“It’s the kind of s— I love being part of,” Snoop Dogg told the crowd on night two of the Blue Note Jazz Festival in California’s Napa Valley.— it’s stealing.”
During the weekend of July 29 to 31, artist in residence Robert Glasper and Blue Note Records have left an undeniable impression on wine country. Held at Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena, the intimate festival for hardcore audiophiles drew a notable adult and sexy audience, which included the likes of Oakland collective SOL Development, actor Anthony Anderson, music icon hip hop Nas and others.
One of the most diverse events to hit Napa Valley, Blue Note Jazz featured performances from Shaka KhanMaxwell, Snoop Dogg, flying lotus, Thundercat and many more. The atmosphere was open, positive and visibly relaxed.
On Friday, backstage informal conversations took place between Terrace Martin, D Smoke and Madlib, while festival host Dwyane Wade Dave Chappelle, and “Black-ish” star Miles Brown showed off his best moves on a makeshift basketball hoop. Originally planned as a two-day event, the late addition of Friday programming reduced attendance. Still, that didn’t stop the musicians from making surprise appearances during each other’s sets, sharing their mutual admiration and showering the crowd with love.
Chaka Khan had already gone through classics like “Tell Me Something Good”, “Sweet Thing” and “I’m Every Woman” during his Friday headlining set. But when she walked into Prince-engineered “I Feel For You,” with everyone already bouncing to the beat, Kamasi Washington returned to the stage after her dynamic performance to hit a saxophone solo. hard. “The inaugural festival brought together great cultural icons through both their love of exceptional music and the camaraderie of their artistic community,” Alex Kurland, director of programming at Blue Note, said by press release.
Looking better than ever, Chaka Khan’s songs were rehearsed by the crowd, who fully engaged with the sounds and his sparkling stage presence. Khan’s performance was backed up by his band and backing vocals, who were on fire from start to finish. It was a party from then on, so when Dinner Party – the jazz/hip-hop hybrid supergroup created by Glasper, Martin, Washington and GRAMMY-winning producer 9th Wonder — took the stage, it was the icing on the cake of an excellent evening.
yasin bey and Talib Kweli arrived ahead of their Saturday performance as Black Star and took part in Dinner Party’s tribute to Herbie Hancock. They were later joined by Chappelle and Katt Williams, who made legalized joints. Almost immediately, a signature scent permeated the crowd, signaling the start of the main event: Snoop Dogg. Chappelle called the Long Beach legend a “cultural miracle” for his transition from bona fide mobster to pop culture icon, which led Snoop to rummage through his bag of hits including “Next Episode,” “Gin and Juice” and “Beautiful.”
Although Erykah Badu didn’t perform as scheduled on Saturday, the multi-stage event was still filled with an electrifying mix of hip-hop, jazz, funk and comedy. Phony Ppl, the Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn-based progressive band, gave a stellar performance despite a small audience. Lead singer Elbee Thrie would jump off stage multiple times to engage with cooler-than-cool listeners, keeping them dancing and grooving to songs like “Before You Get A Boyfriend” and “Why iii Love The Moon.” When they entered their Megan you stallion-the single “Fkn Around”, everyone was moving in unison.
Thundercat and Flying Lotus were also in rare form, as both put on a virtuoso display. “I was a rabid alcoholic” thundercat told the crowd, celebrating his third year of sobriety, “as we sit here surrounded by Napa Valley wine.” The Bass Gawd entered “I Love Louis Cole” from the 2020s It’s like that, displaying his lavish playing with a mouth-watering six-string bass solo. FlyLo was in his bag, performing a collection of mixes and crowd favorites, which had set the stage for the full excursion into rapping ahead of his 50th birthday.
As the sun went down, Chappelle launched the first-ever live public recording of his award-winning podcast, “The Midnight Miracle” – the second season presented by Luminary and co-hosted by yasiin bey and Talib Kweli. “We are all witnesses to history,” Chappelle said. “It’s the best America has to offer in music. What a festival. What a weekend.”
Most people in the field grew up with Black Star’s 1998 debut album in constant rotation. As “Astronomy (8th Light),” “Brown Skin Lady,” and “Definition” played under the night sky, it was a curfew-breaking opportunity to see two emcees busy on the mic. At the end of the affair, as the two embark on new songs from No fear of time and solo tracks like “Umi Says” and “Get By,” the Saturday night show, anything goes, became a who’s who of stage luminaries. BJ the Chicago Kid, James Poyser, J. Ivy, Christian Scott (Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah), Derrick Hodge, Keyon Harrold and Isaiah Sharkey all took part in the adulation for a job well done.
The crowd of 6,000 was eager to see Maxwell sharing her baby-making vibes on Sunday. Dressed impeccably, the good guy from Brooklyn dedicated his headliner to all the lovers in the audience. His connection with the crowd was beautiful, and as we all loved being in his Urban suspension suitesongs such as “Pretty Wings” and “Stop the World” brought the Blue Note Napa Valley Festival to a gentle close.
Relive the music, friendship and thrills of Newport Folk 2022 in this immersive photo gallery
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