Exclusive: Blue Note Jazz Festival, Robert Glasper Team Up For The Black Radio Experience In Napa

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With the success of the two jazz festivals Napa Valley, Blue Note and five-time Grammy-award winning musician Robert Glasper are teaming up for a new intimate three-day event in wine country titled The Black Radio Experience, which will take place Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at The Meritage Resort and Spa.

The boutique festival curated by Glasper builds on what organizers accomplished the past two years with the Blue Note Jazz Festival. Last year’s event was hosted by comedian Dave Chappelle and featured Mary J. Blige, Nas and Chance the Rapper as headliners, and in 2022, Chaka Khan, Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli as Black Star and Maxwell received top billing. The lineup for the new iteration of Blue Note’s Napa Valley series will be revealed In April and fans can purchase festival passes and VIP packages when the general onsale begins March 7 at 9 a.m. PST.

Alex Kurland, Blue Note’s director of programming and talent buyer, tells Pollstar that the event “goes beyond music” and includes a “special lineup of food, wine art and cultural experiences,” complementing Glasper’s vision.

“The process around the talent lineup has been a result of Robert Glasper’s vibe and the culture of Blue Note Jazz Club,” Kurland says. “Robert’s artistry, influence, background, taste and his aura shape the talent and tone each year. The meeting point and connections between everything going on within the spaces of jazz, R&B, hip-hop and beyond are what the lineup draws from.

“I think the festival’s artistry is more about the vibe than placing labels around genres or categories. The elements of improvisation and spontaneity are richly celebrated,” he adds. “Collaboration moments occur organically. Robert’s influence and inspiration creates a strong bond amongst the artists and culture bearers in attendance.”

Response to the previous two jazz festivals in Napa has been “remarkable,” Kurland says, but the organizers wanted to change it up this year by offering a more intimate and boutique feel, similar to the experience of watching a musician perform at the iconic Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City.

Robert Glasper (Photo by Todd Cooper)
Robert Glasper will curate Blue Note’s The Black Radio Experience, a boutique festival that will be held in Napa Valley from Aug. 30-Sept. 1. (Photo by Todd Cooper)

“Three things that really set the approach apart is the event is notably intimate,” Kurland says. “You really feel the power of the music, connection and the vibe. Secondly, exciting collaboration moments occur throughout the festival. We plan for the unknown, and it is always exciting to embrace spontaneity. Thirdly, our whole approach is highly focused on the artist’s experience and for the artist to feel a deeper and greater meaning. “

The quaintness and great weather in Napa Valley certainly help in developing intimacy between artists and fans. With a jazz club in Napa, Kurland said it made sense for the Blue Note company to strengthen its presence in the area.

“We’re motivated to grow and expand the presence and presentation of the Blue Note brand in different creative formats and make an impact in different markets,” Kurland says. “The format, vibe and feel of The Black Radio Experience this year will be even more intimate, boutique and exclusive as a destination getaway experience.”

For more information about Blue Note Jazz and tickets to the festival, visit bluenotejazz.com/black-radio-experience/.