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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.”
It’s not simply his abundant virtuosity that has made CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE the most in-demand
bassist of his generation. McBride consistently combines his deft musicianship with an innate ability to communicate his enthusiasm to an audience—a warm showmanship that transforms his own passion into infectious joy. It comes across whether he’s leading his own bands; sharing the stage with jazz legends like Sonny Rollins, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock or Pat Metheny; accompanying pop giants like James Brown, Sting or The Roots; or collaborating with classical masters like Kathleen Battle, Edgar Meyer or the Shanghai Quartet.
Any time that McBride steps into the studio or onto a stage he plays what could be called
“people music,” but it’s a particularly apt title for the second release by his hard-swinging acoustic quintet Inside Straight. Four years after Kind of Brown, the band’s acclaimed debut album, People Music delivers a more road- tested, “lived-in” Inside Straight, able to dig deep while projecting that ebullient vigor that has become McBride’s trademark.
“People Music is my personal mantra as a musician,” McBride says of the title. “Sometimes
jazz musicians can get too caught up in their own heads; they get so serious and so caught up in their creativity that they’re not bringing the people in. So I figure the best way to communicate is to let the people navigate where you should go.”
Inside Straight features Peter Martin on piano, Warren Wolf on vibes, Carl Allen on drums and either Steve Wilson or Tim Green on alto.
Tucson Jazz Institute Ellington Big Band
The TUCSON JAZZ INSTITUTE ELLINGTON BIG BAND directed by JOHN BLACK, with assistance by TJI owners Brice Winston and Scott Black, is comprised of high school musicians from the greater Tucson area including Nogales who study at this award-winning community music school. This big band (one of 6 at the TJI), loved for their swinging diverse and energetic big band sounds, is the #1 High School Big Band placing in the top 3 8 years in row including(including last May 2018) of the prestigious national Jazz at Lincoln Center Essentially Ellington Competition Award presided over by Wynton Marsalis. They were named the Best Community Jazz Band in the Annual Student Music Awards in DownBeat Magazine in May 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017. The Tucson Jazz Institute teaches middle school students on Saturdays and high school students on Sundays. They study jazz improvisation in small group classes (combos) and swing era music in big bands. TJI has about 100 students and gives many children an outlet they would not have otherwise. Over 90% of their graduates get substantial college scholarships. Their alumni attend some of the most prestigious schools in the nation including Julliard, the Manhattan School of Music, The New England Conservatory, Princeton, USC and Swarthmore (many on scholarship) and have gone on to major careers in jazz music.
Your “little prayer” will be answered when the grace and artistry of The Queen of Soul comes to the Old Pueblo in a celebration of Aretha Franklin’s career. Groove to her majesty’s hits including “Respect,” “Think,” “A Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools,” “Amazing Grace,” and more! LUCAS WALDIN conducts the Tucson Symphony Orchestra with vocalists CAPATHIA JENKINS and RYAN SHAW.
CAPATHIA JENKINS can definitely act but all those who know her also know that this diva can blow and blow and blow you right off this planet. Capathia approaches a song the same way she approaches a script, like an artist. She looks for the nuances, the secret hidden within the notes or text. She asks herself: what am I trying to say? She wants to take her audience on a journey.
This Brooklyn-born and raised actress most recently starred as ‘Medda’ in the hit Disney production of Newsies’ on Broadway. She made her Broadway debut in The Civil War, where she created the role of Harriet Jackson. An active concert artist, Ms. Jenkins has appeared with orchestras around the world including the Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Seattle Symphony.
RYAN SHAW is a three-time Grammy™ nominated artist. He recently appeared as Judas at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in the U.S. premiere of the critically-acclaimed London/Regent’s Park’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar. He has starred as the original Stevie Wonder in Motown: The Musical on Broadway, and on London’s West End as the Soul of Michael Jackson in Thriller Live. As a recording artist, Ryan has released three solo Grammy™-nominated projects: This is Ryan Shaw, It Gets Better, and Real Love. He has toured the world and shared the stage with such artists as Van Halen, Bonnie Raitt, Joss Stone, John Legend, B.B. King, Bruce Hornsby and Jill Scott, to name just a few.
Hailed by NPR as “one of America’s defining voices of freedom and peace,” MAVIS STAPLES is the kind of once-in-a-generation artist whose impact on music and culture would be difficult to overstate. She’s both a Blues and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer; a civil rights icon; a GRAMMY Award-winner; a chart-topping soul/gospel/R&B pioneer; a National Arts Awards Lifetime Achievement recipient; and a Kennedy Center honoree. She marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., performed at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, and sang in Barack Obama’s White House. She’s collaborated with everyone from Prince and Bob Dylan to Arcade Fire and Hozier, blown away countless festivalgoers from Newport Folk and Glastonbury to Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, performed with The Band at The Last Waltz, and graced the airwaves on Fallon, Colbert, Ellen, Austin City Limits, Jools Holland, the GRAMMYs, and more.
“I’m the messenger,” Mavis Staples says on the eve of her 80th birthday. “That’s my job — it has been for my whole life — and I can’t just give up while the struggle’s still alive. We’ve got more work to do, so I’m going to keep on getting stronger and keep on delivering my message every single day.”
In partnership with Tucson Desert Song Festival
From 2007 until 2017, Suzanne Santo spent most of her time fronting the Americana duo HONEYHONEY, whittling her banjo, violin, and vocal chops into sharp shape along the way. Her first solo record ‘Ruby Red’ was released in 2017, produced by multi-platinum Grammy nominee Butch Walker.
Before they collaborated on Ruby Red, Santo had made multiple appearances on Walker’s eighth album, ‘Stay Gold’. She joined him on the road, too, singing harmonies and playing violin, guitar, and banjo during a nationwide tour in 2016. During breaks in her touring schedule, she began diving into a different type of songwriting, looking to diverse albums by Erykah Badu, David Bowie, Townes Van Zandt, and the Alabama Shakes for inspiration.
Santo spent the better part of 2018-19 singing and playing guitar/violin for Hozier, and had the great honour of opening on the ’18 winter European tour. She began writing songs for her next record during any open opportunities on the road, and is currently in Los Angeles recording her second album with producer/engineer and Grammy Award winner, John Spiker. Suzanne is excited to hit the road for a European tour as well as a US run in Fall ’19, while her release is slated for Spring ’20.
The Downtown Jazz Fiesta will transform downtown Tucson into a concert destination with bands performing in 4 venues, including 2 outdoor stages on MLK Day (January 20th), from 11am until 5:30pm
Toole Avenue Stage
11:30 – 12:00pm – Rincon/University High School Jazz Band
12:30 – 1:30pm – Crystal Stark – First Ladies of Song
2:00 – 3:00pm – Katherine Byrnes – Brazilian Notes
3:45 – 5:15pm – YOLO County Line
5th Avenue Stage
11:00 – 11:30pm – Tucson High School Mariachi Band
12:00 – 12:30pm – Tongs
1:30 – 2:00pm – Two Door Hatchback
3:00 – 3:45pm – University of Arizona Combo
11:30 – 1:30pm – Miles Davis Room
12 – 2:30pm – Jazz on the Patio, Rafael Moreno
FOOD TRUCKS: Bugaloo Soft Serve Ice Cream, DC Jumbie, Don Pedro’s Peruvian Bistro, Jozarelli’s Italian, Kettlelicious, Mowi Wowi, and the Hotel Congress Food Truck
Beer and Wine sold by Hotel Congress, with drink specials inside Hotel Congress and Maynards.
Emcee: Elliot Glicksman
Event Coordinator: Khris Dodge
Volunteer Coordinator: Mary Ellingsen
Stage Manager: Brandi Haga-Blackman
SPONSORS: HSL Properties, Rio Nuevo, Desert Diamond Casino, GEICO