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Friday, Jan. 19 The Mingus Dynasty “Tijuana Moods” and the Tucson Jazz Institute Ellington Band; Fox Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
THE MINGUS DYNASTY, a nimble and expert ensemble, was the first band Sue Mingus organized after her husband Charles Mingus’ death in 1979. Although big bands like the Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey bands had continued to perform after their leader passed on, a similar legacy never existed for smaller ensembles. Because Mingus always said he was first and foremost a composer, and because he left behind over 300 compositions that deserved to be played, a band carrying on his music became a natural, if unanticipated, mission. For the sake of authenticity, the first Dynasty bands were expected to include only musicians who had actually performed with Mingus—except for the bass player of course. Today, nearly 40 years later, the rich legacy of Mingus music ignites the bandstand while new generations of musicians—many of them not even alive during the composer’s lifetime—add their individual voices and continue to interpret and build on his compositions. The band comprises Abraham Burton, tenor saxophone; Alex Sipiagin, trumpet; Ku-umba Frank Lacy, trombone; Helen Sung, piano; Boris Kozlov, bass and Donald Edwards, drums.
Tucson Jazz Institute Ellington Band, directed by Doug Tidaback, comprises high school musicians from southern Arizona who study at this award-winning community music school. This big band (one of six at the TJI), loved for their swinging, diverse and energetic big band sounds, was the #1 High School Big Band winner two years in a row (2013 and 2014) and in 2017 of the prestigious national Jazz at Lincoln Center Essentially Ellington Competition presided over by Wynton Marsalis. They were in the top three in 2015 and 2016. Other awards include first place in the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival earning them a spot to perform at the 2012 festival and they were named the Best Community Jazz Band in the 35th Annual Student Music Awards in DownBeat magazine in 2012 and 2013. Their alumni attend some of the most prestigious schools in the nation (many on scholarship) including Julliard, the Manhattan School of Music, The New England Conservatory, Princeton, USC and Swarthmore and have gone on to major careers in jazz music.
Saturday, Jan. 20 Spyro Gyra, Rialto Theatre, 7:30 p.m. SOLD OUT!
SPYRO GYRA is an unlikely story of a group with humble beginnings in Buffalo, NY who has continued to reach an international audience over 40 years, resulting in sales of over 10 million albums and having played over 5,000 shows on six continents. They have accomplished this due to a forward looking approach combined with the work ethic of an underdog, always challenging themselves to do something new while never resting on past success. It has proven to be a recipe for longevity for this jazz group while music has gone in and out of styles in ever shorter cycles. Spyro Gyra are contemporary jazz icons who observed their 40th year as a band in 2014 with shows that showcased their breakthrough Morning Dance album. After that year of looking back, they decided to spend 2015 concentrating on their more recent material, playing many songs from their post 2000 releases. The audience reaction was so positive to their recent material that bandleader Jay Beckenstein decided that their albums from that period deserved a little more focus. So, in order to spotlight this innovative and productive period, Spyro Gyra released The Best Of The Heads Up Years in 2016. They released their last, their 30th, album of new material The Rhinebeck Sessions in 2013, which JazzTimes called “inspired.” Travis Rogers of the Jazz Journalists Association picked it for Jazz Album Of The Year. Something Else Reviews called it “Their finest album since their early 80s heyday” and made it a TopTwenty pick for the year. George Harris of the Jazz Weekly enthused, “I gotta tell ya, these guys still sound GREAT.” “My hope is that our music has the same effect on the audience that it does on me,” says group leader Jay Beckenstein. “I’ve always felt that music, and particularly instrumental music, has this non-literal quality that lets people travel to a place where there are no words. Whether it’s touching their emotions or connecting them to something that reminds them of something much bigger than themselves, there’s this beauty in music that’s not connected to sentences. It’s very transportive. I would hope that when people hear our music or come to see us, they’re able to share that with us.”
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Sunday, Jan. 21 Johnny Gibsons Jazz Brunch with Jeff Haskell, Jason Carder and Brice Winston 10 a.m.-2 p.m. No Cover charge.
Sunday, Jan. 21 Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and bassist/vocalist Jay Leonhardt, Club Congress, 7:30 p.m. SOLD OUT!
Wycliffe Gordon, trombonist, was born a musician’s son in Waynesboro, Georgia. He began playing music at age 12, drawn early to jazz by an extensive record collection bequeathed to his family. Wycliffe hard-swinging, straight-ahead style earned him Downbeat’s Critics Choice Award for Best Trombone (2016, 2012-2014), as well as their Rising Star Award for Tuba (2014). Named Trombonist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association nine times since 2001, Wycliffe tours regularly as a soloist and leads the Wycliffe Gordon Quartet. He has recorded 20 solo albums and eight co-leader albums including Hello Pops, A Tribute to Louis Armstrong and Dreams of New Orleans. Wycliffe has been featured on the Kennedy Center Jazz series and his work has been celebrated extensively via radio, television and film, including Wycliffe’s appearance as a soloist in Ken Burns’ documentary, Jazz. A composer and arranger, Wycliffe’s work is frequently commissioned: his arrangement of NPR’s All Things Considered theme is heard daily worldwide and he received the ASCAP Plus Award in 2016 and 2015 for his contributions as a composer. He has authored three educational books and is a dedicated instructor, having served as a resident at numerous institutions, and, formerly, as a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music.
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Jay Leonhart, bassist and vocalist, has been recognized as a very accomplished bass player for a long time now. He has been named the Outstanding Bassist in the Recording Industry three times and is always mentioned when the discussion turns to the outstanding. At age 13, while playing banjo with his brother in a Dixieland band in Baltimore, Jay watched and listened to the bass player and knew that the bass was the instrument he would play forever. Since that time Jay has been privileged to play with the likes of Judy Garland, Duke Ellington, Thad Jones, Buddy Rich, Jim Hall, Peggy Lee, Mel Tormé, Marian McPartland, Kenny Barron, Sting, James Taylor, Papa Joe Jones, Roy Eldridge, Jim Hall, Louie Bellson, Dick Hyman, Luciano Pavarotti and many more. Over th e years, Jay Leonhart has been writing and singing his own very individualistic songs about his life as a bass player. He now performs his music worldwide to very receptive audiences. Jay now appears primarily with his trio, which plays regularly at Birdland in New York, when not gainfully employed elsewhere.
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Enjoy a FREE outdoor concert with Autumn Dominguez Quintet live in Geronimo Plaza at 5pm ahead of Maceo Parker & His Big Band live in Centennial Hall at 8pm!
Autumn Celia Dominguez, sax; Anthony Gibes, trumpet; Jonathan Hines, piano; Jeffrey Sandburg, bass; and Kai Felix, drums
Saxophonist Autumn Dominguez has been illustrated by her mentors and peers as a, “passionate, humble, and captivating musician.” Mentor and jazz pianist Angelo Versace shared he was, “impressed by her work ethic, determination, and musical leadership.” Dominguez is the creator and host of “Strawberry Jam,” a popular jazz jam session favored by both Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona musicians. Currently, Dominguez lives in Tucson, where she works locally as a freelance musician and a private saxophone tutor.
Kick off the 2020 TUCSON JAZZ FESTIVAL with saxophonist MACEO PARKER: the man who embodies the legacy of soul and funk music like no other musician can. Always at the forefront, Maceo has been a common thread in the history of funk helping to pioneer the genre in collaborations with seminal icons like James Brown, George Clinton and Prince, all while honing his own signature brand of showmanship. Leading his flawlessly tight band which includes many former members of the Ray Charles Orchestra and features the Raelettes, Maceo transports audiences to the slickest of eras with positively timeless performances. Maceo says “I feel like we can’t say the word enough. We all could use a little more love in the world.” This performance is a fitting early celebration of Maceo’s 77th birthday (on Valentine’s Day) and of the longevity and importance of his role in music history.
In Partnership with UA Presents
Universally known as one of the most iconic saxophonists of the current age, DAVID SANBORN is a jazz musician at heart, but has transcended genres and musical boundaries throughout his entire career. Rolling Stone says, ‘Among the great saxophonists of the past four decades, David Sanborn has earned an identity all his own. He’s jazz, he’s funk, he’s soul, he’s pop, he’s blues, he’s rock. Most remarkably, he excels in each of these genres with a voice that is forceful and tender, sensuous and subtle.’ Sanborn has released 24 albums, won six Grammy Awards, and has had eight gold albums and one platinum. He continues to be one of the most active musicians of his genre and an inspiration to countless other musicians.
Returning to his passion for jazz, Sanborn recently assembled a stunning program of straight-ahead jazz tunes for his new quintet. At the 2020 TJF Sanborn is excited to collaborate and feature Geoffrey Keezer on Keys, Billy Kilson on Drums, Ben Williams on Bass and Michael Dease on Trombone.
WINNER of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest $20,000 Song of the Year Award for her song “Feels like Home”!
An unequivocal musical prodigy, singer-saxophonist-songwriter GRACE KELLY has rocked the jazz world with sold-out concerts, 13 acclaimed albums and a resume that includes performing at the Hollywood Bowl and as part of the house band for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” – all before reaching her mid-twenties.
Kelly’s early career featured performances at Barack Obama’s 2016 inauguration and as a soloist with the Boston Pops playing an original composition arranged for the legendary orchestra; she has since then played over 900 shows as bandleader in 35 countries at venues like the Kennedy Center and Moscow Symphony Hall and for the Montreal, Newport, and Montreux international jazz festivals. Touted for her scorching saxophone stylings and purring vocals, Kelly has performed and recorded with renowned artists including Lin Manuel-Miranda, Dave Brubeck, Phil Woods, Huey Lewis, Harry Connick Jr., Gloria Estefan and Wynton Marsalis.
Featured by Vanity Fair as a millennial shaking up the jazz world, Kelly’s state-of-the-art brand of electro jazz-pop and inventive digital content are pushing her to the forefront of the fusion scene, alongside names like Snarky Puppy, Jacob Collier, Cory Henry, Robert Glasper, Jon Batiste, and Too Many Zooz.
The media refer to #1 selling artist, AUBREY LOGAN, as “The Queen of Sass.” And it’s easy to see why. Her concerts are a mix of excellent musicality, jaw-dropping vocals, virtuoso trombone-playing, a breathtaking array of originals and original takes on cover songs and, well…fun! Aubrey Logan loves music, loves performing and loves her fans. And it shows. “My relationship with the audience is the most fun I can legally have!” she says. Very few artists can concentrate so fully on the music and yet be so connected to the people who have come to hear her. And that connection is magic.
Aubrey has seen a lot of recent success, with two albums in the top 10 within the last year. Her debut album, Impossible, immediately shot to the top 10 on the iTunes, Billboard and Amazon charts. And her next appearance on Summer Horns II, from A to Z (as a special guest of Dave Koz on Concord Records) became the #1 selling Contemporary Jazz Album on Billboard. Aubrey has spent more time at the top of the charts lately than she has in an airport, and travel has been a permanent fixture for her in the last couple of years.
DAVID HAZELTINE is one of a handful of contemporary pianists who has mastered all of the major musical skills, from improvisation and technique, to accompaniment, arranging, and composition. Even more impressive, David is the rare artist able to innovate in each category. Thus it’s no surprise that he’s the most recorded contemporary jazz pianist of our time, having recorded thirty five cd’s as a leader and hundreds more as a sideman, on various major labels globally. A Milwaukee native, David was playing the clubs as a preteen, and before he’d even come of age he was already grabbing the attention and respect of jazz legends like Sonny Stitt, and Chet Baker. They urged him to make the move to New York City, which he did in 1992.
David’s style appeals to a wide range of musical tastes and levels of sophistication. His melodies and harmonies are beautifully complex and memorable. As a composer and instrumentalist, he has developed a signature style that is readily recognizable. His cooperative group “One For All” featuring tenor great Eric Alexander, has attained critical acclaim with their impressive 16 cd discography, and live concerts worldwide including appearances at the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival.
Boasting a warm, finely burnished tone and a robust melodic and harmonic imagination, tenor saxophonist ERIC ALEXANDER has been exploring new musical worlds from the outset. He started out on piano as a six-year-old, took up clarinet at nine, switched to alto sax when he was 12, and converted to tenor when jazz became his obsession during his one year at the University of Indiana, Bloomington (1986-87). At William Paterson College in New Jersey he advanced his studies under the tutelage of Harold Mabern, Joe Lovano, Rufus Reid, and others. “The people I listened to in college are still the cats that are influencing me today,” says Alexander. “Monk, Dizzy, Sonny Stitt, Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson–the legacy left by Bird and all the bebop pioneers, that language and that feel, that’s the bread and butter of everything I do. George Coleman remains a big influence because of his very hip harmonic approach, and I’m still listening all the time to Coltrane because I feel that even in the wildest moments of his mid- to late-Sixties solos I can find these little kernels of melodic information and find ways to employ them in my own playing.”
At age 24, VERONICA SWIFT is now being recognized around the country as one of the top young jazz singers on the scene. In the fall of 2015, she won second place at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition. In 2016 she was asked to perform a concert of her own at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York City and she was a guest artist with Michael Feinstein at Jazz at Lincoln Center with the Tedd Firth Big Band and Marilyn Maye and Freda Payne. Veronica’s first appearance at Jazz at Lincoln Center was at age 11 when she performed at the “Women in Jazz” series at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.
In the summer of 2016 she headlined at the Telluride Jazz Festival, her 10th appearance there – but her first as a headliner. She first appeared there at age 10 with Dave Adams’ Young Razzcals Jazz Project and the great saxophonist Richie Cole and later she sang a duet with the featured artist, Paquito d’Rivera. Then in April, 2017 she started her residency a the infamous Birdland Jazz Club in New York City. On into 2018, Veronica began touring with her trio (Emmet Cohen Trio) as well as Benny Green Trio, Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and Chris Botti appearing at Jazz Showcase, Monterey and Montreal Jazz festivals, two runs at Jazz at Lincoln Center: Shanghai, China, and Marians’ Jazz Showroom in Bern, Switzerland.
NYC-based drummer/composer/teacher ALLISON MILLER engages her deep roots in improvisation as a vehicle to explore all music. Described by critics as a Modern Jazz Icon in the Making, Miller has been named “Top 20 Jazz Drummers” in Downbeat Magazine and her composition, Otis Was a Polar Bear, is on NPR’s list of The 200 Greatest Songs by 21st Century Women. Miller is Monterey Jazz Festival’s 2019 Artist in Residence, alongside bassist/producer Derrick Hodge. She is also the first recipient of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s Commissioning Grant.
Miller’s band BOOM TIC BOOM, featuring pianist Myra Melford, violinist Jenny Scheinman, clarinetist Ben Goldberg, cornetist Kirk Knuffke, bassist Todd Sickafoose, and Miller on drums and composition, is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary with the release of their 5th album, Glitter Wolf. Boom Tic Boom has been met with critical acclaim receiving 4.5 stars from Downbeat and making “Top 10 Jazz Albums” lists for Downbeat, and the LA Times. The band has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, WNYC’s Soundcheck and New Sounds with John Schaefer, NPR’s Tiny Desk with Bob Boilen, JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater, NPR’s Jazz Night in America with Christian McBride, and jazz festivals such as Monterey, San Francisco, North Sea, RockIt, and Chicago.
AVERAGE WHITE BAND: One of the top Soul, R & B, and Jazz-Funk groups alive. First known for the timeless instrumental hit Pick Up the Pieces, the band’s future would lie in its diverse songwriting and unique approach, defying strict adherence to any one facet of rhythm & blues. Stretching across several gold and platinum albums and triple Grammy nominations with the legendary Atlantic label, they were the first Brits to simultaneously top the US Top 100 Singles, Albums and R&B charts, before gathering similar UK and international honors.
Paradoxically, given their Scottish roots, the six-piece took the instrumental cues of Jazz giants Adderley, Hancock, Sample, Shorter, & company, and soul heroes Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Al Green, and Stevie Wonder, to create their own authentic R & B blend, embraced ever since by black and white audiences alike worldwide.
The Average White Band – with Scots originals Alan Gorrie on lead vocals and bass, and Onnie McIntyre on guitar, alongside US heavies Freddy V on tenor sax, Cliff Lyons on alto sax, Rob Aries on keys and bass, Rocky Bryant on drums, and Brent Carter on lead vocals – continues its deserved place at the pinnacle of live soul & funk music to the joy of widely eclectic and multi-generational audiences everywhere.
After gaining international fame for reviving the classic sound of Cuban son, tres master JUAN DE MARCOS turned the AFRO-CUBAN ALL STARS into a sensational showcase for Cuba’s most prodigious young musicians. While long revered in Latin America and Europe as a founding member of Cuba’s great son revival band Sierra Maestra, de Marcos first gained notice in the US as founder of the Buena Vista Social Club. It was de Marcos who assembled Ibrahim Ferrer, Eliades Ochoa, Ruben Gonzalez and the rest of the crew for Ry Cooder when he came to Havana looking for illustrious old timers. But de Marcos is just as interested in promoting Cuba’s brilliant young musicians as in highlighting Cuba’s senior talent. The Afro-Cuban All Stars not only features a rotating, multi-generational cast; the group draws on both classic Cuban styles, like son and danzón, and contemporary dance rhythms like timba. “What I’m trying to do is create a bridge between contemporary and traditional Cuban music,” de Marcos says. “I’m trying to mix both things so people can realize that Cuban music didn’t stop in time, that it developed in this long period when Cuban music disappeared from the market.”