Bay Area’s Frank Tusa Quartet Performs at North Coast Brewing’s Sequoia Room on Saturday, November 15

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The Frank Tusa Quartet takes the stage at North Coast Brewing’s Sequoia Room on Saturday, November 15, performing standards from the Great American Songbook and original compositions by members of the band. The Quartet includes Frank on bass, Keith Saunders on piano, Mel Martin on winds and Vince Lateano on drums. All four players are active Bay Area musicians who have performed and recorded with jazz legends from Ella Fitzgerald to Horace Silver. The November 15 performance will be an example of jazz at its best: great music played by seasoned professionals with a passion for collaboration and improvisation.

Frank Tusa has been an active musician for over 30 years. He spent 20 of those years in New York, working through the ranks as a performer, educator, composer and arranger. Some of the musicians he performed and recorded with are Stan Getz, Benny Carter, Art Blakey, Chet Baker, Joe Henderson, Shelly Manne, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel and Joe Williams. Frank worked in the New York City schools teaching the basic elements and skills of music, including how to listen and express ideas through improvisation. Since moving to the Bay Area, Frank has been in demand as a bass player for his solid rhythmic anchoring and eloquent melodic lines. He has taught at Stanford and San Jose State University, and was a recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship Grant.

Pianist Keith Saunders appeared in the Sequoia Room last August with the Pelt-Merolla Quartet. He spent his formative years in Los Angeles where he studied with vibraphonist Charlie Shoemake and Jazz icon Horace Silver. He worked with Eddie Harris, Roy McCurdy and Bill Watrous and recorded and arranged with Dick Berk’s Jazz Adoption Agency. In 1984 Keith moved to New York where he worked and recorded with Richie Cole, Joe Lovano, Hank Crawford and Ralph Lalama, amongst others. He became the leader of The HardBop Quintet in 1991, writing and arranging music for four CDs released by the group. In 2010 he relocated to the Bay Area where he is a mainstay on the Jazz scene and a piano teacher for all levels and ages.

Mel Martin, wind player, soloist, composer, arranger, educator and improviser, is one of the most versatile and innovative musicians in the Bay Area. Originally from Sacramento, and greatly influenced by his sessions with Wes Montgomery, Mel moved to San Francisco where performed with John Handy, Tom Harrell and Eddie Henderson. During the mid-70s he formed the award winning group Listen and in the mid-80s he founded the well-known and still thriving group Bebop and Beyond. Mel has performed with numerous legendary musicians including Betty Carter, Santana, Mongo Santamaria, Boz Scaggs, Cal Tjader, Vince Guaraldi, Ella Fitzgerald, B. B. King, James Brown and Frank Sinatra. He has taught jazz saxophone at San Jose and Sonoma State universities, been a staff member of the Stanford Jazz Workshop, conducted workshops and clinics at schools throughout the U.S. and maintains a large roster of private students. He is the recipient of four National Endowment of the Arts grants.

Master jazz drummer Vince Lateano has toured with numerous musicians over the years including Cal Tjader, Chet Baker, Woody Shaw, Zoot Sims, Woody Herman, Vince Guaraldi and Stan Getz. He joined Cal Tjader’s band in 1978, drummed on six of Tjader’s albums, and performed with the band until Tjader died in 1982. According to drummer Mike Clark, Vince “…is truly one of the greatest big band drummers in the world. He plays great Latin and his jazz drumming is killin’. Everyone who comes to the Bay Area knows he’s the cat to call.” Vince has his own trio and quartet and can be found at the Monterey Jazz Festival education program during the summer.

This Dinner Jazz performance is in North Coast Brewing Company’s Sequoia Room at the Brewery Taproom at 444 N Main Street, corner of Main & Pine, in Fort Bragg. Dinner seatings begin at 5:00 for the 6:00 pm show and 7:30 for the 8:15 pm show. Reservations are recommended. 707 964-1286 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and 707 964-3400 after 4:00pmFor more information, go to North Coast’s Jazz Calendar http://www.northcoastbrewing.com/jazz_schedule.php

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Old Pals: Music & Mirth with Gene Parsons & David Hayes

Gene Parsons and David Hayes, long-time members of the Mendocino Coast music community and well-known sidemen in the Rock world in its heyday, will perform at North Coast Brewing’s Sequoia Room on Saturday, October 25. Gene & David share a friendship that goes back many years, a life-long love of music, and a joy in playing and performing. The October 25 performance will feature original songs by both musicians. David will be on vocals, guitar, bass fiddle and other exotic and not so exotic noise making appliances. Gene will be on vocals, harmonica and anything with a string.

David-Hayes-(w)A member of the Van Morrison Band for most of the last four decades, David is also a veteran of Jesse Colin Young’s band and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. He has circled the globe multiple times on tour, has over 250 recordings to his credit, and has performed with dozens of well-known musicians, including Ray Charles, Tom Waits and John Lee Hooker. David has released seven full-length albums of original songs and his own oil paintings and pencil sketches are on his album covers.
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A multi-instrumentalist with the Byrds (originally hired as the drummer) and the Flying Burrito Brothers, Gene is a veteran of hundreds of stage and studio performances, including recordings by Arlo Guthrie, The Everly Brothers and Randy Newman. Gene is also a master machinist and the creative inventor of the Stingbender, a popular guitar customization system. He thrives on “mixing metal with music,” and works out of his own machine shop, making everything from custom Stringbenders to steam engines. He has released three full length albums under his own name and recently served as Artist-In-Residence for Mendocino College.

This Dinner Music performance is in North Coast Brewing Company’s Sequoia Room at the Brewery Taproom at 444 N Main Street, corner of Main & Pine, in Fort Bragg. Dinner seatings begin at 5:00 for the 6:00 pm show and 7:30 for the 8:15 pm show. Reservations are recommended. 707 964-1286 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and 707 964-3400 after 4:00 pm – For more information, go to North Coast’s Jazz Calendar.

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Jazz at the Sequoia Room Presents Vocalist Nicolas Bearde and his Trio on Saturday October 4th

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Vocalist Nicolas Bearde & Trio will perform at North Coast Brewing’s Sequoia Room on Saturday, October 4. From his Nashville Tennessee roots to his participation in the thriving San Francisco music scene of the 1980s and 90s, Bearde’s approach and delivery of originals, standards and blues is soulful, improvisational and swinging. Called the “buttery baritone” for his smooth, warm voice and penchant for “romantic jazz,” Bearde is a seasoned showman whose engaging rapport captures and draws the audience into his performance.

As a young man, Bearde spent several years working the R&B circuit in Los Angeles before putting down roots in the San Francisco Bay Area and developing his jazz chops. At the same time he became part of “Jukebox,” a radio play starring Danny Glover. At Glover’s recommendation he began studying acting and eventually performed in plays, film and television. Music continued to be Bearde’s dominant interest, and he joined Molly Holm and her eight member group “Jazzmouth,” known for vocal improvisations and close harmonizing.

Through the relationship with Holm, Bearde met Bobby McFerrin and in 1986 became part of the ground-breaking a cappella group known as “Voicestra.” In the mid-1990s, Bearde and other members of Voicestra started a smaller group called SoVoSò that continued the improvisational tradition of Voicestra, but added more gospel, Latin and R&B elements. SoVoSò won awards and honors, including First Place at the a cappella summit CASA and nominations for Best Group, Best Album and Best Lead Vocalist for Bearde.

Bearde started Right Groove Records in 1997 to launch his solo projects, and has produced four albums on that label over the last 16 years. All of his albums reflect his musical vision, vocal dexterity and diverse musical influences. “…Nicolas Bearde straddles the line between classic Jazz and old school R&B. Both his delivery and his penchant for mixing and matching styles call to mind the alternately elegant and jaunty performances of Lou Rawls.” (Ross Boissoneau, Jazziz Magazine)

In addition to maintaining his busy sideline as an actor and voice-over artist, Bearde continues to write songs and to produce and perform at Jazz festivals around the world. He presents master classes in performance craft and improvisation and has been a faculty member of the Jazz School in Berkeley California. He is a national panelist for Popular Voice for the Young Arts Program in Miami Florida and a resident instructor for Jazz Camp West in Northern California.

Bearde has assembled a group of accomplished musicians for this performance: Glen Pearson, piano, Peter Barshay, bass & Leon Joyce, Jr, drums. The performance will include a variety of songs that reflect Bearde’s diverse influences, such as vibrant, up-tempo standards, romantic Brazilian tunes and personalized renditions of jazz ballads. Put succinctly, “…Bearde is the embodiment of taking that old school sound and making it new cool…” (Brent Black, criticaljazz.com)

This Dinner Jazz performance is in North Coast Brewing Company’s Sequoia Room at the Brewery Taproom at 444 N Main Street, corner of Main & Pine, in Fort Bragg. Dinner seatings begin at 5:00 for the 6:00 pm show and 7:30 for the 8:00 pm show. Reservations are recommended. 707 964-1286 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and 707 964-3400 after 4:00 pm – For more information, go to North Coast’s Jazz Calendar.

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Roseanna Vitro & Mark Soskin in Concert on Saturday, September 27 at the Sequoia Room – Two Shows

Roseanna-Vitro+Mark-Soskin-(w)When Grammy-nominated vocalist Roseanna Vitro and celebrated pianist Mark Soskin perform together at North Coast Brewing’s Sequoia Room on Saturday, September 27, they will premier their new CD, Clarity – The Music of Clare Fischer. Vitro and Soskin, both now living in New York City, are highly regarded members of the East Coast mainstream jazz scene. The Sequoia Room audience will be one of the first to hear their new album.

From her roots in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Roseanna Vitro moved to Houston, Texas where she performed in the Green Room and had the opportunity to sing with the great jazz pianists Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and Tommy Flanagan. Her voice coach Ray Sullenger along with Oscar Peterson and saxophonist Arnett Cobb encouraged Vitro to dedicate herself to jazz, so she moved to New York City in 1978 and started performing with pianists Kenny Werner and Fred Hersch. She toured with Lionel Hampton and appeared in all the major jazz clubs including The Blue Note, Iridium, Birdland and Dizzy’s Jazz Club at Lincoln Center.

Vitro has collaborated with musicians such as Christian McBride, Elvin Jones, Kevin Mahogany, Steve Allen and David “Fathead” Newman. An active performer, she tours throughout the U.S.A. and abroad. In 2005 she performed and recorded live with Kenny Werner at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She has recorded twelve critically acclaimed CDs and her 2011 release, The Music of Randy Newman, was nominated for a 2012 Grammy in the Best Vocal Jazz Album category. Vitro taught vocal jazz at SUNY Purchase, taught the Jazz for Teens Program at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center 2000 – 2013, and is currently Chair of the Vocal Jazz Department at the New Jersey City University. She holds workshops, clinics and master classes.

Pianist Mark Soskin has an extraordinary career. After studying composition and arranging at The Berklee College of Music he began to work professionally in Boston, then moved to San Francisco where he performed and recorded with Pete Escovedo and Pete’s daughter, percussionist Sheila E. He was enlisted in Billy Cobham’s band, did a tour and live recording for the CBS All Stars, and was an active session player at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. He was introduced to Sonny Rollins, which started a fruitful fourteen year-long collaboration. In addition to extensive touring throughout the world, Soskin played on a number of critically acclaimed recordings with the tenor sax master.

In 1981 Soskin moved to New York City where he has been an active sideman, leader and educator. He has performed and recorded with many stars of jazz including Sonny Rollins, the Escovedos, Joe Henderson, Randy Brecker, Eddie Henderson, Stanley Turrentine, Herbie Mann, John Abercrombie, Slide Hampton and Bobby Watson, to name a few. Soskin has eleven recordings as leader, three as co-leader and seventy recordings as a sideman. He maintains a busy touring schedule and has been featured in solo piano concerts throughout the world. He gives master classes, private classes and workshops and is on the faculty of The Manhattan School of Music. Soskin is featured in “Calle 54,” a documentary film about Latin jazz artists.

In 2011 Vitro and Soskin released the Grammy nominated CD, The Music of Randy Newman, in which they created jazz interpretations of Newman’s music. This year, at the end of September, they are releasing their latest collaboration, a CD based on the music of Clare Fischer, an accomplished pianist and prolific composer and arranger. Fischer, who was regarded as a master of harmony by such heavyweights as Gil Evans and Herbie Hancock, received eleven Grammy nominations in his distinguished career. He began as an arranger for the vocal group The Hi-Lo’s in the late 1950s, and has written and arranged music for Dizzy Gillespie, Cal Tjader, George Shearing, Natalie Cole, Earl Klug, Spike Lee, João Gilberto, Branford Marsalis, Prince, Chaka Khan, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, amongst others.

Vitro and Soskin’s new CD focuses on Fischer’s lifelong passion for the bossa nova and Afro-Caribbean music, which included the pioneering 1962 album Bossa Nova Jazz Samba Fischer made with saxophonist Bud Shank, So Danço Samba released in 1964 and the 1981 Grammy Award winning album Clare Fischer and Salsa Picante Present 2+2.

Roseanna Vitro and Mark Soskin are two of the most accomplished and high profile jazz musicians to grace the stage of North Coast Brewing’s Sequoia Room. Jazz aficionados take note! This performance on Saturday, September 27 is an exclusive West Coast appearance by Vitro and Soskin and an opportunity to hear selections from their just released CD.

This Dinner Jazz performance is in North Coast Brewing Company’s Sequoia Room at the Brewery Taproom at 444 N Main Street, corner of Main & Pine, in Fort Bragg. Dinner seatings begin at 5:00 for the 6:00 pm show and 7:30 for the 8:00 pm show. Reservations are highly recommended. 707 964-1286 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and 707 964-3400 after 4:00 pm – For more information, go to North Coast’s Jazz Calendar.

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Two Extraordinary Guitarists to Perform at North Coast Brewing’s Sequoia Room on Friday, September 5th

Alex-DeGrassi+Guitar(w)Finger-style master Alex de Grassi and Jazz guitarist Mimi Fox join forces to find common ground and mix it up in an evening of guitar solos, duos and improvisation. The two musicians are up for anything and everything in a set covering original compositions, unlikely arrangements of folk and pop melodies and jazz standards. It promises to be an exceptional evening of music when these two world-class guitarists perform together on the stage of North Coast Brewing’s Sequoia Room on Friday, September 5.

As a young, largely self-taught player, Alex immersed himself in American and British blues and folk traditions, eventually studying jazz and classical guitar. He has become known for his evocative compositions and virtuosity, and is widely acclaimed as a leading innovator and maestro of acoustic guitar. Using a broad palette of techniques and timbre and fusing a variety of guitar traditions together, he weaves melody, counter-melody, bass, harmony and rhythm into a canvas of sound, taking the listener well beyond the instrument. As Guitar Player Magazine stated, “…his solo string steel-pieces resemble orchestral overtures more than mere songs.”

His early Windham Hill recordings of original music as well as his arrangements of folk, jazz and world music have influenced a whole generation of young players. Alex’s thirty years of international touring include performances at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Montreux Jazz Festival and numerous guitar festivals. He has been commissioned by Acoustic Guitar Magazine to compose a concerto for steel-string guitar and string orchestra. He received two commissions from the New York Guitar Festival to score for their “Silent Films/Live Guitars” series. Festival director David Spelman says “Alex de Grassi is a treasure…his technical wizardry as well as his vibrant and poetic music-making make him one of the most distinctive steel-string guitarists performing today.”

Mimi Fox, an internationally renowned guitarist, composer and recording artist, has beenMimiFox(w) named a winner in six consecutive Downbeat Magazine polls and recognized by writers and colleagues alike as one of the most eloquent jazz guitarists on the scene today. She has performed and recorded with jazz luminaries Charlie Byrd, Stanley Jordan, Branford Marsalis, David Sanchez, Abbey Lincoln, Diana Krall and Kevin Mahogany, to name a few. She has also performed outside of the jazz world with legends Stevie Wonder and John Sebastian and with Patty Larkin’s Vanguard Records-produced La Guitara project.

Mimi began recording in the 1990s and has released ten albums as a leader. She maintains a whirlwind international touring scheduling and has performed at the Montreal, Guinness Cork, Perth International and Monterey Jazz Festivals. She has headlined at elite venues such as The Blue Note, and Village Gate in New York City, The Kennedy Center and Blues Alley in Washington D.C., and Yoshi’s and the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. She has written original scores for orchestras, documentary films and dance projects while receiving grants from funders such as Meet the Composer and the California Arts Council.

Both Mimi and Alex are educators and clinicians. Mimi has taught master classes worldwide while serving as head of the guitar program at the Jazz School in Berkeley, California and Adjunct Professor at New York University. In 2005 she received an award from the International Association of Jazz Educators for outstanding service to jazz education. Alex has been a frequent guest teacher at the National Summer Guitar Workshop, the University of Milwaukee, and the Interlochen Institute. He has given master classes at Berklee School of Music, Crown of the Continent and the Omega Institute. Both Alex and Mimi have published books on guitar instruction.

This Dinner Jazz performance is in North Coast Brewing Company’s Sequoia Room at the Brewery Taproom at 444 N Main Street, corner of Main & Pine, in Fort Bragg. Dinner seatings begin at 5:00 for the 6:00 pm show and 7:30 for the 8:00 pm show. Reservations are highly recommended. 707 964-1286 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and 707 964-3400 after 4:00 pmFor more information, go to North Coast’s Jazz Calendar. 

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The Best in Live Performance at North Coast’s Sequoia Room in August: Claire Daly on the Baritone Sax

Claire-Daly-(w2)On Saturday, August 9, New York baritone saxophonist Claire Daly will perform with Bay Area musicians Larry Vuckovich, piano, John Wiitala, bass and Hamir Atwal, drums. Daly is known for her swinging, sophisticated style, supple tone and, as a composer, her unconventional harmonies. She is one of today’s most compelling and creative voices on the baritone sax. The Claire Daly Quartet’s album, Baritone Monk, produced by North Coast Brewing Company, made JazzWeek’s Chart of the 100 Top Albums of 2013.

Erie Times-News Jazz writer John Chacona sings Claire Daly’s praises. “[She] is cheerful, with a delicious sense of humor and a heart as big as her horn: the booting, swaggering baritone saxophone. Her rhythmically propulsive, harmonically aware and joyful approach embraces the core principles of jazz. The woman can play.”

Vuckovich, Wiitala and Atwal performed at the Sequoia Room in May, 2014 to great acclaim. This quartet of superb musicians will improvise on Jazz standards, including some Thelonious Monk tunes, and pepper the evening with Jazz originals in what promises to be a memorable and exciting evening.

This Dinner Jazz performance on Saturday, August 9 is at North Coast Brewing Company’s Sequoia Room in the Brewery Taproom at 444 N Main Street, corner of Main & Pine, in Fort Bragg.

Dinner seatings are at 5:30 and 7:30 with shows at 6 and 8 pm. Reservations are recommended at 707 964-3400.

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The Best in Live Performance at North Coast’s Sequoia Room in August: Jeremy Pelt-Peppe Merolla Quartet

Jeremy-Pelt-(w)The Jeremy Pelt-Peppe Merolla Quartet will perform on Monday, August 11. Early in his career, Pelt performed with the Mingus Big Band and went on to record with many well-known Jazz artists including Bobby “Blue” Bland, Jimmy Heath, Bobby Short, Cedar Walton and Nancy Wilson. He performed with the Roy Hargrove Big Band, the Village Vanguard Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Big Band and the Cannonball Adderley Legacy. Pelt, voted “Rising Star” on the trumpet five years in a row by Downbeat Magazine and the Jazz Journalist Association, is one of New York City’s cutting edge trumpeters. His discography is impressive, comprising a dozen albums as the named lead player and 16 albums as a sideman, with more in the works.

peppe-merolla-(w)Peppe Merolla began his musical career at age five, touring with his parents, professional singers and actors, in Italy. After graduating from the Conservatory of San Pietro A Majella in Naples where he earned a master’s degree in classical trumpet, he studied jazz drumming and began developing his talents as singer and actor. Comfortable with the Italian classics as well as contemporary songs, Merolla has composed and arranged music for many singers. Popular in jazz festivals in Italy, he now lives in the U.S. Jazz Review calls him “…a drummer who sizzles with intensity.” He leads his own band and teaches drumming online. The Pelt-Merolla Quartet includes pianist Keith Saunders and bassist Michael Zisman. This in-demand group performs straight ahead, main stream jazz around the country from New York City to the San Francisco Bay Area to great acclaim.

This Dinner Jazz performance on Monday, July 11, is at North Coast Brewing Company’s Sequoia Room in the Brewery Taproom at 444 N Main Street, corner of Main & Pine, in Fort Bragg.

Dinner seatings are at 5:30 and 7:30 with shows at 6 and 8 pm. Reservations are recommended at 707 964-3400.

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The Best in Live Performance at North Coast’s Sequoia Room in August: Bobbe Norris & Larry Dunlap

Norris-&-Dunlap(w)The husband-wife team of Bobbe Norris on vocals and Larry Dunlap on piano will present an exciting program of standards from the Great American Songbook, and Jazz, Brazilian and original music on Saturday, August 16. Their music is sensitively arranged and adventurous, resulting in performances that are full of surprises.

Originally from San Francisco, Norris pursued a widely publicized singing career in New York where she worked the major clubs and concert halls, recorded for Columbia Records, and appeared on television on the Ed Sullivan and Tonight shows (among others). Norris is a singer who applies her dusky contralto to carefully chosen songs. Longtime fan Rex Reed has written that, “…she reaches into a lyric like she’s pulling taffy and brings out the sweetness and rich flavor of each song, discarding anything superfluous or sticky.”

Dunlap is an extraordinary pianist and arranger, a player with taste and sophistication. Besides his ongoing career with Norris, he has served as pianist for the British diva Cleo Laine since 1983 and has performed and/or recorded with such luminaries as Mark Murphy, Joe Williams and Sheila Jordan as well as jazz instrumentalists Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer, and Marc Johnson, to name a few.

As their numerous recordings and appearances at such venues as the Monterey and San Francisco Jazz Festivals have shown, together Norris and Dunlap offer a classy show of great music in their own style, infusing each song with romantic elegance and creative fire.

This Dinner Jazz performance on Saturday, August 16,  is at North Coast Brewing Company’s Sequoia Room in the Brewery Taproom at 444 N Main Street, corner of Main & Pine, in Fort Bragg.

Dinner seatings are at 5:30 and 7:30 with shows at 6 and 8 pm. Reservations are recommended at 707 964-3400.

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Fred Raulston Quartet Performs at the Sequoia Room on Saturday, August 2nd from 6 to 9 PM

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A New Atlantic Coast Partnership for The Jazz Brewery – North Coast Beers Pair With Newport Jazz

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Dee-Dee-Bridgewater-(w2)NJF-142014 is the first season that North Coast Brewing is the Official Brewery Partner of the acclaimed Newport Jazz Festival, possibly the oldest and indisputably one of the finest Jazz festivals in the world.

The Newport Jazz Festival is celebrating its 60th season with an impressive lineup of Jazz performers, some famous musicians and some emerging artists. In the words of George Wein, co-founder and creator:

“The first Newport Jazz Festival in 1954 set the formula for all major jazz festivals to follow. Popular artists were the attractions that sold tickets, but it was the important unsung jazz heroes from the traditional to the avant-garde that attracted the critics and gave the festival artistic credibility.”

North Coast Brewing is proud of this new partnership and honored to be associated with the iconic Newport Jazz Festival. From Friday, August 1st through Sunday, August 3rd, concerts are performed on three different stages at Fort Adams State Park, a national treasure situated at the mouth of the Newport, Rhode Island Harbor. You can read about the complete line up of performers and order tickets on the festival’s website.

Photo of vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater

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