Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis, legends, will be coming to Syracuse in July

Wynton Marsalis will bring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to the M&T Syracuse Jazz Fest on July 17. His stamp poster is revealed by Melanie Littlejohn of main stage sponsor National Grid as founder and executive director Frank Malfitano looks on.

Wynton Marsalis will bring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to the M&T Syracuse Jazz Fest on July 17. His stamp poster is revealed by Melanie Littlejohn of main stage sponsor National Grid as founder and executive director Frank Malfitano looks on.

The names were announced for this July’s M&T Syracuse Jazz Fest and the top two were huge.

Aretha Franklin will be singing on Saturday night, July 18, on the rolling hills of the campus of Onondaga Community College, and Wynton Marsalis will lead the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra the night of July 17.

That’s very cool for the 33rd edition of this city’s free-admission festival.

You can read my weekly community blog column about today’s announcement on Syracuse Public Media site waer.org by clicking the link below.

http://waer.org/post/aretha-franklin-wynton-marsalis-return-mt-syracuse-jazz-festival-july-17-18-occ

Sure, I’m excited for both of those headliners. I dig Aretha’s long line of hits, and the big band sound can’t be stopped.

I mean, Aretha. The Queen of Soul. She was pretty cool the last time she headlined this festival, just the other day. Year. Decade. It was for 25th anniversary celebration of the fest, in 2008. And some eight years ago, when she was 65, she was getting over an illness, and wasn’t at her strongest. Ms. Franklin turns 73 on March 25. I’m not being an ageist here, ever. I’ve seen plenty of artists up there deliver the goods in my decades of covering music.

Yet I also still have last year’s headline set by B.B. King, and the awkward experience of that 88-year-old’s forgetfulness that made me fret and sweat for him, in the back of my brain. So still the term legend to me now comes with a bit of wariness attached. Fortunately, I spied Aretha chatting with the young Idols of FOX’s singing competition earlier this season, and she seemed sharp as ever. Wynton Marsalis, he of the New Orleans Marsalis crew, he’s a mere 53, a pup of a legend.

Lake Street Dive and Aretha Franklin will perform at the M&T Syracuse Jazz Fest on July 18, and their stamp posters are revealed by Carrie Lazarus and Joanie Mahoney, respectively.

Lake Street Dive and Aretha Franklin will perform at the M&T Syracuse Jazz Fest on July 18, and their stamp posters are revealed by Carrie Lazarus and Joanie Mahoney, respectively.

And fest founder and executive director Frank Malfitano, in an interview following the news conference today, said not to worry.

“She’s at the top of her game,” Malfitano said. “Her new album clinched it for me. I was able to hear her work with Clive Davis and take classics from Chaka Khan and other greats and make them sound better than the originals. She is better than ever. Not an exaggeration, she is the greatest.”

Here’s a video of scholastic group Notified I shot with my iPhone 6 at the conference. They’ll be playing at the fest.

Have you seen Aretha Franklin perform, and if so, when and what did you think? What are your favorite Aretha songs, and why? Big band orchestras, favorite and why?

30 thoughts on “Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis, legends, will be coming to Syracuse in July

  1. I didn’t know Aretha was still performing. That’s pretty amazing. That will be a treat for people who have never seen her. I’ve never seen her. That would be fun to see.

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  2. Aretha Franklin!? OMG she is amazing! I grew up listening to her fabulous music and loved it! Speaking of singers growing older. I went to a concert of Willy Nelson and he had grown quite old but still gave a great performance.

    Like

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