Aural Fixation: Time For Jazz

Festival Begins This Weekend

August March
3 min read
Time for Jazz
Leyla McCalla (courtesy of the artist)
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July means jazz in New Mexico. The New Mexico Jazz Festival, now in its 14th season, begins this Thursday, July 11 at 7:30pm with a spectacular concert by The Doug Lawrence New Organ Quartet at Outpost Performance Space (210 Yale Blvd. SE).

Saxophonist Lawrence’s brand of jazz music is heavily influenced by the 25 years he spent as a session musician in Nueva York, supporting artists like Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. Lawrence has made Burque his home and will be playing with world-renowned organist Dan Trudell, a fellow who takes the Hammond B3 very seriously. Filling out this quintessentially groovy quartet is a rhythm section comprised of bassist John Webber and drummer Yuriana Sobrino Garcia. $25/$30.

And that’s just the beginning of a collection of artists, concerts and other gatherings associated with this now-traditional celebration of the boldest sounds and brightest beings within a genre that is constantly growing in popularity among audiences seeking something new and cool; sounds they can jam heartily to as summer wafts by with warm winds and the occassional sun shower here in Burque or up in Santa.

With precisely that summery effect in mind, here’s a list of the week’s artists and shows that we’d make a trip down to the crossroads just to hear.

The NM Jazz Latino Orchestra and special guest Frankie Vasquez make an apperance at this year’s event on Friday, July 12 at 7pm at the Albuquerque Museum Amphitheater(2000 Mountain Rd. NW). This concert brings together some of the most jazz-savvy members of New Mexico’s music community (trombonist/percussionist César Bauvallet, sax man Doug Lawrence, pianist Mariano Morales and vocalist Jackie Zamora, to name a few) in a jam session headed by internationally known and respected Puerto Rican jazzer Efrain “Frankie” Vasquez. That sounds awesomely groovy, cats and kittens. $20/$25.

On Saturday July 13, beginning at 5:30pm, check out Albuquerque’s
Civic Plaza (401 Second Street NW) for a free concert featuring some really awesome music by Leyla McCalla, a jazzer with a Haitian heritage, Creole inflections and classical chops. McCalla’s latest album The Capitalist Blues features King James and the Special Men, a NoLa R&B band with deep cred. Local R&B masters hONEyhoUSe (Hillary Smith, Yvonne Perea and Lyric Morrison) and Tejana boogie-woogie blues pianist Marcia Ball fill out the bill.

Cha Wa, a curiously compelling, genre-defying group whose recorded debut, Funk and Feathers, says much about the style and sound of an outfit that incorporates brass band aesthetics with Mardi Gras Indian musical and dance traditions, plays a free concert on Wednesday, July 17 in Santa Fe at St. John’s College (1160 Camino Cruz Blanca), beginning at 6pm. With a four-part horn section driving drummer and founder Joe Gelini and lead singer J’Wan Boudreaux toward sultry sonic outbursts filled with color and masterful ensemble playing, this may well be one of the most talked about gigs at the fest.

Next week: The 6th Annual John Lewis Celebration, the Aaron Diehl Quartet with Warren Wolf, Edmar Castaneda and Chuy Martinez & Trio Los Trinos.

14th Annual New Mexico Jazz Festival

Jully 11 through 28

For more details/tickets, visit

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