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Preview: Spoleto Festival 2022 is back live and so is the jazz! by Larry Reni Thomas
(Published: May 19, 2022)

Jazz music lovers are thoroughly excited, smiling and extremely happy about the jazz lineup for the upcoming 46th Annual Spoleto Festival USA, in beautiful, scenic, historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina. The 17-day (May 27-June 12, 2022) festival, which features theater, opera, dance, visual art, special events, artist talks and music, is without question, one of America's must-see and must-be-at cultural events of the summer season. Since its beginnings in 1977, the festival in this pleasant-looking port city, has become the perfect place to be to begin the Memorial Day weekend holiday. The city's climate, food, scenery, with its palm trees and sea breeze, always makes for a good time for most of the locals and for the thousands who come from all over the world.

There has always been jazz music offered at the festival, but, this year's list of artists, with seven first-class acts, and sponsorship from Wells Fargo Bank, is by far one of the best. It all begins Sunday, May 29, 2022, at The Cistern Yard, an outdoor venue on the campus of The College Of Charleston, with a 9 p.m. concert featuring the Senegalese vocalist and bandleader, Youssou NDOUR: Mbalax Unplugged.. (N"DOUR will also be interviewed by jazz critic Larry Blemenfeld at 5 p.m.in a program called "Jazz Talks" at Randolph Hall, on the campus of the College of Charleston.) The next night, Monday, May 30, 2022, South African pianist Nduduzo Makhathini, will perform at 9 p.m. at The Cistern Yard.

On Thursday, June 2, 2022, bassist Linda May Han Oh and her Cuban husband, pianist Fabian Almazan are scheduled to perform at 7:00 p.m. at Festival Hall. They will also perform from June 3-6, 2022. On Saturday night, at 9 p.m., reed man Ravi Coltrane, at The Cistern Yard, in a performance, titled "Universal Consciousness, The Melodic Meditations of Alice Coltrane."

Sunday night, June 5, 2022, at 9 p.m,the much-talked drummer Tyshawn Sorey, pianist Aaron Deihl and the bassist Matt Brewer, will be featured at Cistern Yard. Sorey will also participate in "Jazz Talks" with jazz critic Larry Blemenfeld, at Randolph Hall at The College of Charleston at 5 p.m. June 2, 2022, as well as a 5 p.m. performance called "Tyshawn Sorey for Orchestra."at The College of Charleston, Sottile Theater.

On Friday night, June 10, 2022, at 7 p.m., the busy, much-acclaimed, female vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant, will get a third chance to show the festival attendees why some jazz critics are calling her an original who may be the best thing to happen to the music since Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. She performed in Charleston at Spoleto in 2012 and in 2016, after she won The Thelonious Monk International Vocal Competition in 2010. She admitted, during a recent telephone interview from her Brooklyn, New York apartment, that her career has definitely changed since then. She also said that being compared to some of her influences or being called by some critics the next new rising female jazz star vocalist, was a bit unrealistic.

"I don't know about that," said Salvant, a Grammy winner, in a recent interview. "I am definitely performing more, but, I don't look at it that way. My influences, however, make up a long list -- people like Billie, Sarah, Ella Fitzgerald and Abbey Lincoln. But, one of my favorite vocalist of all time is Lil Hardin Armstrong. I just love her record (1938) with her big band ‘Harlem On Saturday Night.' I love her singing and her piano playing. It has a lot of fun energy. I'm excited about coming back to Charleston for the third time."


What a wonderful way to end an excellent blissful variety-filled, fresh, innovative week of American Classical Music, commonly called "jazz." Supreme congratulations to Larry Blumenfeld and his staff. Thanks for what looks to be a long fun-filled visit to jazz heaven and a charming chance for Charleston to definitely help us let the good times roll!

For more information about the annual Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, May 27-June 12. 2022, call (843) 722-2764 or go to; www.spoletousa.org.

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