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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.”
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.
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.”