Swingin’ into Saratoga June 23-24 Clarinetists Cohen and Christopher among Saratoga headliners

For more than three decades, the Saratoga Jazz Festival has presented some of the best jazz musicians in the world at its gorgeous performance space in the foothills of the Adirondacks.

This year several top traditional jazz acts are among the performers scheduled for June 23 and 24 at what is now known as the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival staged at 108 Avenue of the Pines, in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Hot Jazz Jubile

Israeli-born clarinetist Anat Cohen will front her Tentet at the big amphitheater stage on Saturday, June 23, in support of the group’s new disc, Happy Song. Cohen’s CD, Clarinetwork Live at the Village Vanguard pays tribute to Benny Goodman and features trad-tracks such as “Sweet Georgia Brown,” St. Louis Blues,” and “St. James Infirmary.”

Anat Cohen
Anat Cohen (fourth from right) and her Tentet are set to play at Saratoga. (photo by Aline Muller; courtesy www.anatcohen.com)

Cohen’s set will follow a performance by Balinese piano prodigy Joey Alexander who will celebrate his 15th birthday there. That same day at the smaller “Jazz Discovery” stage, New Orleans @ 300 will hold forth, featuring clarinetist Evan Christopher, vocalist Quiana Lynell, pianist David Torkanowsky, bassist Roland Guerin, and drummer Shannon Powell.

On Sunday, June 24, the amphitheater will host singer Gregory Porter, gospel singer Mavis Staples and the TEN Trio—drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, bassist Esperanza Spalding, and trumpeter Nicholas Payton.


June 23 headliners also include trumpeter Chris Botti and keyboardist Herbie Hancock, and on June 24 festival-goers will hear pianist Jon Baptiste & The Dap Kings, the soul ensemble that backed the late Amy Winehouse on her Back to Black CD.

In addition to the music performed on both the main amphitheater stage and at the “Jazz Discovery” stage, Saratoga Jazz festival guests enjoy fine arts vendors, barbecue, children’s events, and a lawn party over the course of two days.

Ticket prices for 2018 are TBA, by in recent years amphitheater seating prices ranged from $75 to $105 per day; lawn tickets were $65 per day; (518) 584-9330; spac.org.

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Russ Tarby is based in Syracuse NY and has written about jazz for The Syncopated Times, The Syracuse New Times, The Jazz Appreciation Society of Syracuse (JASS) JazzFax Newsletter, and several other publications.

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