By Jared D. Childress | OBSERVER Staff Writer
The 90-minute drive to Napa will be well worth it.
The Blue Note Jazz Festival returns July 28-30 at the Silverado Resort. This year’s festival commemorates the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, celebrating jazz’s influence on the beloved genre.
Music’s biggest names will headline the three-day affair. The weekend kicks off with the incomparable Mary J. Blige. The legendary Nas plays Saturday and Chance the Rapper wraps it up Sunday.
Robert Glasper is this year’s artist-in-residence. The Grammy-winning, cross-genre jazz artist takes center stage each day. Glasper, a pianist with a catalog of classic collaborations, will perform with De La Soul, Lalah Hathaway and Terrace Martin, and Bilal.
And Dave Chapelle is hosting. That alone is a reason to attend.
The Blue Note Jazz Festival was established in 2011 in New York City, becoming the largest jazz festival in the Big Apple. The festival decided to show love to the West Coast, expanding to Napa Valley in 2022.
Three stages will feature performances daily. Additional acts include Parliament-Funkadelic featuring George Clinton, Ari Lenox, Talib Kweli and Madlib, Rakim & DJ Jazzy, Meshell Ndegeocello, Big Freedia, and more.
Last year’s inaugural festival sold out on the first day. Tickets for this year’s event are on sale now.
Alex Kurland, director of programming, said the wine-country festival has an intimate culture that leaves room for spontaneity.
“There are moments that occur out of thin air that we can’t expect,” Kurland said. He said there are often on-the-spot collaborations where “talent [that] may have only dreamed of working together [get] together for the first time at the festival.”
Ed Sheeran, a singer-songwriter known for his smash hit “Shape of You,” recently made an unplanned, surprise appearance July 17 at the Blue Note jazz club in New York. The superstar performed with Frédéric Yonnet, a French-born, urban jazz harmonicist who will perform in Napa.
“We ended up jamming for 20 minutes,” Yonnet said in a statement to The OBSERVER. “It created an amazing memory for everybody in the room.”
Expectations are high for the Napa festival to have similar, once-in-a-lifetime surprises.
Ticket options are available in general admission and VIP packages, including single-day tickets; weekend passes for Saturday and Sunday; three-day passes; and after-party tickets. Layaway is available with a $99 deposit for general admission and a $199 deposit for VIP, excluding single-day tickets.
All VIP passes include front-stage exclusive viewing at all stages; VIP courtyard lounge; shaded viewing areas; air-conditioned, luxury restrooms; exclusive food and beverage vendors; exclusive VIP merch area; priority parking; and more.
To learn more or buy tickets, visit bluenotejazz.com/jazz-festival-napa.