Hailey Niswanger Quartet Performs at Freihofer’s Jazz Fest

By
Nick Balkin
June 10, 2010
The Hailey Niswanger Quartet. From left: Mark Whitfield Jr., drums; Hailey Niswanger, saxophones; Justin Richey, bass; Takeshi Ohbayashi, piano
Photo by Kelly Davidson

The Hailey Niswanger Quartet, comprised of some of the brightest scholarship talent from Berklee College of Music, will be performing at the 33rd Freihofer's Jazz Festival in Saratoga Springs, New York, an annual event featuring 20 hours of live jazz on two stages over two days. Artists appearing at the festival include Gladys Knight, Al Jarreau, George Duke, Al DiMeola, Ahmad Jamal, Juan de Marcos, Stefon Harris, and more. 

Freihofer's Jazz Festival takes place June 26–27 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, 108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs, New York. The Hailey Niswanger Quartet performs on the Gazebo Stage, Sunday, June 27 at noon. For tickets and information, please visit spac.org.

Hailey Niswanger's accomplishments reach far beyond the borders of her home in Portland, Oregon, and well beyond her years. The alto saxophonist has shared the stage with jazz greats Dee Dee Bridgewater, George Duke, George Garzone, Red Holloway, Terell Stafford, Phil Woods, James Moody, Steve Nelson, Christian McBride, McCoy Tyner, Maceo Parker, Wynton Marsalis, and Mark Whitfield, among others. Her own quartet has performed at the Portland Jazz Festival, Jimmy Mak's Jazz Club, Mt. Hood Jazz Festival, and other venues around Portland. In September 2009 she was selected as the new alto saxophonist for the internationally acclaimed big band the Either/Orchestra, occupying the chair previously held by Miguel Zenon and Jaleel Shaw.

Niswanger's June 2009 recording debut as a leader, Confeddie, established her throughout North America. The album was reviewed in Jazz Times and Jazziz and inspired veteran jazz critic Nat Hentoff to profile her in the Wall Street JournalConfeddie appeared on the Jazz Week Top 50 chart three times and was among the top 100 jazz CDs in the country for two months. Niswanger was a featured artist at the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where she won the festival's saxophone competition in 2008.

Niswanger's appearance is presented in collaboration with the Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI), a unique focused area of study at the college designed to foster creativity and musicianship. Grammy-winning jazz pianist Danilo Perez serves as its artistic director. 

Saratoga Performing Arts Center's Freihofer's Jazz Festival is different. Set in SPAC's breathtaking setting in the Saratoga Spa State Park, the forested, expansive grounds are the perfect setting for enjoying world-class jazz by the biggest names. Colorful blankets and tents are "home" for fans who enjoy an extravaganza of jazz innovation. From r&b to swing, from Latin jazz to fusion, the festival celebrates the music and genius of artists from every corner of the jazz tradition. Simply put, it's a place tailor-made for "hanging out."