The festival, July 23-25, will feature Regina Carter, Maucha Adnet, Trio Da Paz and more.
Jazz Port Townsend, which gets under way Thursday (July 23), has a different feel from other festivals, probably because its final weekend is the culmination of a weeklong workshop.
That means the crowd in Port Townsend and out at Fort Worden is full of aspiring young musicians, and their parents, plus other fans who are really listening to the music.
Fold that attentiveness into three nights of rolling performances in intimate venues, concerts in a grand pavilion with views out its doors of evergreen trees and sky, a pleasantly salty sea breeze and PT’s gingerbread Victorian B&Bs, and you have the elements of a great jazz getaway.
Jazz Port Townsend
Music in the Port Townsend clubs begins at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 23, and runs through midnight Saturday, July 25. Mainstage concerts at McCurdy Pavilion, Fort Worden, are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 24, and at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 25. Mainstage tickets are $23-$52, three-concert packages, $65-$130; wristband for clubs, $25 per night; all-festival packages (excluding Thursday night in the clubs) $115-$180 (360-385-3102 or centrum.org).
Though the festival doesn’t have the star power it once had — artistic director John Clayton prefers to showcase workshop faculty (many arguably stars in their own right) rather than flying in players for one-off shows — this year’s concerts at Fort Worden’s McCurdy Pavilion pack a solid punch.
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Anyone who heard Brazilian singer Maucha Adnet’s Seattle debut at the Triple Door earlier this year certainly will agree. Adnet, who worked with Antonio Carlos Jobim for 10 years, performs Friday, July 24, with her husband, the great drummer Duduka Da Fonseca. They share the bill with sizzling violinist Regina Carter, who continues to creatively explore all kinds of American fiddle music and whose band includes pianist Benny Green.
Saturday afternoon, July 25, brings more Brazilian rhythms, with Da Fonseca’s Trio Da Paz (featuring guitarist Romero Lubambo), plus the faculty big band performing the music of stellar tenor saxophonist Bob Mintzer. The sax man recently released an excellent big band album, “Get Up!” and will be on hand as player and conductor. The triple bill is topped off by vocalist Kim Nazarian of New York Voices.
Saturday night brings the group Latitude Adjustment, with one of the finest alto saxophonists in jazz, Steve Wilson, and pianist George Cables, whose Friday and Saturday night trio sets in the clubs with Chuck Deardorf (bass) and Joe LaBarbera (drums) are always a high point of the weekend.
Mintzer performs again that night with a stellar band that includes trumpeters Sean Jones and Terell Stafford.
If you can’t make the ferry crossing next weekend, note that Wilson is offering Seattleites a sneak preview (with a homegrown quintet including pianist Marc Seales and drummer Matt Jorgensen) Friday and Saturday, July 17-18, at Tula’s (206-443-4221 or tulas.com).