Tuesday, 20 February 2018 09:50

Mavis Staples Herbie Hancock, Jon Batiste, Chris Botti to headline Main Stage at Saratoga Jazz Fest

By Thomas Dimopoulos | Entertainment

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Jon Batiste, Chris Botti, Herbie Hancock, Gregory Porter, Joey Alexander, and gospel and R&B legend Mavis Staples each take a turn at center stage at this year’s Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival.

The event will be held at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24.

Emerging artists making their Saratoga debuts at the festival include José James, Lakecia Benjamin and SoulSquad, Scott Sharrard & The Brickyard Band, Jazzmeia Horn and Keyon Harrold. There will also be a slew of unique collaborations and ensembles never-before-seen at the festival: the TEN Trio - which features Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding and Nicholas Payton; the newly formed all-star trio Mark Whitfield, Ben Allison and Billy Drummond; Alfredo Rodriguez & Pedrito Martinez Duo; and New Orleans @ 300 featuring Evan Christopher, Quiana Lynell, David Torkanowsky, Roland Guerin & Shannon Powell.  

Performances begin at 11 a.m. both days on the newly built Charles R. Wood “Jazz Discovery” Stage, formerly known as the Gazebo Stage. Performances on SPAC’s large Amphitheater Stage begin at 3 p.m.

“We start working on the festival the day after the last one ends and we’re just as excited as the audience is to experience it ‘live,’” said Danny Melnick, the festival producer and President of Absolutely Live Entertainment, in a statement. “Once people discover this festival, they’re hooked. It becomes a destination they look forward to all year long.”

Check out this live clip of Mavis Staples performing Talking Heads' "Slippery People." 

In another first, SPAC also announced the addition of “Saratoga Jazz Fest Friday,” a new initiative in collaboration with the city of Saratoga Springs which brings together local musicians performing in venues across Saratoga Springs to celebrate the rich history of jazz in the region.

While two-days and two-stages of live, world class jazz is the centerpiece of the weekend, fans can also enjoy a host of amenities including a fine arts and crafts fair, CD signings by artists, southern style barbeque and other food vendors. Guests are welcome to bring in their own food and beverages, as well as blankets, tents and lawn umbrellas. Parking for the event is free.

By popular demand, SPAC is also bringing back the $20 student and child amphitheater pass, available for children ages 15 and under and students with school-issued ID at time of entrance. Children ages 15 and under are admitted free on the lawn.

2018 Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival Line-Up.

Saturday, June 23.

Amphitheater: Chris Botti, Herbie Hancock - making his return to SPAC for the first time in 12 years, José James - presenting "Lean On Me: José James celebrates Bill Withers," Joey Alexander, Anat Cohen Tentet.

Charles R. Wood “Jazz Discovery” Stage: Lakecia Benjamin and SoulSquad - Benjamin has shared stages with Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, The Roots, Macy Gray and many others, Alfredo Rodriguez & Pedrito Martinez Duo,Pedro Pablo “Pedrito” Martinez, Keyon Harrold, Jazzmeia Horn, New Orleans @ 300 featuring Evan Christopher, Quiana Lynell, David Torkanowsky, Roland Guerin & Shannon Powell, Christian Sands Trio.


Sunday, June 24

Amphitheater: Soul and gospel icon Mavis Staples will make her festival debut. Also: Jon Batiste with The Dap-Kings, Gregory Porter, TEN Trio featuring Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding, Nicholas Payton.

Charles R. Wood “Jazz Discovery” Stage: Scott Sharrard & The Brickyard Band, Deva Mahal, Jane Bunnett & Maqueque, The Jazz Passengers 30th Anniversary, Mark Whitfield, Ben Allison, Billy Drummond, Sammy Miller & The Congregation.

Founded in 1978 by jazz impresario George Wein, Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival is the fifth longest-consecutive-running jazz festival in North America. Initially founded as “the Newport Jazz Festival at Saratoga” the weekend event was renamed Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival in 1998. With an inside seating capacity of 5,200, and lawn seating of 20,000, the two-day, two-stage festival continues to be one of the largest jazz music events in North America, beloved by audiences for both the remarkable annual line-up of international jazz talent and the spectacular setting at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in the idyllic Saratoga Spa State Park.

Tickets for adults are $75 - $105 single-day, and $130-$190 two-day pass inside the pavilion; $65 single-day and $110 two-day general admission on the lawn. New $20 amphitheater ticket options are available for children ages 15 and under and students with school-issued ID at time of entrance. Lawn seating is free for children ages 15 and under.

Tickets for the festival will be available online at www.spac.org beginning 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 1. For more information, go to: www.spac.org.

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