GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

August 15, 2013

Award-winning jazz: Elling, Carter, Marsalis, Four Freshmen, at this weekend's festival

The second annual Rockport Music Jazz Festival features a variety of jazz, and also an opportunity to talk about the musical genre.

The festival, which opened last night, runs through Sunday, Aug. 18, and includes music of all kinds for jazz lovers, including performances by Grammy Award-winning vocalist Kurt Elling, the 1950s vocal jazz of the Four Freshmen, the African-inspired jazz of violinist Regina Carter, and the three-time Grammy Award-winning jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis.

Tony Beadle, Rockport Music’s executive director, said his group strives to present a variety of music, and noted that there will be a new element for the second Jazz Festival with the introduction of “Jazz Chats.”

“They are part of the overall philosophy of Rockport Music, to create events around concerts that deepen the audience’s appreciation of the music,” Beadle said.

These jazz chats are intended to be informal gatherings, starting at 7 p.m. for those attending the show, and will be held on the third floor of the music hall, except for Sunday. The chats offer an opportunity to delve deeper into the subject of jazz, its beginnings, its growth, and its future.

The chats will be led by Eric Jackson, Steve Schwartz, Rich Tennant, and Ron Della Chiesa, all current or past jazz radio announcers. Some festival artists will join the Jazz Chats for their concerts, including the Four Freshmen, Elling, and Marsalis.

Beadle said he has been asked about the inclusion of the Four Freshmen in the line-up.

“They have a unique place in the beginning of jazz and pop as a combined medium,” he said.

The schedule is:

Tonight, Aug. 15: The Four Freshmen, who influenced groups such as The Beach Boys, are known for harmonic jazz arrangements blended with a classic Big Band sound. The group has earned six Grammy nominations and a place in the Vocal Hall of Fame.

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