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Jazzin’ Up Summertime
By August March
The New Mexico Jazz Festival evolved out of the Santa Fe Jazz and International Music Festival in the early aughts. By the middle of the first decade of the 21st century, the event brought in notables like Branford Marsalis and Sonny Rollins.
All this jazz makes for one heap of once-in-a-lifetime listening opportunities. And there are a multitude of other concerts and events like film screenings and poetry readings planned, too.
Bopping between a slew of venues in Burque and Santa Fe, including Route 66 Summerfest in Nob Hill, Outpost Performance Space and the capital city’s historic Lensic Theater, this year’s jazz fest began at Outpost on July 11 with a performance by the Claudia Villela Quartet from Brazil. The concert demonstrated Villela—with her five-octave range and masterful crew—has tastefully conquered bossa nova; the concert also set the stage and tone for an abundance of upcoming jazz concerts happening in our burg and up north in Santa Fe.
On Saturday, July 19, Afrocentric hip-hop group Arrested Development headline a day of jazz centered in our town’s thoroughly walkable Nob Hill district. With three stages scattered amidst this cool commercial stretch of Central, 2014’s iteration of Summerfest as Jazz Fest starts at 2pm and brings together local and national acts like Sage & Jared's Happy Gland Band, Chris Dracup, Lowell Burton & Numethods, The Memphis P. Tails and Son Como Son. By the way, Summerfest concerts are free.
Restaurants in Nob Hill and the adjacent university area are loci for the next part of Jazz Fest-meets-Summerfest on Sunday, July 20. These jazz brunches combine fine food and mellow music. Venues include Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Café, Flying Star Café, O'Niell's Irish Pub, Scalo Northern Italian Grill and Shade Tree Customs & Café. Jazzers playing that morning—doors at 10:30am and shows at 11am—include the Pat Malone Trio with Kanoa Kaluhiwa and Asher Barreras and the Bill West/Bob Brown Duo as well as other adherents of the minor blues.
After a couple gigs in Santa Fe highlighting the work of legendary composer and pianist Dick Hyman, seven-string guitar wizard Bucky Pizzarelli and homegrown genius singer-songwriter Raul Midón, Jazz Fest returns to Burque on Wednesday, July 23, and Thursday, July 24. The Outpost further illuminates this year’s jazz odyssey with concerts by percussionist, pianist and innovative virtuoso Omar Sosa and his quartet. Sosa brings an Afro-Cuban inflection to his interpretation of jazz and is well-known for successfully melding the genre with world music, hip-hop and storytelling. His innovation and experimentation places Sosa rightly at the center of our postmodern jazz universe. Tickets for each of these concerts cost between $30 and $35.
The series reaches its pinnacle with the opportunity to hear one of the living masters of the genre. Drummer Jack DeJohnette, a hep cat who has sat in with the likes of Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, plays in a trio that includes saxophonist Ravi Coltrane (!) and bassist Matt Garrison. This triumphant performance takes place on Saturday, July 26, at 7:30pm at the Lensic.
All this jazz makes for one heap of once-in-a-lifetime listening opportunities. And there are a multitude of other concerts and events planned, too. For the complete schedule of concerts, film screenings and poetry readings that make up New Mexico Jazz Fest 2014, visit bit.ly/nmjazz2014.
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