Tuesday, March 28, 2017



 Dry Creek Winery entrance
 The team: Don Wallace, Partner, Kim Stare Wallace, President, David Stare, Founder

Below: the vineyards at Dry Creek Winery

Dry Creek Valley in northern California's Sonoma Valley has a wine making history that goes all the way back to the days of the California Gold Rush California Gold Rush of 1849. By the late 1880s, the valley had nine wineries and 883 acres of vineyards. Prohibition ended the wine boom and the area became known as primarily a growing region for prunes and pears. Enter David Stare.  With a degree from MIT and a background of working B and O railroad, Stare quickly realized that his passion was for wine. He made his way west, and with a degree from the famed winemaking program at UC Davis, he spent his weekends searching for the perfect place to plant grapes, specifically Sauvignon Blanc, like the storied vineyards of the Loire Valley, which he coveted. Originally, he planned to move to France and build a chateau, but abandoned the plan when he read of the burgeoning wine industry in California. Spying an old prune farm across from the Dry Creek General Store, and knew that he had found his dream location. Ripping out the fruit trees, Stare began planting his beloved Sauvignon Blanc, against the advice of local farmers who said the regions rocky soil and parched climate would wreak havoc on the grapes. Stare went with his heart and proved them all wrong, building in 1972, the first new winery in the region since Prohibition and producing outstanding, award-winning wines. The rest is history, as his daughter Kim Stare Wallace, who worked at her father's side, wielding a tiny shovel at her father's side in the vineyards, and her husband and Dry Creek Partner, Don Wallace, the product of four generations of a dedicated California farming family, and winemaker Tim Bell and assistant winemaker Adam Johnson continue to turn out award-winning wines. Kim Stare Wallace, who began her career after earning a degree Magnum Cum Laude from San Francisco State, first as Marketing Director in 1986. She now serves as Dry Creek Wineries President.

The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon ($26) and the 2014 Merlot (also $26) from Dry Creek Valley, are the winery's newest releases. They celebrate the 45th Anniversary of Dry Creek Vineyard. Expressive, yet nuanced, the wines illustrate the winery's commitment to Bordeaux-styled varietals. Produced in limited quantities, the wines have levels of flavors that combine ripe fruit flavors with an impeccable balance the reflects the complex soil of the regions and the exceptional grapes, with their low sugar levels and bright acidity which produces wines that are well-integrated and perfectly balanced with supple tannins and a long finish that lingers long in the mouth and in memory. 

Dry Creek Valley 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is a an undiscovered gem. In an area primarily known for producing outstanding Zinfandels, this is a Cab that will rock your world. Grown in Dry Creek's unique terroir and perfect microclimate, the wine is b lend of 82% Cabernet, 8% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec and 2% Merlot. The wine displays terrific aromas of dark cherries, black currant and blackberries with layers of dried flowers, thyme and hints of dark chocolate and cassis. Silky and much on the palate, it has a great texture and a great deal of innate charm . Intense and rich, its a wine that satisfies from the first sip, either alone or singing a beautiful wine aria alongside a great meal, preferably from the grill.

2014 Dry Creek Valley Merlot is a shining example of the winery's dedication to producing Bordeaux varietal wines in the classic style.  The first vintage of Merlot was released by the winery in 1973 and has been receiving accolades and awards ever since. A blend of 78% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon  4% Malbec,. 2% Cabernet Franc  and 1% Petit Verdot,  the wine was aged 16 months in French, Hungarian and American oak to stunning results.. This luscious wine is dripping with flavors of ripe raspberries, black and red cherries and hints of  toasty Brioche. Undertones of dark chocolate,   crushed deep red flowers  come dancing forward like the  young rose bearers in the opera Der Rosenkavalier.

 With spring afoot, and the start of the grilling season, don't hesitate to present these wines to your guests over a mouth-watering steak, brushed with fresh garlic and rosemary infused olive oil and served with a side of freshly picked Fiddle Head Ferns, which are just starting t o sprout now, or lightly grilled asparagus or Romaine spears. A salad of freshly picked Dandelion leaves and Nasturtium flowers with a smattering of fennel seeds and a light lemon and herb vinaigrette, will set it off.  The wines are an incredible value and could easily stand in for those two or three times the price. For more information  visit  drycrfeekvineyard.com.



by Dwight Casimere

Tenor Lawrence Brownlee as the tormented musical legend Charlie "Yardbird" Parker
Photo: Dominic M. Mercier/Opera Philadelphia

CHICAGO--When Charles "Charlie, Yardbird" Parker, Jr. died at a mere 34 years of age  on March 12, 1955 in the Fifth Avenue co-op apartment of Baroness Pannonica "Nica" de Koenigswarter of a drug overdose, complicated by heart failure, pulmonary pneumonia and cirrhosis of the liver, shock waves rippled through the international jazz community. "The Bird" had flown, leaving behind a musical legacy that would both confound and entrance musicians and music lovers for decades to come and change forever both the face and perception of the music known as modern jazz.

'Bird' as he was affectionately known, led a short, but complicated life. First, there was the heroin addiction, brought on in his tender teen years by an auto accident that left him dependent on pain-killing morphine that morphed into heroin addiction, a readily available opiate on the jazz scene . When heroin wasn't available, Bird turned to alcohol, which impaired his judgement and led to erratic behavior that included infidelity, abandonment of his only surviving child, drunken run-ins with the law and eventual incarceration in a mental health facility.

 Strong meat for any biographical treatment and certainly unwieldy subject matter for a chamber opera of a scant 90 minutes long. But, Lyric Unlimited, the Broadway musical and modern opera arm of Lyric Opera Chicago, rose to the challenge and presented a searing. if at times, uneven,  local premiere of the chamber opera Charlie Parker's Yardbird by classical/jazz saxophonist and composer, the Swiss American Daniel Schnyder (Song For My Grandfather, Beep-Hop, Blues for Schubert) and poet-playwright Bridgette A. Wimberly (the award-winning poem Fire Walker and the play Saint Lucy's Eyes, a treatise on illegal abortion, poverty and forgiveness).  The work was presented off-site from Lyric's normal venue at the Civic Opera House, and was instead performed on the stage of the  Harris Theater in Millennium Park.

The Chicago Premiere featured much of the original cast, including opera superstar Lawrence Brownlee, singing a role tailor-made for him by the composer, the original Stage Director, Ron Daniels, Lyric Ryan Center alumnus Will Liverman as Dizzy  (John Birks) Gillespie, Parker's mentor and bandleader in New York's storied 52nd Street  and Harlem's Minton's Playhouse and Monroe's Uptown House. The mesmerizing Angela Brown as his self-sacrificing mother Addie, the luminous Rachel Sterrenberg as Parker's bohemian common-law wife, Chan,  Ryan Opera Center alumna Julie Miller as Parker's star-crossed patron Baroness Nica and Angela Mortellaro as his neglected first legal wife Doris (whom he never divorced) and subsequent liaison and abandoned partner Rebecca,  round out the stellar cast. There was a sublime moment near the end of the opera when Brownlee's Parker reached an epiphanal moment, invoking the words of the poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar ("I know why the caged bird sings...") before resurging into the hereafter. It is a powerful moment that grounds and otherwise fragmented story line.

There is much to like in this production of Yardbird in spite of its flaws. Exceptional stagecraft by set designer Riccardo Hernandez, and lighting designer Scott Zielinski, employ video panels and  lighting to evoke the layered, noir milieu of Harlem in the 1940s. Images of  the era's jazz legends appear on the video panels that spell out "Birdland," indelibly cementing the drama in its time period. Brownlee's rich, multi-textured bel canto voice soared through the composer's complex vocal runs into a falsetto range that would have dashed many a tenor to terra firma from the score's searingly high reaches. Brownlee navigated the treacherous path with ease, like an experienced pilot soaring to cruising altitude in the stratosphere. Composer Schnyder wisely avoided the trap of sounding cliched by incorporating too much of Parker's explosive musical complexity's,  instead incorporating bits and pieces of familiar riffs into a  tapestry of jazz, blues, gospel and scat. I  believe the correct modern musical term would be 'sampling,' now a common and recognized practice. At times, the recitative drug things along, as it does in many operas that employ this story-vamping technique, but the superb singing and spirited conducting by Kelly Kuo of the 16 piece orchestra ensemble in the pit quickly brought things to life. (A scheduling conflict due to the Lyric's regular performances at the Civic Opera House precluded the use of Lyric Opera Orchestra members in this production. But the pros on hand did a yeoman's job.)

Most audience members who came out for the pair of weekend performances at the Harris were probably already filled-in on at least the basics of Parker's brief, but multi-faceted life, filled and its simultaneous triumph and tragedy. The authors chose to give only a free-handed sketch of the artist's life, told from the standpoint of Parker, appearing onstage initially, as a rain-drenched apparition, then  shedding his raincoat to reveal a dashing period suit with his signature horn, singing and scatting with swagger to match. It's an epic performance that truly deserved more than its brief two-day run.

The work had its world premiere in 2015 at Opera Philadelphia and was subsequently premiered the following year in New York at the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem, and at Madison Opera, Wisconsin. The production will have its London Premiere in June at the celebrated English National Opera, for five performances June 9-17. If you missed the Chicago run, you might want to work this engagement of "Yardbird" into your summer vacation plans.

 'bird serenades his namesakes in the chamber opera Charlie Parker's Yardbird
Photo: Dominic M.  Mercier/Opera Philadelphia
 Diz with his crew backstage at Town Hall in 1947 with trumpeter Tadd Dameron, pianist Hank Jones and vocalist Mary Lou Williams with Milt Orent, who co-composed with Williams the jazz classic "In The Land of Oo-Bla-Bee"
 Dis with his band in 1947, with Miles Davis on trumpet, Charlie Parker and Cecil Payne on saxes. John Lewis on piano, Max Roach on drums and Ray Bryant on bass
 Charlie Parker on sax (l) with Miles Davis (c) at the Three Deuces in 1945
 "Diz" (r) looks on dreamily as Ella Fitzgerald (c) scats with her then-husband Ray Brown on bass (rear) in 1947
 The townhouse in the East Village across from Tompkins Square Park where Bird lived with his wife  Chan
 Dizzy warming up for a concert in Town Hall in 1955. He got the idea for his crooked horn when his original was damaged at a night club party for his wife Lorraine. He liked the sound from the bell bent at a 45 degree angle, so he had his subsequent trumpets made with the defect, which became his trademark
Charlie Parker's gravestone at Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Summit, Missouri, a pilgrimage site for many Parker devotees

Monday, March 20, 2017


by Dwight Casimere

There was a marvelous film shown at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival called The Birth of Sake, which depicted production of the national beverage of Japan and its 2,000 year old tradition, through the eyes of 28 year old Yasuyuki Yishida, the sixth-generation heir to his family's 144 year old Sake brewery in a tiny prefecture in a remote part of northern Japan. The film shows the dedication of Yachan, as he is affectionately called, and his team as they spend six arduous months in Japan's harsh winter, polishing the rice by hand and nursing the liquid to maturity as premium sake. There are no shortcuts to making fine sake, and the work at every step of the way is back-breaking to say the least. When Yachan isn't at the brewery, he's on the road for the rest of the year, promoting his premium sake at wine fairs, food and wine trade shows and almost any other venue where people are willing to listen to his spiel on the rewards of drinking premium sake. The film gave me a new appreciation for sake, which is really a type of wine, although, rather than being fermented in the barrel or in steel tanks like regular wine, the polished rice is made through a brewing process that is more like that used in making beer. Premium sakes can run well into double digits, but, thankfully, there's a new alternative on the market that makes the experience affordable. 

 Ty Ku Sake Silver is a premium sake that offers all of the quality and flavor of the more expensive labels at an affordable price. At just $19, its a real head-turner, and likely to change everything you've thought about sake. First of all, forget the traditional method of serving sake warm in an earthenware of porcelain vessel. Ty Ku is meant to be served chilled, just a like a fine still wine, and its also great as an ingredient in flavorful cocktails. The sake has a naturally fruit-tinged flavor that is crisp, slightly sweet, and redolent of the flavors of ripe pears or a crisp green apple. One of the ways I like to have it is as a Martini, with a slice of fresh ginger, a shot of vodka and a splash of pear nectar shaken with or served over crushed ice. Another variation is as a cocktail with pureed pear, Asian pear or apple, with a dash of lemon juice and poured over ice with a garnish of fresh mint. Ty Ku works terrifically with sushi or other seafood. It's also a surprisingly delicious pairing with grilled fish, chicken or even a grilled steak or veal chop. Try a side of diced potatoes and shaved radishes with a light lemon and tarragon vinaigrette for a real taste treat that's perfect for spring.

 The Birth of Sake World Premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Wine of the Week: Chateau Cambon La Pelouse Haut-Medoc-$17.99

by Dwight Casimere

Imagine a Bordeaux from the Haut Medoc on Bordeaux's coveted Left Bank for under $20 that reflects all of the skill and laborious work in the vineyards and much of the complexity, roundness and fruity aromas  and the allure of wines costing far more and you have the essential components and drawing cards to Chateau Cambon La Pelouse Haut Medoc 2012. A steal at a mere $17.99, this is a wine worthy of your best dry aged Porterhouse, cooked over hot coals,laced with chunks of hickory or, even better, apple or cherry wood and a few branches of fresh thyme or rosemary thrown on for aromatic good measure. Add a touch of crushed garlic, a dab of butter or a slab of fresh gorgonzola to melt down into the sizzling meat as it rests off the grill. While the coals are ebbing, grill a couple of spears of romaine brushed with garlic and lemon infused olive oil or pair it with a nice arugula and walnut salad drizzled with balsamic and you have a match made in heaven. This is a 'late harvest' in a sense, with hot, dry weather in late August and early September ameliorating the effects of an extremely wet spring. By all estimates 2012 was considered a good vintage year that produced balanced wine from very ripe fruit. Indeed, this wine has nicely rounded tannins and a great deal of elegance. For such a moderately priced Bordeax, it has garnered a lot of attention, winning numerous awards and being consistently rated in the mid 90s by every major wine publication and an 89-90 by the esteemed Robert Parker. 

The grapes were harvested by hand at the peak of ripeness, then fermented in temperature controlled tanks before aging in barriques for at least a year in a combination of old and new oak. Barrels were hand selected from 8 coopers and aging was performed on the fine lees. Tangential filtration was used by consulting oenologists Claude Gros and Hubert de Bouard for the final grace note. The tasting notes from wine experts are all glowing. Just one sip and you'll see why. There was a total production of 180,000 bottles. I' m sure its available at your local fine wine purveyor. If you locate it, buy a case or two. At this price, you can't go wrong. 

Friday, March 17, 2017


by Dwight Casimere

 Champagne Louis Roederer President and CEO Frederic Rouzaud (l) with Dwight Casimere at The Palms Hotel and Spa in South Beach, Miami Beach
Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Premier

MIAMI BEACH--Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Premier ($49.95) is a shining example of why people who love French Champagne, do so because of its distinct flavor, power and elegance. Roederer Brut Premier has all three qualities in abundance. Family owned since 1776, The sparkling wine is proof positive of the family motto that 'good wine takes time." This Pinot-dominated wine is a perfect example of how 'terrtor', that elusive term that refers to the specific time and place of a wine's production, influences the final outcome. According to Champagne Louis Roederer Group President and CEO Frederic Rouzaud,  the story of the champagne starts in the vineyards. "It starts in the vineyards," he told a Wine Spectator Seminar presented by Bank of America at the recent South Beach Wine and Food Festival in Miami Beach. "The wine is the product of a specific terroir, composed of chalk soil anthat d a specific climate with a continental influence. It starts with a specific history and a sophistication of the grapes. This is an example of a winery that is coming back to its roots. There are no chemicals used in the making of Champagne Roederer. No pesticides. It is biodynamically produced. In this way, we are bringing people back into the winemaking process to produce a champagne that is pure and honest an true to its roots." The result is a champagne that is intense, but elegant, with persistent bubbles and a taste that is rich and balanced with flavors of ripe lemons, the aroma of white flowers and the underlying taste of white minerals and chalk that is so distinctly Champagne. A hint of raspberry and honey shines through, giving it that satisfying round flavor that only a good champagne can give. This is the real deal, and the one you want to have on hand to welcome the first flowers of spring. 

 Students from Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management act as volunteer Sommeliers for the Wine Spectator Wine Seminars

The Champagne Roederer Seminar with Alison Napjus, Senior Editor and Tasting Director, Wine Spectator (l) with Frederic Rouzaud, President and CEO Champagne Luis Roederer Group

Saturday, February 25, 2017



SOUTH BEACH--The 2017 edition of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival was the grandest ever. Featuring the stars of The Food Network and The Cooking Channel in live demonstrations and the largest spread of gourmet food, great wines and superior spirits anywhere, the festival is now the largest of its kind in the world.

In addition to the Signature Events on Miami Beach such as the Barilla Italian Bites on the Beach, Heineken Light Burger Bash and the Bacardi Beach Party, there were lavish events in Miami's plush resorts, hotels and restaurants Fontainebleau Miami Beach presented Wine Spectator's Best of the Best, featuring the likes Nina Compton of Compere Lapin, New Orleans, Miami's Sunny Oh of Juvia and New York's Miro Uskokovic of New York's eponymous Gramercy Tavern. Intimate Dinners included The Heart of Harlem coming South with TV's Marcus Samuelsson, owner of Harlem's famous Red Rooster restaurant and judge on the Food Network's popular series Chopped heading an All-Star lineup of Harlem chefs, Martha Stewart headlining the NYT Cooking Dinner Series,  and Lunch hosted by world renowned chef and restaurateur Nobu Matsuhisa.

Wine Speactator Wine Seminars Presented by Bank of America featured Champagne Luis Roederer and a Beaulieu Vineyard Retrospective Tasting of Georges de Latour, among others, at The Palms Hotel and Spa.  Food Network star Robert Irvine hosted Salty, Sweet and savory Treats, A Late Nite Party.


Palm Bay models (above and below)

 Ferarri Carano winemaker Sarah Quider with her signature Fume Blanc
 Drunk Chef's Chef Alex
 Prosecco from Palm Bay International

 Aperol Spritz from Venice

 Minetto Prosecco

 Scotch Eggs and (below) Open Blue Cobia, the movie, virtual reality experience in Miami

Monday, February 20, 2017


Story and photos by Dwight Casimere

The Newport Mansions are a year-round attraction

NEWPORT, Rhode Island--Spring is just a short time away. There is no better place to enjoy earth's rebirth than picturesque Newport, Rhode Island. It's ideal location, within driving access to most major East Coast cities and a relatively short commute by plane, train or automobile makes it the perfect getaway for a romantic weekend.

There are endless activities and attractions, chief among them The Mansions. The Preservation Society of Newport County operate daily tours of The Breakers, The Elms, Marble House and Rosecliff. These "summer cottages" were the playground of the very elite during Newport's Gilded Age of the late 19th and early 20th Century. The likes of the Vanderbilts and Astors partied in the most lavish of surroundings that rival any of the palaces in Europe.

 Statuary in Newport town square

 A typical Newport garden

 Newport Harbor and (below) Shipyard

 A typical Newport garden setting

A classy Newport denizen

Each year, the fall season is kicked off by the Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival, Wine and Rosecliff, an annual event at Rosecliff Mansion and The Breakers that features outstanding cuisine from the great chefs of Boston, Newport and the New York areas, such as Davide Venturini of A Voce, New York and Brian Mercury of Oak and Rowan, Boston. Wines from some of the world's greatest winemakers, such as Chateau Lagrange of Bordeaux, France, Joseph Phelps of Napa Valley, California and Santa Margherita of Italy. Robert Mondavi of Napa Valley, celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a tasting seminar at The Breakers Stable featuring Mondavi's famous Fume Blanc Reserve, his beloved Sauvignon Blanc from To Kalon Vineyard, and the luscious Chardonnay Reserve and Pinot Noir Reserve from the Carneros region.  The Grand Finale of the tasting seminar was a sampling of five decades of Cabernet Sauvignon from the legendary To Kalon Vineyard.

 Among the highlights of the festival is a two-day Grand Tasting with hundreds of wines under the big tents on the veranda of Marble House, featuring celebrity chef appearances, such as the legendary TV chef and author Jacques Pepin and his daughter Claudine Pepin, who introduced the festival's Celebrated Women Chefs, and cooking demonstrations and educational seminars with leading food and wine experts. Some other local chefs presented were Chef Thomas Duffy, The Spiced Pear at the Chanler Newport and Chef Lou Rossi of the Castle Hill Inn Newport. 

All of the proceeds from the Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival support the mission of historic preservation of the Newport Mansions, The Elms, Rosecliff, Marble House and all of the other properties in the area. The purpose of the Preservation Society is to protect, preserve and ensure that the Mansions will be presented for many generations to come. For more, visit  newportmansions.org for tickets and information.

The Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival

 Robert Mondavi wines at the 50th Anniversary celebration seminar and tasting The Breakers Stables
 A Robert Mondavi rep Glen Martin leads the tasting experience
A vintage luxury car at The Breakers Stables

Lodging in Newport runs the gamut from luxury resorts to intimate bed and breakfasts located conveniently to the Mansions and other historic sites. Just a stone's throw from the shops and restaurants in Newport Harbor and the downtown area in the historic hill district  on Pelham Street is the Blue Jewel. Nestled amidst lush green trees, this Victorian beauty is distinctive with its wrap-around porch and  half-moon stained glass entryway. Period finery abounds in this comfy, romantic inn. 

The quaint and charming Blue Jewel Inn on Pelham Street
Hot homemade pancakes at the Newport Blues Inn

One distinctive feature is the hollowed out grand piano that serves as the inns Front Desk . That should give you an idea of the uniquely creative touches that abound throughout the property. The rooms are all newly renovated and designed with plush amenities that reflect a true sense of time and place. The furnishings are timeless as well, with a modern flair and eye toward convenience. Avail yourself of the complimentary freshly baked cookies and hot tea or coffee in a variety of flavors, made in the single serve machine and available around the clock in the quaint parlor. A complimentary hot breakfast, made to order, is one of the highlights of a stay, with Buttermilk Pancakes, French Toast, and fluffy omelettes available just a short walk away at one of the inn's sister properties, The Black Duck Inn, located just a stone's throw from Newport's busiest street and Newport Harbor or the Newport Blues, just a short walk up the crest of the hill to its intimate breakfast room on the lower level. Visit bluejewelsofnewport.com for reservations and information.

The Blue Jewels collection of Inns is just a short block or two walk to the many fine restaurants and shops along Bannisters Wharf in Newport Harbor. One of the most exquisite views of the harbor can be had from the outdoor lounge at 41 degree North Waterfront Hotel and Marina, one of Newport's finest waterfront and dining destinations. 
 Fluke Wine Bar and Kitchen on Bowen's Wharf is one of the newer arrivals and is the best seafood restaurants in the area.  Don't be fooled by the casual, laid-back atmosphere. these folks take their seafood seriously. Fork tender seared scallops with Broccoli Rabe segues perfectly into a main course of the namesake Fluke, soft, with a buttery texture and flavor that goes perfectly with a glass of Frog's Leap 2015 Sauvignon Blanc form Napa Valley. Fluke Wine Bar and Kitchen,  41 Bowen's Wharf, flukewinebar.com.

 Seared scallops, pan seared fluke and garlic tossed kale round out the main course menu
 The ambiance at Fluke is laid back with an artistic flair
Assorted appetizers and Sauvignon Blanc at Fluke
 Original art from local artists adorns that restaurant at Fluke's
 The view of Bowen's Wharf from the dining room at Fluke's Wine Bar and Kitchen

22 Bowen's Wine Bar and Grill is one of the mainstays of the harbor. The chilled New England Seafood Sampler is the most succulent array of fresh seafood to be had anywhere. Sea Scallops, Lobster Cocktail and Baked Oysters are just for starters. You can add an extra lobster tail or two to snack on for cocktails for just a few extra bucks. The 22B Clam Chowder is the best on the Wharf. Dive into Redfish, Veal Osso Bucco or 22B Filet Mignon for a real gastronomic treat. Save room for the Apple Spice Cake, a house specialty.  22 Bowens Wharf. 22bowens.com.

 Sailing in Newport Harbor
 Chick Corea and Gregory Porter (below) open the 2016 Newport Jazz Festival

The Main Stage at Newport Jazz Festival

 Bassist Christian McBride, seen performing with his Big Band at Newport Jazz Festival 2016 is the
festival's new Artistic Director, taking the reins from founder George Wein
 Monty Alexander and his Harlem Kingston Express in his first-ever Newport Jazz Festival appearance, celebrating his 72nd birthday
Stefon Harris burns up the vibes on the Fort Mason stage at Newport Jazz 2016

Newport Rhode Island is one the most treasured historic locales in the country and certainly among its most picturesque.

Summer in Newport ends with a bang, or at least a long, sustained musical note.  The 2017 Newport Folk Festival, July 28-30 and the 2017 Newport Jazz Festival August 4-6 bring thousands of music lovers from around the world, many of whom stay for the  two week period in order to enjoy both festivals. 

This year's Newport Folk Festival features Marlon Williams, The Seratones, Fleet Foxes and Rhiannon Giddens, who also headlines the subsequent Newport Jazz Festival.

The grand-daddy of all music festivals is the Newport Jazz Festival, now in its 53rd year. It is the world's oldest jazz festival. At 91 years old, Newport Jazz Festival founder, producer and chairman George Wein continues to helm the world's largest and oldest jazz festival.  Wein was hired by Louis and Elaine Lorillard to organize an event to bring jazz to the resort town of Newport and he's stayed on ever since to organize the world's premiere jazz festival. At last year's 2016 Newport Jazz Festival, Grammy-winning vocalist and composer Gregory Porter delivered his unique blend of gritty originals and vocal jazz standards and pianist Chick Corea celebrated his 75th birthday, presenting his Trilogy of Bassist Christian McBride and Drummer Brian Blade at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in an Opening Night concert of pensive standards.

 Bassist Christian McBride is the new Artistic Director of the Newport Jazz Festival, taking the reins from impresario George Wein. McBride first appeared at the Newport Festival in 1991 when he was just 19 years old. His imprint will be felt in the 2017 Newport Jazz Festival, his first to program.

 Weekend concerts at Fort Adams included a steamy set from saxophonist Kamasi Washington in his Newport debut, a standing-room only set on the Main Stage at Newport Harbor from fiery vocalist and pianist Norah Jones and pianist Monty Alexander and his quintet,  celebrating his 72nd birthday and, surprisingly, making his debut with his first-ever appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival. 

The 2017 edition of the Newport Jazz Festival features Trombone Shorty and New Orleans Avenue and Rhiannon Giddens on Opening Night at the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino and Fort Adams weekend appearances by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, sax legend Maceo Parker, jazz vocal stylist Cecile McLorin Salvant,  Christian McBridge, the festival's Artistic Director, and his Big Band, and Jason Moran and the Fats Waller Dance Party with more surprise special guests to be announced. Get your reservations and tickets now if you want to be part of the action. Contact newportjazzfest.org and newportfolk.org for tickets and information.


Dwight Casimere outside the Newport Mansions