Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Festival of Festival Channels

The summer may be inching ever closer to its inevitable and regrettable end, but some might say the best is yet to come. Three of North America's most celebrated jazz festivals are still ahead of us, and we're shining a spotlight on them at

So far this year we've had channels dedicated to SF Jazz, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and the Montreal and Newport jazz festivals. Still to come are the Chicago, Detroit and Monterey jazz festivals.

The Monterey Jazz Festival, happening September 16-18 this year, is in a class with Newport as a long-standing fest with a much-celebrated history. In fact, Concord Music Group even created a whole separate label, Monterey Jazz Festival Records, to share some of the fest's greatest recorded moments with jazz fans everywhere. Big-name headliners this year include Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard and, ahem, these guys. Some notable acts on smaller stages include Robert Glasper, Donny McCaslin and Steve Coleman. The AccuJazz channel is playing music by most all of the musicians playing, so whether you're planning for a trip to the fest or just wish you could be there, check it out.

For the past few decades, Labor Day weekend has traditionally seen two great Midwestern cities host free, open-to-the-public jazz fests in their downtowns, and this year is no different. The Chicago and Detroit Jazz Festivals are persisting in their populist ideal of bringing world-class jazz to the people at zero cost, and we've got all the artists playing on our channels.

The Chicago Jazz Festival channel features this year's artist-in-residence Orbert Davis (pictured) and his Chicago Jazz Philharmonic as well as a great lineup of local and international artists including Randy Weston, Cassandra Wilson, the Deep Blue Organ Trio, Roy Hargrove, and many more.

The Detroit Jazz Festival channel features their artist-in-residence, drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts, as well as Dave Holland, Jason Moran, Regina Carter, Joe Lovano and many more.

Are you planning on attending any of these festivals? Who are you most excited to see? If you're not going, who do you wish you could go to see?

Check out all of our festival channels at