The Blue Note Jazz Festival will celebrate its Fifth Anniversary, June 1-30 and headliners include vocal icon Natalie Cole; Blues titan Buddy Guy; special collaborations such as The Bad Plus Joshua Redman (performing music from their forthcoming project on Nonesuch Records) and The Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6; album release performances by the Robert Glasper Trio (Blue Note Records) and bassist Avishai Cohen's Trio (Razdaz Recordz); a double bill featuring Meshell Ndegeocello & Roy Hargrove; acclaimed vocalists Darlene Love and Kathleen Battle (the latter produced by Jill Newman Productions); global-centric artists Buika, Bebel Gilberto, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Pedrito Martínez; and jazz/rock artists Al Di Meola and Ginger Baker, among others.
Established in 2011, the Blue Note Jazz Festival was initially formed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Greenwich Village's iconic Blue Note Jazz Club. Presented by Blue Note Entertainment Group - which owns and operates the diverse venue lineup of Blue Note, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, Highline Ballroom, Subrosa (its latest venue), and Lucille's Grill - the festival has quickly grown into an annual 30-day event, emerging as the city's largest jazz festival, with each venue offering its own unique cultural contribution to the New York City music landscape.
"While the festival's scope has expanded since its inception, the origin can be traced back to our core family of venues," says Steven Bensusan, President of Blue Note Entertainment Group. "With the launch of our new venue Subrosa and B.B. King Blues Club's 15th anniversary, it's fitting that this year's fifth anniversary puts the spotlight on the wide range of creative and commercial programming at our core New York City venues," adds Bensusan, "In addition to special theater shows such as Natalie Cole, Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6, and Buika at The Town Hall."
Most notably, the festival adds Subrosa to its venue lineup. Latin for "under the rose," Subrosa is an intimate 120-capacity Latin & World Music listening room located in New York City's Meatpacking District (63 Gansevoort St.), dedicated to showcasing music, art, and culture. Following a several month-long soft-launch beginning in November 2014, the venue's grand opening week is scheduled for April 14-20.
"We opened Subrosa to provide a new creative hub for eclectic music, with an emphasis on Latin music," says Bensusan. "The space is quickly becoming a destination for listeners to discover new globally-influenced music in an accessible setting. We're proud to showcase this new space as part of our festival."
Subrosa's festival lineup will feature the Pedrito Martínez Group for five days throughout the month (who has an on-going monthly residency at the venue). Other notable headliners include Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodríguez and his trio, Fulaso, an 11-piece Latin soul group, and the Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra, among others to be announced.
This year's festival also coincides with the 15th Anniversary of B.B. King Blues Club. Located in Times Square, the venue has featured some of the biggest names in blues, rock, hip-hop and pop music since opening its doors in June 2000 (ranging from Aretha Franklin and James Brown to Alicia Keys and Jay-Z). To celebrate this landmark anniversary, Blue Note Jazz Festival will present Buddy Guy on Thursday, June 11 with various special guests to be announced (the third and final night of his festival engagement).
B.B. King Blues Club and Highline Ballroom will present a wide range of performances, including rock artists/groups such as singer Gary U.S. Bonds, Johnny & The Asbury Jukes Group, keyboardist Al Kooper's annual birthday show, roots/rock group The Subdudes, and psychedelic rock band Ozric Tentacles; guitarist/singer Robert Cray Band rounding out Blues programming, in addition to Buddy Guy; eclectic global-centric acts such as the South African Afro-fusion collective Freshlyground, Indian vocalist Falu, and Spanish-influenced guitarist/songwriter Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra; as well as vocalist Alicia Hall Moran with Jason Moran (Produced by Jill Newman Productions).
Other jazz headliners at Blue Note Jazz Club include celebrated dancer Savion Glover; saxophonist David Murray, who will make his festival debut with a trio featuring Terri Lyne Carrington and Geri Allen; drum legend Roy Haynes, who returns to Blue Note following his recent three-night 90th birthday engagement in mid-March 2015; and saxophonist Gato Barbieri, who continues his on-going monthly residency at the venue. Additional shows include harmonicist Grégoire Maret with special guest vocalist Lizz Wright and a surprise guest at Highline Ballroom (Produced by Jill Newman Productions) as well as drummer Stanton Moore's Trio at Blue Note with special guests.
Additional partner events include the 2015 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards on June 16 at Blue Note Jazz Club, among others. In addition to Blue Note Entertainment Group properties, other festival venues include The Town Hall and Central Park SummerStage, among others. Festival co-presenters include Jill Newman Productions, Jazz Journalists Association, and JazzReach, among others.