• The Golden Age: A Newport Jazz Festival Special

    July 23, 2020

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    Fans sit under an umbrella as shade from the hot sun during the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, R.I., on July 8, 1962. (Image Credit: Boston Globe/Getty Images)

    The Newport Jazz Festival was just one year old when the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet blazed onto its stage in 1955. By 1960, when pianists Dave Brubeck and Horace Silver each played a rollicking set, the event was an institution, known all over the world. And so it remains today — though there's something to be said about the fest in that formative era, when every step forward was historic.

    For all of us at Jazz Night in America, the Newport Jazz Festival is both hallowed ground and a cherished hang. Our host, Christian McBride, is the festival's artistic director. (Call that a disclosure, if you like; we think of it as a heavy asset.) So this summer, in the absence of a physical gathering, we've set out to lovingly recreate the festival experience, Jazz Night-style.

    Our three-part series begins with The Golden Age — a jump back to the mid-to-late '50s, featuring McBride's selection of rare and unreleased Newport recordings by Brown and Roach, Brubeck and Silver, along with a killer festival house band. (Will there also be a taste of Muddy Waters? You'll have to listen to know for sure.)

    Musicians

    Newport House Band: Joe Zawinul, piano; Howard McGhee, trumpet; Clark Terry, trumpet; Zoot Sims, tenor saxophone; Wendell Marshall, bass; Roy Haynes, drums.

    Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet: Clifford Brown, trumpet; Max Roach, drums; Harold Land, tenor sax; Richie Powell, piano; George Morrow, bass.

    Dave Brubeck Quartet: Dave Brubeck, piano; Paul Desmond, alto saxophone; Eugene Wright, bass; Joe Morello, drums.

    Horace Silver Quintet: Horace Silver, piano; Blue Mitchell, trumpet; Junior Cook, tenor saxophone; Gene Taylor, bass; Roy Brooks, drums.

    Set List

    • "Chasin' At Newport" (Newport House Band)
    • "Jaquis" (Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet)
    • "I Get A Kick Out Of You" (Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet)
    • "Swanee River Boogie" (Dave Brubeck Quartet)
    • "Blue Rondo À La Turk" (Dave Brubeck Quartet)
    • "Señor Blues" (Horace Silver Quintet)
    • "Sister Sadie" (Horace Silver Quintet)
    • "Goodbye Newport Blues" (Muddy Waters)

    Credits

    Producers: Trevor Smith, Sarah Geledi, Nate Chinen, Alex Ariff; Senior Producer: Katie Simon; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Executive Producers: Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundman; Senior Director of NPR Music: Lauren Onkey.

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