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Jazz fest kicks off 25 years

BURLINGTON Forget robins, red-winged blackbirds, and rabbits. The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival has announced its 2008 program, and that means spring is truly here. Except for just a couple more snowstorms, of course. Led by Ledisi, the Festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary from May 30 to June 8. Who is Ledisi? you ask. Good question. Ledisi Anibade Young fulfills one of the essential purposes of the Festivalto broaden awareness and appreciation of jazz through quality live performances of national and regional scope. Although not famous now, Ledisi will be legendary, predicts veteran music producer/composer Rex Rideout. Nominated in 2007 for Grammy Awards as Best New Artist and for Best R&B Album, Ledisi has been described as a combination of Lady Ella Fitzgerald and hip-hop, neo-soul singer Erykah Badu. A few years from now, Festival attendees may say that they Discovered Ledisi on her way to the top. At the top for over 50 years, pianist Dave Brubeck will grace the Flynn MainStage on June 6. Brubeck is a Discover Jazz Festival unto himself. He was enormously influential in promoting jazz with the white middle-class audience during the 1950s and 60s. At the age of 87, he continues to write new works and tirelessly tours about 80 cities every year. Tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman, an innovative promoter of all kinds of jazz, returns to the MainStage on May 31. As The Rough Guide to Jazz emphasizes, Redman reinterprets everything from The Beatles, Stevie Wonder and Joni Mitchell tunes, through material by Prince, to Rodgers and Hart and Cole Porter. The great Ornette Coleman climaxes the Festival on June 7. A major innovator of the free jazz movement 50 years ago, Coleman was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in Music last year for his most recent album, Sound Grammar. The honor came almost half a century after the release of his album The Shape of Things to Come, described by Allmusic as a watershed event in the genesis of avant-garde jazz, profoundly steering its future course and throwing down a gauntlet that some still haven't come to grips with... The Festival will also showcase other performers like Paquito DRiveras Funk Tango Quintet, Trio 3, Lionel Loueke, hardcell, Marcia Ball, Eek-A-Mouse, and Vermonts own Paul Asbell, Nicholas Cassarino, and James Harvey. In addition, there will be many community events, including Big Joe Burrell Day in City Hall Park on May 31. For complete information about the Discover Jazz Festival, Take Five see www.discoverjazz.com.

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