16th Annual Deer Isle Jazz Festival

8/12/2016 - 8/13/2016    
7:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Stonington Opera House
1 Opera House Lane, Stonington, Maine, 04681


Festival also celebrates the best of Maine jazz, including Tom Porter and Friends, and the “High Five” Jazz Combo of George Stevens Academy

Opera House Arts (OHA) celebrates the 16th edition of its annual Deer Isle Jazz Festival at the Stonington Opera House, overlooking Maine’s busiest working waterfront, August 12 & 13 with shows starting at 7pm. The festival brings jazz’s most innovative artists for rare and intimate concerts and develops lasting ties between the Deer Isle community and world-class jazz musicians.

This year’s event welcomes RENÉ MARIE (Aug. 13), an incomparable singer who swings hard and improvises soulfully while leading her Experiment in Truth Trio, and DAFNIS PRIETO’s Si O Si Quartet (Aug. 12), a group founded by Prieto, a marvelous drummer whose music has one foot in his native Cuba and another in the New York jazz scene he’s called home since 1999.

As Larry Blumenfeld, the critic and journalist (who was founding curator of the Deer Isle Jazz Festival, wrote in The Wall Street Journal about Prieto: “As a drummer, he has a light touch; as a bandleader, he shows forceful authority; and as a composer, he employs a vivid imagination to make boundaries of geography and genre fade away.” Marie, Blumenfeld said, “continues the legacy of Ella Fitzgerald and Betty Carter not just for her singing but through her consummate musicianship and command of the bandstand. Her deeply personal original songs are reminiscent of another jazz great, Abbey Lincoln.”

In addition to bringing national stars to Deer Isle, the festival has long highlighted the best and brightest of Maine jazz talents and forged ongoing collaborations with local schools and arts organizations. As is the festival’s tradition, Maine musicians and student groups will be showcased as well.

Opening for René Marie on Saturday, August 13 is Tom Porter and Friends, a quartet led by pianist and composer Tom Porter, who was the former and longtime co-host of MPBN’s “Maine Things Considered.” With more than 30 years experience performing jazz piano on both sides of the Atlantic, Porter will be joined by his friends, saxophone player Frank Mauceri, bassist Sam Sherry, and drummer Mark Barnette, to bring us an evening of both classic jazz and original compositions.

Opening for Dafnis Prieto’s Si O Si Quartet on Friday, August 12 are the students of George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, continuing a longstanding festival collaboration with the academy that never fails to delight Stonington audiences. This year’s “High Five” Jazz Combo is conducted by Steve Orlofsky and includes: Mira Schubeck, trumpet, flute, vibes & piano; Abigail Jakub, alto sax & piano; Yvonne Rogers, tenor sax & piano; Matthew Stephens, bass; and Joseph Boulet, drums.

Each year, one musician serves as visiting musician for a two-week residency at the island’s renowned Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. This year, Blumenfeld will serve as writer-in-residence at Haystack July 31-August 12; he’ll explore the connections between form and improvisation in music, visual art and writing through a workshop titled, “Jazz and the Abstract Truth.”


About the Deer Isle Jazz Festival:

The Deer Isle Jazz Festival, curated in collaboration between Opera House Arts and Blumenfeld, has been breaking new boundaries and enriching the state’s cultural life since its inception in 2001. The event has drawn fans from throughout the New England region to a 250-seat former vaudeville house with charmed acoustics to hear, among others, NEA Jazz Master pianists Kenny Barron and Randy Weston, saxophonists Charles Lloyd and Dewey Redman, singers Luciana Souza and Andy Bey; French horn player Vincent Chauncey; free-jazz heroes bassist William Parker and pianist Matthew Shipp; and Latin jazz innovator Arturo O’Farrill. “Stonington is a perfectly natural setting for jazz,” Alicia Anstead wrote in the Bangor Daily News. “Far out on the town dock, the music coming from the Opera House slipped and slid through the air.”

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