Top o' the afternoon, Solid State.
The fine folks from the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival held their annual press conference this afternoon to thank their long list of sponsors, ply the media with ice cream and give Bob Kiss something to talk about that doesn't involve Burlington Telecom. Oh, and also to announce the bulk of this year's lineup, which, while maybe not as top-heavy with monster marquee acts as in recent years, appears solid from top to bottom, including some undercard acts that could well steal the fest.
The big names likely need little introduction: Herbie Hancock, Bela Fleck and the Orginal Flecktones, Poncho Sanchez, aaaaaaaand … muthaflippin' viperHouse, who will follow Belizbeha's lead from last year's fest and get the band back together to relive some Queen City glory days. Rad. Trombone rockers Bonerama (pictured) and the Joshua Panda Band open that show at the Waterfront Groove Tent on Thursday, June 9.
Also at the top of the docket, Bitches Brew Revisited, an all-star tribute to Miles Davis' groundbreaking 1970 record, Bitches Brew. The band features Vernon Reid, Graham Haynes, Marco Benevento and DJ Logic, among some other choice heavy hitters. Local improv jazz outfit — and a personal favorite — YoUSAy Placate open the Flynn MainStage show, which opens the entire fest on Friday June 3. The BDJF is also launching a contest inviting local artists to reimagine the cover art from Davis' landmark album. For more details on that, visit the BDJF site.
The BDJF always does well giving women in jazz their due. But, intentional or not, it seems there is an increased focus on lady songbirds this year, highlighted by a double bill at the FlynnSpace featuring vocalists Jay Clayton and Sheila Jordan on Tuesday, June 7. Other choice acts include vocalist Catherine Russell (6/8, FlynnSpace), ecelectic electro-acoustic outfit the Myra Melford Be Bread Sextet (6/9, FlynnSpace) and a MainStage double bill that will see renowned vocalist Roberta Gambarini share the stage with the Roy Hargrove Quintet on Saturday, June 11.
There's obviously much more to talk about, and in the coming weeks, we surely will. Most of the lineup and schedule info is up on the BDJF site. But there are still a few shows that have yet to be announced and should be made public within the next week or so. Stay tuned.