Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival returns to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center from June 26-27 with in-person concerts by Dianne Reeves, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Christian McBride and others.
The festival, which is co-hosted by Absolutely Live Entertainment, marks the first live performances that the venue will have hosted since the pandemic started in 2020.
“Our Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival is always one of the most exhilarating and anticipated weekends of the year, kicking off our summer season.
While this year’s festival will look a little bit different as a result of COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, the very fact that we will once again be able to join together on the SPAC grounds for live music feels absolutely miraculous,” said Elizabeth Sobol, president and CEO of SPAC. “Once again, we are grateful to Freihofer’s, which has been a generous and steadfast supporter of the festival for the past 24 years.”
The festival will run from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 26, and Sunday, June 27; gates will open at 10 a.m. each day. Audience members will be required to show either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the festival. Attendees are also required to complete a health screening and pass a temperature check before entry. Masks must be worn regardless of vaccination or a negative test.
“Programming this year’s festival has been an emotional experience. Most of the artists will be performing live for the first time since March 2019 and they are all excited to come back to SPAC! The power of live music is peerless and I know the festival will be an inspiring weekend for all of us,” said Danny Melnick, President of Absolutely Live Entertainment, in a statement.
Saturday’s lineup includes a performance by Dianne Reeves, a five-time Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist. Fellow Grammy Award-winner Christian McBride is slated to perform that day with his latest project Christian McBride’s New Jawn.
Indonesian jazz pianist, bandleader and composer Joey Alexander will return on Saturday for his third festival appearance. Alexander, who is the youngest jazz artist ever nominated for a Grammy Award in a jazz category, will celebrate his 18th birthday at the festival.
Local gypsy swing ensemble Hot Club of Saratoga will also perform on Saturday in a concert presented by Caffe Lena.
On Sunday, the line-up includes Cécile McLorin Salvant, a composer, singer and visual artist who was recently named “Female Vocalist of the Year” by the 2021 Jazz Journalists Association.
Artemis, an all-female supergroup will take the stage on Sunday as well. The band features pianist and musical director Renee Rosnes and trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, tenor saxophonist Nicole Glover,
bassist Noriko Ueda and drummer Allison Miller.
Rounding out the line-up is Al Di Meola, a prolific composer who has amassed more than 20 albums while collaborating on a dozen others, and Garland Nelson’s Joyful Noise, a Saratoga favorite.
Each concert will take place on the main stage. Tickets go on sale to SPAC members on May 18 and to the public on May 21. Those who held on to their tickets for the 2020 Jazz Festival will be reseated in similar locations and contacted by SPAC’s box office.
Designated pods of two will be allocated and reserved for ticket buyers in the amphitheater, while designated pods of two or four will be available on the SPAC lawn. Amphitheater tickets start at $130 per pod, which seats up to two people. Lawn seats are available for $150 for a two-person pod and $300 for a four-person pod. Single tickets will be limited and are available starting at $65 for the amphitheater and $75 for the lawn. Organizers recommend buying tickets ahead of time as availability is limited and any tickets that are available during the festival are subject to an additional fee.
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