This summer, the 46th Annual Hampton Jazz Festival will offer more of the same reliable music: well-aged R&B and its mature contemporary spawn. Little, if any, jazz will be heard.
And that seems to be just fine with the faithful, mostly baby boomer attendants, who often use the venerable festival as the centerpiece for family reunions.
The three-day concert kicks off Friday, June 28 with the O’Jays and Gladys Knight, a favorite at the Hampton Jazz Festival for 40 years. Kem, whose style is an amiable cross between Al Jarreau and Anita Baker, is also on the bill that night. Rounding out the show will be Leela James, a promising soul shouter with a gutsy approach reminiscent of ’70s soul sensations Gwen McCrae and Betty Wright.
On Saturday, the Heads of State – an off-shoot of the boy band New Edition featuring singers Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill – will headline. Former “American Idol” Fantasia will also perform along with jazz-pop legend George Benson. The Forte Jazz Band featuring Brian Pinner, a local act, will open that night.
Neo-soul darling Jill Scott returns for the second straight year, this time as the main attraction on Sunday. The trio of Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank, three moderately successful urban singers from the ’90s, will perform. And perennial favorites Bob James & David Sanborn, featuring Steve Gadd and James Genus, will bring their anodyne, groove-heavy smooth jazz to the stage. Karla Crump, a local singer, will open the show.
Read more: Roshod Ollison, HamptonRoads