Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Legendary soul singer and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer among major jazz artists
that will perform on Amphitheatre Main Stage

Legendary soul and gospel singer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Al Green will make his first appearance at the 30th Annual Freihofer's Jazz Festival at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Sunday, June 24. Green, whose career spans four decades, is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest soul singers of our time.

Green became a household name in the 1970s after a number of celebrated hits including, "Let's Stay Together" and "I'm Still in Love with You," topped the charts. In the ensuing years, Green had seven number one albums and 16 Top 10 singles in the US alone. Yet, at the height of his career, personal tragedy propelled Green into ministry - a commitment that would take him away from R&B and popular music for many years.

In the 1990's Green re-emerged on the music scene, enjoying successful collaborations with popular contemporary singers like Annie Lennox and Lyle Lovett, and renewed interest in his music as a result of its use in film and television scores. In 1995 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Today, Green is an ordained minister who divides his time between his church in Memphis and concert tours that take him around the world. Currently celebrating the 40th anniversary of his soul career, Green will be touring Europe and North America throughout 2007.

Other headliners scheduled to perform on SPAC's main Amphitheatre stage during the Festival include:

- George Benson, the eight-time Grammy Award-winning singer/guitarist/songwriter who was part of the first Jazz Festival at SPACin 1978

- Neo-classic soul artist and two-time Grammy-winner India.Arie whose 2006 album, Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship went gold just weeks after its release
master jazz fusion violinist and pioneer

- Jean-Luc Ponty who will perform selections from his critically acclaimed new release the Acatama Experience

- Veteran alto sax master and contemporary/smooth jazz artist David Sanborn making his 10th festival appearance

- The Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band featuring Slide Hampton, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Roy Hargrove and vocalist Roberta Gambarini in a performance paying tribute to Dizzy Gillespie's 1978 festival performance

A unique feature of the Freihofer's Jazz Festival tradition is the Gazebo stage. Strategically located on SPAC's back lawn, the gazebo serves as a showcase for emerging talents across the jazz spectrum and a space that allows fans a more up-close musical experience.

Artists scheduled to appear on the Gazebo stage at this year's Festival include:

- Jazz virtuoso saxophone and clarinet player Anat Cohen
- Holistic New African soul-jazz singer Somi
- Vocalist Sachal Vasandani whose recently released debut album has earned critical raves
- Bassist, singer and composer Esperanza Spalding
- Jazz drummer Carl Allen who will also be appearing on the main stage with his band New Spirit

Also appearing on the gazebo stage for the first time will be Hayes Greenfield & Jazz-a-ma-Tazz. Designed to be a fun, educational and interactive music performance for children, Hayes and his band introduce elements of the jazz experience including call and response, scat singing, dancing and interpretive sound. Participation by the audience is a central feature of the program.

"As the Freihofer's Jazz Festival celebrates a milestone thirty years, we are proud to celebrate that wonderful history with a host of jazz artists who collectively represent the full, rich spectrum of the jazz tradition. From timeless talents like Al Green, George Benson and Jean-Luc Ponty to new artists like Sachal Vasandani, Somi and many other up-and-comers who are moving jazz in exciting new directions, this year's Festival will be a showcase for the music and the artists who've expanded the vocabulary of modern jazz," said Marcia J. White, SPAC President and Executive Director.

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