JVC Jazz Fest plans Wilson 70th b'day party

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NEW YORK -- A belated swinging 70th birthday party with an all-star guest list is planned for Nancy Wilson at this year's JVC Jazz Festival.

The pop-jazz songstress, who turned 70 on Feb. 20, won her third Grammy Award earlier this year in the category of best jazz vocal album for "Turned to Blue," which draws on her experiences in a five-decade career as an entertainer.

At the June 29 Carnegie Hall concert, Wilson and her trio will be joined by special guests including jazz vocalists Nnenna Freelon, Dianne Reeves and Kurt Elling; pianists Herbie Hancock and Ramsey Lewis; and violinist Regina Carter.

The 2007 JVC Jazz Festival will present more than 300 performers in nearly 200 programs at concert halls, jazz clubs and other venues around New York City from June 17 through June 30.

"This year, you can count on two weeks of outstanding music featuring some of the best of traditional, straight-ahead, contemporary, big band, Second Line, R&B, Latin, world music and more," said George Wein, chairman of Festival Productions, in a press release Tuesday announcing the program.

Other festival highlights include 80th-birthday tributes for both singer Eartha Kitt and alto saxophonist Lee Konitz. Bassist Ron Carter, who recently turned 70, will take the Carnegie Hall stage June 27 to perform with four different groups, including a quartet in which he will be reunited with Hancock and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, who played with him in Miles Davis' 1960s quintet.

Among the other headliners: New Orleans' Preservation Hall Jazz Band; saxophonists Branford Marsalis and Joshua Redman; pianist Keith Jarrett's trio; vocalists India.Arie, Lizz Wright, Patti LaBelle and Cape Verde's Cesaria Evora; French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty; and banjo player Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.
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