“I’m just going to show up and enjoy it,” says Jack DeJohnette, as Jazzstock’s second summer culminates with a 70th-birthday tribute concert to legendary drummer and bandleader at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, August 12 at the Bearsville Theatre. The headliner is Terri Lyne Carrington, the acclaimed drummer, bandleader, composer and record producer who was a student of DeJohnette’s and has played with Herbie Hancock, Esperanza Spalding and many others. Carrington, who teaches at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, won a Grammy this year for Best Jazz Vocal Album, The Mosaic Project: a unique tribute for a drummer. Teri Roiger, founder of Jazzstock along with her husband John Menegon, explained that the recording featured Carrington’s innovative arrangements for a diverse selection of vocalists.
Carrington will be performing with her quintet, featuring Leo Genovese on piano, Nir Felder on guitar and Tineke Postma on sax (the bassist will be announced). Also featured on the bill are Sheila Jordan, Greg Osby, Don Byron, Tim Ries, Matt Garrison, Joe Lovano, Judi Silvano, Jerome Harris, Garry Kvistad, Harvey Sorgen, Peter O’Brien, Tani Tabbal, Mike DeMicco, Will Calhoun, Roiger and Menegon. “Some of these people will be flying in to celebrate Jack’s birthday,” said Roiger, who noted that there would also be some surprise appearances. She added that the list includes some local legends, such as the 82-year-old Jordan, who, along with DeJohnette, received a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award; tenor saxophonist Lovano (a Grammy-winner several times over); and clarinetist and sax player Byron. Osby is an alto sax player who once performed in DeJohnette’s band.
DeJohnette was a major contributor to the fusion sound of the 1960s and ‘70s. He was a sideman for Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, Charles Lloyd and other jazz greats. He was one of the drummers on Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew and currently is an integral member of the Keith Jarrett Trio, plays in a trio with Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke, as well as bandleader of The Jack DeJohnette Group. This year he was a recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Masters award, which honored him not only for his innovations and accomplishments as a musician, but also for his dedication as a teacher, which is helping to preserve this marvelous indigenous art form for future generations.
At 70, does DeJohnette see the world differently than, for instance, 20 years ago? “Absolutely, it’s definitely different,” he says. “Musically, it has really been great for me. Socially, economically, politically, it’s all kind of turbulent right now. Humanity has got to the point where it’s got to sh*t or get off the pot in terms of how we use our resources and, particularly, in how we live with one another. It’s very interesting to see how the social and economic events play out around the world. I’ve gone to some of the Transition meetings. I’ve always been looking at alternative ways to foster community-based relationships and cooperation. The idea of having an alternative currency seems like it can work out in the Berkshires, where they have the Berkshare.”
He mentions the Woodstock Time Bank, an organization dedicated to putting people together to share services they can provide. “I think it’s very important. As we progress, those things will come in handy in keeping communities together. Woodstock is like that. Residents reach out to help one another. And that’s one of the nice things about living around here.”
DeJohnette mentions what he considers the folly of hydrofracking. “We should be way past using fossil fuels. And through the extreme weather changes, volatile weather and heatwaves, the planet is making its voice heard. For me, music is my passion. I put in it my intention of helping to make people’s lives a little better. It puts vibrations into the air, the environment. People get the inspiration to devise new ways of existing.”
The concert will be preceded by a benefit dinner for the Queens Galley, the soup kitchen in Kingston. The catered gourmet dinner will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m., followed by the concert at 7:30 p.m.
Roiger and Menegon founded Jazzstock to fill what they perceived as an important missing link in the Woodstock cultural scene. With the financial help of Bread Alone owner Dan Leader, they’ve been successful in showcasing many accomplished jazz musicians in the village and are thrilled about the lineup at the DeJohnette concert. “We’re celebrating a living legend of jazz, and bringing people together for one of the greatest musical collaborations in the history of Woodstock,” said Roiger.
The Jack DeJohnette 70th Birthday Tribute Concert & Benefit for the Queens Galley will be held at the Bearsville Theatre in Woodstock on August 12 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $30 for the concert and $25 for the Queens Galley benefit dinner from 6 to 7:30 p.m.; a ticket including both events costs $55. For reservations call (845) 679-4406 or visit www.bearsvilletheater.com.