The 22nd annual Deer Isle Jazz Festival brings acclaimed pianist Taborn to Stonington Opera House on July 29-30
STONINGTON- Opera House Arts is pleased to announce the 22nd Annual Deer Isle Jazz Festival on July 29-30 at 7 p.m. at Stonington Opera House. On Friday, July 29, Craig Taborn will perform solo piano and the first act is George Stevens Academy’s The Tasty Bites conducted by Phelan Gallagher. On Saturday, July 30, enjoy an all-star collective trio: Craig Taborn Uncommon Prayers with Mary Halvorson on guitar and Ches Smith on drums and vibraphone. The opening act features saxophonist Danny Fisher-Lochhead’s ensemble of Ryan Blotnick on guitar, Brain Shankar Adler on drums and percussion, and special guest tap dancer Orlando Hernandez. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit operahousearts.org. Mandatory face masks.
The Deer Isle Jazz Festival has been a staple of Deer Isle’s summer and the cornerstone of Opera House Arts’ year-round programming since 2001 – breaking boundaries, deepening lasting community bonds with jazz musicians world-class and encouraging local jazz talent. “The experience of sharing live music is more powerful than ever right now,” said Jazz Festival co-founder Larry Blumenfeld, who writes about music for the Wall Street Journal and fell in love with Deer. Isle decades ago. “And the magic of Craig Taborn’s piano playing blends perfectly with our intimate opera with acoustic charm. Meditative musical atmospheres will envelop us, sonic surprises will resound and harmonics will dance around the rafters.
This year’s festival features pianist Taborn, who, as the Sunday New York Times Magazine said, “has become one of the finest living jazz pianists”. In this profile, Adam Shatz wrote, “The beauty of his artistry lies largely in his ability to discover new sounds on the piano, from keys to strings; his playing inspires something rare in music today, a sense of wonder. Taborn, who received a prestigious 2022 American Artist Fellowship, was born in Minneapolis, MN. and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. For more than 25 years, he has been pushing the boundaries of jazz and creative music as well as acoustic and electronic music. Taborn’s solo performances are singular events where sung forms and free improvisation mingle. The trio he brings to the Opera is a collective of established composers-musicians-conductors; NPR called guitarist Mary Halvorson “the most forward-looking guitarist right now,” and Ches Smith is one of New York’s most sought-after drummers.
As is festival tradition, opening performances each night will feature rising stars from Maine musicians and local student bands. On July 29, the opening band will be The Tasty Bites, an eight-piece ensemble from George Stevens Academy consisting of Jenna Blodgett (tenor sax, vocals), Nora Spratt (trombone), Gabe Hall (trumpet), Austin Chandler ( bass, keyboards), Andy Hipsky (guitar, bass), Morgan Davis (piano, vibes) and Tony Esposito (drums). The group is led by Phelan Gallagher, who took over the GSA jazz reins from beloved educator Steve Orlofsky.
The opening band on Saturday July 30 will be led by saxophonist Danny Fisher-Lochhead. He has lived in the Bar Harbor area for six years and has performed at two previous Deer Isle Jazz Festivals. Last year Fisher-Lochhead performed with a quartet, including a returning tap dancer this year, and brought together a new group to perform original compositions.
The Deer Isle Jazz Festival has broken new boundaries and enriched the state’s cultural life since its inception in 2001. The event drew fans from across the New England region to the 250-storey former vaudeville house seats with charming 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, the heroes of free -jazz 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 on the city quay, the music from the Opera slipped and slipped through the air.”
Opera House Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was founded in 1999 to restore the 1912 Stonington Opera House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, to its original role as a performance hall and community gathering space. We offer a year-round professional program of theatre, music, film, dance, educational programs, community events, and more. Performances take place at several venues, including the Stonington Opera House, the restored Burnt Cove Church Community Center, and specific venues in Deer Isle and Stonington, Maine. Opera House Arts programs are open to all winter and summer residents and visitors to Hancock County, with a particular focus on residents of Deer Isle and the Blue Hill Peninsula.