Founder, executive producer and jazz presenter John Lee, a long time Island vacationer, is once again coordinating MVJF. Lee recently announced the official dates and artists of this year's festival and the 2nd Annual Martha's Vineyard Jazz Festival (MVJF) is slated to take place this year from August 4th - 11th.
“We approach producing the festival like a musician approaches producing a recording” said Lee.” Last year was our first recording, we stuck with what we knew best, which was well received. This year, with our sophomore album, we want to continue with our mission of creating a permanent presence of America’s music on the island, but we will take a few more chances in presenting jazz in its many different forms, music, literature, visual arts and film”
In 2011 Lee called on some friends who he knew could present the music in their own unique way, and leave festival goers with an appetite for more - including six time Grammy nominated Nnenna Freelon, who also received the prestigious “Vinegaurd” award presented to a MVJF performer or artist who represents the true authenticity of jazz as an American art form. Antonio Hart, Ben Wolfe, and the great young vibraphonist Warren Wolf who Lee knows from Baltimore where he currently resides, rounded out last year’s festival. All Shows were sold out, some with standing room only.
This year, MVJF is looking to add a few new elements to the week’s lineup including a “Cool Jazz Saturday” show featuring the best in contemporary jazz. Headlining this show is the 2011 Grammy award winning Terri Lyne Carrington (best jazz vocal album 2011) along with five other great performances throughout the afternoon by guitarist Drew Davidsen, sax man and Boston’s own Elan Trotman, bass extraordinaire Gerald Veasley, the Urban Harmonica sounds of Frederic Yonnet, and from the Berklee College of Music, Edmar Colon.
Highlights during the rest of the week include a book reading and signing by author and poet Quincy Troupe who will be signing his book, “Miles: The Autobiography” at . There will also be an art exhibit titled “The Art of Jazz” curated and hosted by featuring island visual artists and special guest artist Preston Sampson. The Roxbury International Film Festival will present a film presentation and, as always, there will be the memorable kick-off with the 2nd line Jazz-Festers parade up Circuit Avenue with “Made in the Shade”
Sunday through Saturday the festival presents its jazz club performances at and the new in Oak Bluffs. Lee is a big fan of the jazz club atmosphere, previously owning one himself in Baltimore called the Wine Cellar where he presented such musicians as Wes “Warm daddy" Anderson, Marcus Printup, Antonio Hart, Jeremy Pelt, Wynton Marsalis and many more current greats.
“The jazz club atmosphere is the best environment to hear jazz, it gives you an opportunity to be up close and feel the music, and you can meet and talk with the musicians,” said Lee.
Most notably performing this year is Blue Note Recording artist, jazz pianist, Jason Moran who Rolling Stone magazine called “the most provocative thinker in current jazz.” The Blue Note Records recording artist has established himself as a risk-taker and innovator of new directions for jazz as a whole. He was the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Genius award in 2010 and was recently name artistic director for the Kennedy Center Jazz program, a position previously held by the late legendary pianist and educator Dr. Billy Taylor.
Also on the line up are: Nasheet Waits hailed as the most important drummer of our time; The Larry Brown Quintet with their journeymen sound; the Rodriguez Brothers; Christian Sands and the Curtis Brothers.
A portion of the proceeds of MVJF will be donated to the development of the Martha’s Vineyard Jazz Institute – An American Island Teaching America’s Music
To see complete information, bios, lineup, venues, dates & times, please visit the MVJazzfest website.
Information from an MVJazz Fest Press Release