When the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) canceled last year’s Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival for the first time in 42 years—or at least the live, in-person one—fans knew that it would likely be a game-time decision whether the weekend-long event would return the next summer. But with vaccinations beyond the 70 percent threshold and the State wide open again, out came the news of the festival’s triumphant return.
Given that fans already had a jump on the headliners, which included Dianne Reeves, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Christian McBride, Al Di Meola, Joey Alexander and Artemis, along with talented Saratoga Springs–based musicians Garland Nelson and Hot Club of Saratoga, they knew this year’s event was going to be special.
Despite some grumblings about SPAC continuing its effort to provide socially distanced, pod seating, this weekend’s event went off without a hitch. Click on the above image to take a look at some highlights from the 2021 Jazz Fest’s big comeback moment.