This Thursday, July 14, is the beginning of the 11th annual New Mexico Jazz Festival, an event hosted by Albuquerque’s Outpost Performance Space and the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe. The two-week-long festival brings jazz acts from all over the world together with local groups to perform at multiple venues in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
Started as a wandering concert series in 1988, the Outpost has become a truly unique non-profit, member-supported performance space and arts center. Since they got their first permanent concert space in 1990, Outpost has been a respected stop on the national jazz circuit, making an impression on touring musicians with their hospitality and their tireless and passionate (mostly volunteer) staff.
Both Outpost and the New Mexico Jazz Fest have put Albuquerque on the jazz map in the past few decades. Started as a wandering concert series in 1988, the Outpost has become a truly unique non-profit, member-supported performance space and arts center. Since they got their first permanent concert space in 1990, Outpost has been a respected stop on the national jazz circuit, making an impression on touring musicians with their hospitality and their tireless and passionate (mostly volunteer) staff. In addition to hosting concerts, Outpost also has music classes for both teenagers and adults, with several sponsored scholarships made available to youth who couldn’t otherwise afford classes.
“[Albuquerque is] a community where you can do something like the Outpost,” says Tom Guralnick, the Executive Director and Founder of Outpost. “The real estate is cheap enough, there’s great community support—people become members and make donations. And for the Jazz Festival, we get great support from the mayor and the City Council. It all goes together to make it happen.”
This year’s Jazz Fest includes several events that are free and open to the public, meaning you’ve got no excuse to miss out.
Below is a line up of Albuquerque performances for the Jazz Fest. A complete schedule of events and tickets for each event can be purchased at outpostspace.org or by calling Outpost at (505)268-0044.
Bonzo Dog Band: “Jazz: Delicious Hot, Disgusting Cold”
Thursday, July 14
3rd Annual John Lewis Celebration with the Douglas Cardwell Trio
John Aaron Lewis is one of Albuquerque’s biggest musical heroes. His work will be featured at the South Broadway Cultural Center (1025 Broadway SE). Lewis founded the Modern Jazz Quartet and performed with jazz greats like Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis. In this third annual tribute to Lewis’ legendary musical career, the Douglas Cardwell Trio will perform a selection from his compositions with guest vocalist Tracey Whitney. Tickets range from $6-10. FREE for children 12 and under. Concert time is 7pm.
John Lewis: “I Can’t Get Started”
Friday, July 15
Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra w/ Hillary Smith: Kickoff for Route 66 Summerfest
The Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra will perform at Hiland Theater (4800 Central SE) under the direction of saxophonist and UNM Professor of Jazz Studies Glenn Kostur. The 19 member ensemble features many local jazzers including Lee Taylor on sax, trumpeter Bruce Dalby, Andy Poling on sticks and local legend Michael Anthony playing guitar. Another Burque native, Hillary Smith (hONEyhoUse, Soul Kitchen), will be performing as guest vocalist. Tickets range in price from $10-15; the curtain rises at 8pm.
The Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra in concert, 2014
Saturday, July 16
Booker T. Jones
Courtesy of the artist
Route 66 Summerfest: Booker T. Jones and His Stax Soul & Blues Revue
Yep, that Booker T. Jones. The legendary keyboardist, Grammy Lifetime Achievement award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee is largely responsible for the rise and continued vitality of modern soul music. His keys have graced tracks from musicians as varied as Ray Charles, Neil Young and The Roots. Jones made the sound of the Hammond B-3 organ an essential element of popular music, but he’s also a gifted multi-instrumentalist and producer. New Orleans hipster chanteuse Nikki Hill is also a featured performer at this concert. Jones and his band hit the Nob Hill Summerfest mainstage at 9pm for free.
Booker T. & The MGs: “Green Onions”
Thursday, July 21/Friday, July 22
Pedrito Martinez Group
Cuban percussionist and founding member of Afro-Beat band Yerba Buena, Pedrito Martinez founded his new group in 2005. Their self-titled debut album received critical praise, and was one of the Boston Globe Critics’ Top Ten Albums of 2013. Their latest recording, Habana Dreams, is irresistibly danceable and includes the talents of bassist Alvaro Benavides, percussionist Jhair Sala and pianist and trumpeter Edgar Pantoja-Aleman. The band’s Burque gigs cost $25-30 and begin at 8pm.
Pedrito Martinez Group: “Conciencia”
Saturday July 23
Django Festival Allstars + Vicente Griego’s Revoso
The Django Festival Allstars pay tribute to the great gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt with contemporary takes on his classics. They’ll be gigging at Old Town Plaza (N Plaza NW)The Wall Street Journal wrote, "Djangofest is the best jazz show in town! Imagine a stage filled with six contemporary Reinhardt descendants, and you'll get a sense that the collective talent pool on the bandstand is larger than the Arc de Triomphe!" Vicente Griego, a native New Mexican vocalist, will be performing with his Flamenco group Revoso. Their gig goes off beginning at 1pm and is free and open to the public.
The Django Festival Allstars: NPR Music Field Recording
Thursday, July 28
Mark Weaver’s UFO Ensemble—A Tribute to the Roost Creative Music Series
Tuba master Mark Weaver will open the night at Outpost Performance Space (210 Yale SE) with a solo tuba set, accompanied by video by Jay Baker. The UFO Ensemble, a collage of brass and percussion players, will be playing from their recently released live album Phenomenology. Albuquerque native Weaver has played in many Burque musical outfits over the years, from Selsun Blue (with Darrell Sparks, Robby Poore and Greg Hansen) to Bing, which featured the guitar work of Tim Gagan. He’s also responsible for fomenting and supporting the local experimental music scene with his yearly Roost Series. Admission ranges between $10-15 and Weaver and company take the stage at 8pm.