Grammy awardwinning talent headlines annual jazz festival

Six-time Grammy Award nominee Nnenna Freelon. — Photo courtesy mvjazzbluessummer

Summer’s not over yet. And that’s not just judging by the sultry weather. One last multiday festival will heat up the Old Whaling Church this weekend as a farewell to the Vineyard season.

Throughout the course of a long Labor Day weekend, the Martha’s Vineyard Jazz and Blues Summerfest will bring a number of acclaimed musicians to the Island for a series of concerts. Headliners include Grammy awardwinner Lisa Fischer and six-time Grammy Award nominee Nnenna Freelon.

Vocalist and songwriter Lisa Fischer will appear along with her band Grand Baton. Ms. Fischer won the Grammy for best female R&B performance for “How Can I Ease the Pain.” She regularly tours and records with Beyoncé, the Rolling Stones, Sting, and others, and has performed with Luther Vandross and Tina Turner. A veteran Rolling Stones backup singer, Ms. Fischer routinely performs duets with Mick Jagger.

Nnenna Freelon has performed and toured with a virtual who’s who list of jazz, blues and R&B artists including Ray Charles, Al Jarreau, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Herbie Hancock, and George Benson, among others. In 2014, she starred in the critically acclaimed show “Georgia on My Mind: Celebrating the Music of Ray Charles” at the Venetian Las Vegas hotel, and she has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, among other venues.

Both women routinely appear as featured artists at the world’s most renowned jazz festivals, but this is their first outing on the Vineyard.

The festival will kick off with a free concert in Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs, featuring young, up-and-coming awardwinning jazz musicians. The concert will include a tribute to Tina Turner. Throughout the next three days, the female-heavy lineup featured at the Old Whaling Church shows will include Women of the World, a Boston-based collective of musicians hailing from Japan, India, Italy, Haiti, Mexico, and the United States who perform original and traditional folk music in over 17 languages. Returning to the festival for the third time will be Sage, the all-female jazz and blues vocal and instrumental ensemble who have performed at the 2009 and 2013 presidential Inaugural Balls for President Barack Obama, and for Major League Baseball All-Star Games.

A number of other veteran jazz players and rising stars of the jazz and blues world will fill out the lineups for the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening concerts. During the three days that the festival takes over the Whaling Church, the public is invited to visit the “Designers, Desserts, and Drinks Reception,” which will feature original artwork, handcrafted clothing, jewelry, and gifts. The receptions will be held from 3 to 10 each day, and are free of charge.

Martha’s Vineyard Jazz and Blues Summerfest, Sept. 3 at Union Chapel, Oak Bluffs; Sept. 4–6, Old Whaling Church, Edgartown. Tickets are $45 and up. For additional information, visit For tickets, visit