News Column

Drummer opens Rockport Music jazz fest

August 7, 2014

By Gail McCarthy, Gloucester Daily Times, Mass.

Aug. 07--A jazz drummer who has played concert halls around the world will hit the stage in Rockport to open the third annual Rockport Jazz Festival next Wednesday at the Shalin Liu Performance Center.

Ali Jackson, son of a great jazz bassist Ali Jackson Sr., has served for the past eight years as principal drummer with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.

The festival opens Aug. 13 and runs through Aug. 17.

Tony Beadle, executive director of Rockport Music, noted that the jazz festival series is now six performances, up from five last year.

"We have a stunning array of concerts featuring not only emerging artists such as Ali Jackson but also venerable legends like Bucky Pizzarelli and Kenny Barron," he said.

The lineup for the rest of the week features a dynamic young singer Cyrille Aimee, a Guggenheim Fellowship recipient Donal Fox, an acclaimed jazz pianist Kenny Barron, a jazz bass master Christian McBride, as well as a swing guitar concert with Bucky Pizzarelli.

For the festival opening, Jackson comes to Rockport a week after performing at a jazz festival in Marciac, France with the Wynton Marsalis Quintet. There will be a JazzChat led by Ron della Chiesa at 7 p.m. for this concert.

Although born in New York City, Jackson's family moved to Detroit. The son of a musician, his youth was immersed in jazz music. He began playing professionally on the streets of Detroit with his father at eight-years-old, according to his bio.

Jackson also fronts his own band, the the Ali Jackson Quartet. In addition to his talent as a versatile jazz drummer, he is a composer, arranger and educator.

Nate Chinen of the New York Times wrote in a past review: "The jazz drummer Ali Jackson generates a subtle but irresistible force when he plays, making even the smallest gestures advance his agenda of locomotion."

Next Thursday, Aug. 14, jazz vocalist Cyrille Aimee takes the stage.

The daughter of a Dominican mother and French father, she is known for her highly rhythmic-based approach to jazz singing, "incorporating a Gallic gypsy swing with hints of salsa and samba into well-worn standards and original compositions," according to a press release. She was the winner of both the Montreux and Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competitions. Aimee grew up in the village of Samois-sur-Seine, France, known for its connection to gypsy guitar icon Django Reinhardt.

Donal Fox, a composer and pianist, performs Mashups in Afro-Blue music on Friday, Aug. 15. A former Guggenheim fellow, Fox is known for his fusion of jazz, classical and Afro-Cuban rhythms. "His intricate compositions and dizzying improvisations could recall Thelonious Monk one moment and Bach the next while creating his own wholly unique approach to music," according to a release. Fox is a recent recipient of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters Academy Award in Music.

The remaining festival concerts feature the Kenny Barron Trio on Aug. 16. The Los Angeles Times named Barron one of the top jazz pianists in the world. Barron has received more than nine Grammy nominations for his albums, and in 2005, he was inducted into the American Jazz Hall of Fame.

There are two concerts on Aug. 17, starting with "Swing Xing!," a concert which showcases three of the top swing guitarists in the world -- Bucky Pizzarelli, Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniola, at a 2 p.m. show.

Then on Aug. 17 at 7 p.m., the final festival concert features the Christian McBride Trio. McBride has been called one of the most exciting jazz artists of the modern era.


Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-675-2706, or via email at


If you go ...

What: Rockport Jazz Festival, now in its third year

When: Aug. 13 through August 17. The show opens next Wednesday with Jazz at Lincoln Center drummer Ali Jackson at 8 p.m.

Where: Shalin Liu Performance Center at 37 Main St. in Rockport.

For tickets, full schedule and information, visit, or call the box office at 978-546-7391, which is located at 35 Main St. in Rockport.


(c)2014 Gloucester Daily Times (Gloucester, Mass.)

Visit the Gloucester Daily Times (Gloucester, Mass.) at

Distributed by MCT Information Services

For more stories covering arts and entertainment, please see HispanicBusiness' Arts & Entertainment Channel

Source: Gloucester Daily Times (MA)

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters