The 2009 Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, held June 27-28 at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY, attracted 12,027 fans. The draw signals a one percent increase over 2008, according to recently released numbers for the two-day event.
More than 20 performers were on the bill this year, including Patti LaBelle, George Benson, Bettye LaVette, Marcus Miller, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, and a presentation of “Kind of Blue @ 50” with Jimmy Cobb’s So What Band. Cobb, a prolific jazz drummer, is the last surviving musician from the original 1959 recording sessions for Miles Davis’ seminal album “Kind of Blue.”
Next year’s festival will be held on June 26-27, marking the event’s 33rd year. The festival is co-presented by SPAC and Absolutely Live Entertainment, LLC.
“We are grateful that in these difficult economic times, attendance for the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival increased over last year,” said Marcia J. White, SPAC’s president and executive director, in a statement. “It’s a result that underscores the strength of the program developed by our partner Danny Melnick, president of Absolutely Live Entertainment, and it also suggests that people are prioritizing quality time and experiences with family and friends, perhaps now more than ever.”
Melnick, who was also the festival’s director and producer from 1999 through 2008 previously commented, “It is an honor for me to be co-presenting the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival with SPAC… The artists love coming to Saratoga. Enhancing it all is SPAC’s incredible setting in the Spa State Park with its large lawn, perfect for picnicking and relaxing. As one longtime jazz fan said to me, ‘The music is always great, but it’s all about the “hang” in Saratoga.'”