|Saxophone great Branford Marsalis (C) performs with pianist Joey Calderazzo (L), bassist Eric Revis (R) (and Kobie Watkins) during the Newport Jazz Festival on Saturday. —AFP Photo|
NEWPORT — The Newport Jazz Festival wrapped up Sunday with a closing performance from the legendary hip-hop band The Roots as a new artistic director put his stamp on one of the world’s most venerable jazz carnivals. The three-day festival in Rhode Island, which began in 1954, has been headlined over the years by jazz greats such as Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and John Coltrane under the stewardship of its founder-promoter George Wein.
Since Wein stepped down last year, new artistic director Christian McBride has introduced a more eclectic line-up, featuring soul, Afro-Cuban and DJs as well as more traditional jazz stars such as Branford Marsalis who appeared on Saturday night.
McBride, who is himself a Grammy Award-winning bassist, said he was proud to feature The Roots, a band regarded as godfathers of hip-hop and best known in the United States as the house band of late-night comedian Jimmy Fallon.
"The one thing I think all these musicians have in common is that they all strive and achieve excellence," said McBride.
"Whatever style there is that they are in, they are excellent at it."
The festival is regarded as one of the highlights of the summer cultural calendar in the northeastern United States and is held at the same venue as the Newport folk festival. —AFP