good health and my head’s good. When my wife passed away [in 2005], it changes your idea of old age. Just keep going.”

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