SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, one of America’s premier music festivals, was recognized for its landmark 40th Anniversary by the New York State Legislature today in a joint resolution sponsored by Senator Kathleen Marchione (43rd S.D.) and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (113th A.D.). Presented annually by Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), the two day festival is one of the longest running and most acclaimed events of its kind. Present for the occasion were Elizabeth Sobol, SPAC’s President and CEO, festival producer Danny Melnick, President of Absolutely Live Entertainment and William Sullivan, Director of Sales for Freihofer’s Baking Company, the title sponsor of the festival since 1998.
“The 40th Anniversary of the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival is a milestone worth celebrating, not only for the longevity it represents, but for its contributions to this extraordinary, uniquely American art form, which marks its own 100th anniversary this year,” said Ms. Sobol. “In each of those 40 years, this festival has showcased the jazz giants, innovators and rising talents whose music has kept the genre thriving, evolving and expanding to new audiences. At its most personal, this event has been, and continues to be, a meaningful and joyous part of the lives and memories of countless people, including many for whom it’s an annual tradition. It all adds up to an impressive legacy and one that grows with each new season.”
The festival, originally titled the ”Newport Jazz Festival – Saratoga,” was founded in 1978 by jazz impresario George Wein, the creator of the celebrated Newport Jazz Festival, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and several other nationally recognized music events. Dozens of jazz greats, past and present, have graced the festival stages over the years, including Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck Ella Fitzgerald, B.B. King, Ray Charles, Diana Krall, Chris Botti, Esperanza Spalding and Trombone Shorty. Danny Melnick, current producer of the jazz festival, is a protégé of George Wein and the President of Absolutely Live Entertainment.
Ms. Sobol said, “I would like to extend my thanks to Senator Marchione and Assemblywoman Woerner for recognizing the festival’s anniversary and its impact and for supporting SPAC and our peers in our efforts to keep advancing the cultural vitality of Saratoga. I would also like to thank our title sponsor, Freihofer’s Baking Company, whose 20 decades of partnership and support has allowed us to present a festival that is genuinely ‘world-class’ in every respect.”
The milestone 2017 festival features an extraordinary lineup of musicians, ranging from emerging artists making their festival debuts, to the return of two legendary musicians who performed on the inaugural 1978 festival – Dee Dee Bridgewater and Jean Luc-Ponty. Headlining the weekend are Chaka Khan, “the queen of funk,” and the Gipsy Kings, who bring their irresistible rhythms to the Jazz Festival for the first time. In addition, three boundary-breaking young musicians from the United Kingdom will showcase their inventive approaches to jazz performance, including recent Grammy-winning singer, arranger, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier.