Schedule of Events:
11:00 AM Sunday Jazz Brunch featuring Antoinette Montague and the Don Braden Band
Breakfast is said to be the “most important meal of the day.” We take exception here. We think brunch is! Especially on a Sunday. Over the last several years we’ve trained our jazz audiences to expect a great meal and a great time to start off the final festival day. This 24th annual Litchfield Jazz Festival is no exception. A delicious brunch and tasty drinks are on the menu as is music to fit the mood.
Our own Don Braden stepped up to the plate to put together a great jazz and blues show with his band and long -time music colleague, vocalist Antoinette Montague. A Newark native, Antoinette is a veteran of the metro area jazz, blues and gospel scene who counts Etta Jones and Carrie Smith as her mentors. She has worked with some of the best along the way –Christian McBride, Earl May, Jimmy Heath, John Farnsworth, Jon Faddis, Kenny Washington, Lou Donaldson, Mike Longo, Norman Simmons, Paul Bollenback, Peter Washington, Solomon Hicks, Winard Harper, Red Holloway and many others. A regular for Jazzmobile, she performs at regional festivals and clubs and, abroad, has sung with the Ashdod Orchestra in Israel and the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra in Russia. She last performed for Litchfield Jazz in 2015 with Donald Harrison, Don Braden, Winard Harper, Avery Sharpe and others in LJF@20 Salutes New Orleans and the Hero’s of Katrina.
A world-class saxophonist, flutist, composer and educator, Don Braden’s jazz career has spanned 40 years. He has toured the world with jazz greats Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Tony Williams, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Haynes, and many others, and has performed in venues as diverse as Carnegie Hall, Saturday Night Live, Harvard University (where he studied Engineering as an undergrad), and countless jazz festivals and clubs. He has played on over 100 CDs as a sideman and has produced 21 as a leader, the most recent being his critically acclaimed Earth Wind and Wonder. He has composed over 150 pieces for ensembles ranging from duo to full symphonic orchestra, including an orchestral performance/commission for Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, and over 100 songs for jazz combos. His compositions appear on dozens of CDs, as well as several major TV shows and indie films. In 2000, he received a Doris Duke Foundation New Works composer’s award, and has served on adjudication panels for that foundation, SURDNA, the Downbeat Student Music Awards, and others. A highly experienced educator, he teaches part-time at the Prins Claus Conservatoire in the Netherlands, ran NJPAC’s Wells Fargo Jazz For Teens for 15 years, the jazz program at Montclair State University for several years, and led the Harvard University Monday Jazz Band for three years. Don believes that jazz is a great music style to study because it reflects so many important aspects of life, including creativity, discipline, teamwork, leadership, listening skills, democracy, supportiveness and improvisation. Don has been the Music Director of the Litchfield Jazz Camp since 1998.
1:00 PM Wycliffe Gordon and Friends
Wycliffe Gordon is a renowned trombonist, composer, conductor, arranger and educator. He was most recently named Best Trombone by the Downbeat Critics Poll 2018, Jazz Journalists Association Trombonist of the year nine times since 2000 and the ASCAP Plus award winner for 2014-17. He has performed with the Wynton Marsalis Septet, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and with many icons of jazz- Billy Taylor, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Tommy Flanagan, Shirley Horne, Joe Henderson, and Branford Marsalis, to name just a few. His commissions include I Saw the Light, a musical tribute to Muhammad Ali, Within Our Gates, a silent movie score for Jazzmobile, a 75th anniversary tribute for the Apollo Theater, and Beyond the Blackberry Patch for the city of Columbus Ohio.
An avid educator, Gordon is Professor of Studies at Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard and is a frequent Artist in Residence. He has 29 CDs and counting on the Chesky and Criss Cross labels. His TV, radio and film appearances include, the 2000 Grammy Awards, Swingin’ with the Duke, a PBS special, Uptown Blues, Ellington at 100 with the New York Philharmonic, Jazz, the Ken Burns documentary Jazz, and others. Wycliffe Gordon is the youngest member of the U.S. Statesmen of Jazz and continues to serve as a musical ambassador for the U.S. State Department. Wycliffe arranged the theme song for NPR’s “All Things Considered” heard around the world every day. Wycliffe Gordon is a Yamaha Artist. This is his third Litchfield Jazz Festival appearance.
In 2006 Wycliffe received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Scranton (PA) for “positive and productive interaction, honest communication, commonality of soul, and a music that celebrates triumph of the human spirit over adversity.” That about sums it up for Mr. Gordon. Bravo!
2:45 PM Mike Stern Band - The Reprise
Mike Stern has played for over three decades with everybody who is anybody in jazz. A 6-time Grammy nominated guitarist, he was named one of the 75 best guitarists of all time by Down Beat Magazine and received Guitar Player magazines’ Certified Legend Award in 2012. Born Michael Sedgwick in 1953, he took his stepfather’s name. He is, in fact, the half-brother of actress and Litchfield County resident, Kyra Sedgwick.
Mike graduated from Berklee College of Music and, at 22, joined the now iconic band Blood, Sweat and Tears. He then teamed up with Billy Cobham and, later, Miles Davis in the trumpeter’s comeback band with Marcus Miller, Al Foster and Bill Evans. In 1992 he became a member of the Brecker Brothers Band. Other notable collaborators include Jaco Pastorius, Don Alias, Kenny Garrett and Bela Fleck. Mike has 17 recordings as a leader and tours and performs around the world. In 2017, after recovering from a serious shoulder injury that sidelined him for the 2016 summer, he formed a new band, the Mike Stern/Randy Brecker Band for a successful European tour.
Mike Stern appears for the third and fourth time at this 24th annual Litchfield Jazz Festival, with Danny Walsh, saxophone, Edmond Gilmore, bass, and Richie Morales, drums. His latest CD Trip on the Head’s Up Label features, among others, Randy Brecker. Jazz is a small world! And Litchfield Jazz is delighted to be a small part of it!