Jazz is alive and well in the Land of Enchantment. The New Mexico Jazz Festival, now in its 5th season, runs from July 13th to July 25th. It kicks-off with a pre-festival concert on July 11th with pianist Tom McDermott’s at the Outpost Performance Space.
Venues for this popular event are split between Albuquerque (Outpost Performance Space, Old Town Plaza, and Nob Hill) and Santa Fe (The Lensic Performing Arts Center, the historic Santa Fe Plaza, and Verve Gallery). The festival replaced the Santa Fe Jazz and International Music Festival, which ran from 2000 to 2005. The NM Jazz Festival has hosted the high powered music of McCoy Tyner, Branford Marsalis, Sonny Rollins, Pharaoh Sanders and many other top-notch jazz performers.
The festivities come to Santa Fe on July 13th with a free Bandstand Concert on the historic Plaza featuring Dave Wayne’s Things That Are Heard, (Paul Bossert, trombone; Dan Pearlman, cornet; Ross Hamlin and Sean Buckley, electric guitars; Casey Anderson, bass; Elliot Ryan, percussion; & Dave Wayne, drums). Following Wayne’s group; local gypsy jazz and western swing group Le Chat Lunatique.
A highlight of the Duke City concerts; Albuquerque native Doug Lawrence, lead saxophonist for the Count Basie Band and his quartet take the stage at the Outpost on July 15th. Rounding out the group is legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb (Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain with Miles Davis and much, much more), pianist, Llew Matthews (former musical director for Nancy Wilson) and Julian Smith, bass.
STEPOLOGY’s Tap On featuring some of the hottest tap-dancers on the scene today is at the Lensic on July 15th. STEPOLOGY’s mission is to preserve and promote the endangered art of tap-dance. Santa Fe pianist Bert Dalton accompanies them.
On July 16th female vocalist Simone (daughter of iconic singer Nina Simone) is in concert at the Lensic in Santa Fe with her quartet (Bennie Sims, Music Director, bass guitar; Craig Thatcher, guitar; Cliff Starkey, piano, keyboards; Gregory ‘Moon’ Henderson, drums, percussion.) African song stylist, Somi, will open for Simone.
The action comes back to the Lensic on the 18th when Bitches Brew Revisited, a tribute to the experimental work of Miles Davis takes the stage. The musicians featured: guitarist James Blood Ulmer, DJ Logic on the turntables, electronic keyboardist Marco Benevento, bassist Melvin Gibbs, drummer Cindy Blackman, Graham Haynes on cornet, Antoine Roney on sax and clarinet and percussionist Adam Rudolph.
Two concerts will play in both cities. The Jazz Loft Project, a multimedia presentation, which premiered in New York City in February is curated by author Sam Stephenson, it will be offered at (Verve Gallery) in Santa Fe on Sunday July 18th and Albuquerque (Outpost Performance Space). The Toshiko Akiyoshi Quartet featuring Lew Tabackin on saxophone appears with the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra led by Bobby Shew is in concert in Albuquerque on July 24th and Santa Fe on the 25th.
Ticket prices vary by venue; some of the concerts are free of charge. Complete information is available at the New Mexico Jazz Festival’s website.
The New Mexico Jazz Festival’s diverse and phenomenally talented lineup offers something for a wide variety of musical interests. For more complete information check out the Festival website.