SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Performing Arts Center announced the artists who will perform for the 2020 Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival.
Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Kool & The Gang, Cassandra Wilson and Taj Mahal were named as headlining acts who will perform on the amphitheatre stage during the two-day festival starting on Saturday, June 27. They are among a roster of 24 musical groups that include multiple Grammy Award winners and current 2020 Grammy-nominated artists.
This summer’s lineup showcases a variety of talent across multiple generations of musical heritage covering jazz, roots, funk, blues and more.
This June will mark the debut performances for 16 acts at Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival. They include Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Kool & The Gang, Ranky Tanky, Tiempo Libre, Little Freddie King, Ozmosys, Fly Higher: Charlie Parker @ 100, Matthew Whitaker, Amina Figarova Sextet Plus Strings, Kurt Elling & Danilo Perez Duo, Connie Han Trio, Carolyn Wonderland, Emmaline, Joyful Noise and Ryan Keberle & Catharsis featuring Camila Meza, Scott Robinson, Jorge Roeder & Eric Doob.
Cassandra Wilson is scheduled to return to SPAC this summer. She is joined by Taj Mahal, The Brubeck Brothers, Eliane Elias, Matt Wilson’s Honey & Salt and Javon Jackson Quartet featuring Jimmy Cobb as artists who will be celebrating their return to the Spa City.
Performances will begin each day on the Charles R. Wood “Jazz Discovery” Stage at 11 a.m., and performances on SPAC’s Amphitheater Stage will begin at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday and at 11:45 a.m. on Sunday.
“This June we will bring together funk, soul, R&B and classic jazz for a two-day party unlike anything this iconic festival has ever seen. Our headliners Nile Rodgers & CHIC and Kool & The Gang of hit song ‘Celebration’ will create an irresistible atmosphere,” Elizabeth Sobol, president and CEO of SPAC, said in a press release.
“The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Celebrate’/’Good Times’,” added Danny Melnick, the festival producer and president of Absolutely Live Entertainment. “Nile Rodgers & CHIC and Kool & The Gang are gonna’ ‘rock the house’ and, as always, the festival will present diverse and emerging artists such as Ranky Tanky, Matthew Whitaker, Amina Figarova, Carolyn Wonderland, Ryan Keberle, Connie Han, and Emmaline along with honoring the centennials of two jazz legends, Dave Brubeck and Charlie Parker.”
Founded in 1978 by jazz impresario George Wein, Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival is the fifth longest-consecutive-running jazz festival in North America. Initially founded as “the Newport Jazz Festival at Saratoga” the weekend event was renamed Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival in 1998. With an inside seating capacity of 5,200, and lawn seating of 20,000, the two-day, two-stage festival continues to be one of the largest jazz music events in North America, beloved by audiences for both the remarkable annual line-up of international jazz talent and the spectacular setting at the SPAC in the idyllic Saratoga Spa State Park.