2016 Tucson Jazz Festival Lineup

Upcoming Events

Sunday, Jan. 24 – Kermit Ruffins with King Solomon Hicks opening
Rialto Theatre, 7 p.m.

Kermit-RuffinsKermit Ruffins, trumpeter, combines the spirit of classic New Orleans music with the energy of the Crescent City sound. Kermit co-founded the Rebirth Brass Band, a group who started playing in the streets of the French Quarter. They released critically acclaimed records and performed in concert halls around the world.

KXCI-LogoAfter seven albums with Rebirth, Kermit began a solo career to focus on classic New Orleans jazz. He established the Barbecue Swingers, a quintet whose name comes from Kermit’s habit of cooking up barbecue from the back of his pickup before gigs. Kermit has recorded seven solo albums. Audiences applaud his original compositions and revel in his innovative versions of classics. His virtuoso trumpet playing and expressive voice have earned him comparisons to Louis Armstrong. His laid-back demeanor, zest for life and appreciation of good food and music embody the character of the city where he was born and raised.

Video: “Treme” (Live in New Orleans)
Website: www.basinstreetrecords.com/artists/kermit-ruffins

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King-Solomon-HicksKing Solomon Hicks, guitarist and singer, is known as “King Solomon,” “‘lil B.B.,” and “East Montgomery.” He excels at styles from jazz, blues, classical, gospel, R&B, funk and classic rock. He has studied jazz, classical and Afro-Cuban guitar at Harlem’s School of the Arts and the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts and has attended Jazzmobile and Barry Harris’ workshops. Solomon started performing at Harlem’s historic New Amsterdam Musical Association and on Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater. His biggest gigs include performances at the United Nations, the 2009 U.S. Open, MetLife Stadium and Madison Square Garden. A year after joining the Cotton Club All Stars as lead guitarist at age 13, Solomon recorded his first album, Embryonic. J. Walter Thompson’s Differenter Committee chose Solomon as one of their “Innovators of Change” in 2012, filming him for a documentary on New York’s most accomplished and creative African-American citizens.

Past Events

Thursday, Jan. 14 – Jimmy Heath & The Tucson Jazz Institute Ellington Band
Opening: Kenny Werner Trio Tribute to Concert by the Sea
Fox Tucson Theatre, 7 p.m.

Jimmy Heath - Photo credit: Tom Pich

Jimmy Heath
photo: Tom Pich

Guest of Honor, Jimmy Heath has long been recognized as a brilliant saxophonist and a magnificent composer and arranger.  An National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, Jimmy is the middle brother of the legendary Heath Brothers (Percy Heath, bass and Tootie Heath, drums), and is the father of Mtume. He has performed with nearly all the jazz greats of the last 50 years, from Howard McGhee, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis to Wynton Marsalis. One of Heath’s earliest big bands (1947-8) in Philadelphia included John Coltrane, Benny Golson and Ray Bryant. During his career, Jimmy has performed on more than 100 record albums including seven with The Heath Brothers and 12 as a leader. He has written more than 125 compositions, many of which have become jazz standards and have been recorded by other artists including Art Farmer, Cannonball Adderley, Clark Terry, Chet Baker, Miles Davis,  Ahmad Jamal, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie and Dexter Gordon. TJI-Ellington-Band Jimmy has also composed seven suites and two string quartets and he premiered his first symphonic work, “Three Ears,” in 1988 at Queens College with Maurice Peress conducting. Having concluded 11 years as a professor at Queens College, he maintains an extensive performance schedule and continues to conduct workshops and clinics throughout the U.S., Europe and Canada.

Video: The Voice of the saxophone
Website: www.jimmyheath.com

Kenny-WernerKenny Werner, pianist and composer, has a prolific output of compositions, recordings and publications. He was awarded the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship for “No Beginning No End,” a musical journey exploring tragedy and loss, death and transition. Born in Brooklyn, Kenny first recorded on TV at age 11. Two of his outstanding musical partnerships are with Toots Thielemans, the legendary harmonica player, and Broadway legend Betty Buckley, whom he arranged for and played with for 20 years. His book on “Effortless Mastery” is one of the most widely read books on music and improvisation, helping thousands unlock their talent and potential. Despite his enormous creative output, Kenny still focuses on the music. “I am more and more aware of the true purpose of the music and the people who play it: to heal and unite the planet.” Quincy Jones said of Kenny, “Perfection, 360 degrees of soul and science in one human being. My kind of musician.”

Video: Kenny Werner Trio
Website: kennywerner.com
Erroll Garner Jazz Project: errollgarner.com

Concert-by-the-Sea-CoverSeptember 19, 2015 marked the 60th anniversary of the recording of Erroll Garner’s Concert by the Sea and a new, complete edition with unheard tracks was released by Sony/Octave Music this fall. The story of the record is jazz legend. Jimmy Lyons, a jazz DJ, brought the Erroll Garner trio to the Sunset School auditorium in Carmel; Garner was in fine form that evening. There were no plans to document the show. However, Martha Glaser, Garner’s manager saw a tape recorder backstage, which had been set up by a local fan who was recording for his own enjoyment. Glaser brought the tape back to New York City, and presented it to Columbia jazz producer George Avakian. The record, now titled Concert by the Sea, became a runaway hit for Erroll Garner and Columbia Records, and is considered one of the greatest live jazz recordings—to this day.

Friday, Jan. 15 — Snarky Puppy with Nir Felder opening
Rialto Theatre, 8 p.m.


Snarky Puppy plays an infectious mixture of jazz, funk and world music. The once Texan, now New York-based quasi-collective group went from the best-kept secret to a highly respected name in instrumental music. The band earned praise from critical stalwarts like the BBC, Village Voice and more. They have performed at venues and festivals in Asia, Europe, Australia and North America. Snarky Puppy won a Grammy in 2014 with the release of their latest album We Like It Here. The album, recorded in their signature live style, debuted at # 1 on the iTunes jazz charts and established the band for a new movement in jazz. The band released their first major label album, with the world famous Metropole Orkest on the Impulse Label. Snarky Puppy is recording the second volume of their Grammy award-winning Family Dinner series.

Video: Lingus (We Like It Here)
Website: www.snarkypuppy.com

Nir-Felder-215x300Nir Felder, guitarist, has been called “the next big jazz guitarist” by NPR, hailed by the New York Times as a “whiz kid” and dubbed “incredible” by the Montreal Gazette. Felder is a new voice in jazz guitar. Felder spent his youth inspired by icons like John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix. After attending Berklee College of Music, Felder moved to New York City in 2006 and became one of the city’s most highly sought after sideman, notching credits in bands led by Grammy winners and performing with the New York City Opera, Dianne Reeves, Bobby McFerrin, Stanley Clarke and Lizz Wright. Felder formed a group in 2010, performing sold-out shows in NYC and  Europe. In September 2011, Felder worked with legendary talent in Sear Sound to create a new album. The highly anticipated release blurs the lines between jazz, and the rock, hip-hop and pop music Felder grew up listening to.

Video: Nir Felder – Bandits
Website: www.nirfelder.com

Jan. 16 and 17 — Byron Stripling with the Tucson Symphony
TCC Music Hall, 8 p.m. Sat. and 2 p.m Sun.


Byron Stripling, trumpeter, has a very wide range, a beautiful tone and the ability to blend together many influences into his own style. Stripling is an extroverted performer who brings the audience into his music and is constantly in demand. The happiness that he exudes through his trumpet, his vocals and his words is reminiscent of Louis Armstrong, yet very much his own.


Originally, Stripling enrolled at the Eastman School of Music with plans to become a classical trumpeter. His career blossomed as he toured with legends such as Clark Terry, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie and Billy Eckstine, the Woody Herman Orchestra and the Count Basie Orchestra when it was led by Thad Jones and Frank Foster III. His performances are full of remarkable musicianship, wit, showmanship and a joyous spirit.

Video: Byron Stripling with the Boston Pops
Website: www.byronstripling.com

Sunday, Jan. 17 — Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour
UA Centennial Hall, 7 p.m.

monterey-imageMonterey Jazz Festival on Tour, The Monterey Jazz Festival, the longest continuously-running jazz festival in the world, presents its fourth national tour in 2016. Featuring critically-acclaimed, Grammy-winning jazz artists, the Monterey Jazz Festival all-star tour band features Nicholas Payton on trumpet, Raul Midon on vocals and guitar, Ravi Coltrane on tenor and soprano saxophones, musical director Gerald Clayton on piano, Joe Sanders on bass, and Justin Brown on drums.

UAPresents-Logo-90x84World-renowned for its artistic excellence, sophisticated informality, and longstanding mission to create and support year-round jazz education and performance programs in local, regional, national, and international venues, Monterey Jazz Festival has stayed true to expanding live performances of jazz around the country since 2008 by presenting national tours that have reached over 100,000 fans in 135 shows across the United States and Canada.

Website: www.montereyjazzfestival.org

Sunday, Jan. 17 — Arthur Vint & Associates
Club Congress, 7 & 10 p.m

Arthur-Vint-300x215Record Release Party: Through the Badlands
Jenny Scheinman, violin; Brice Winston, tenor; Andrew Halchak, bass clarinet; Tony Scherr, guitar; Matt Mitchell, guitar; Ian Stapp, bass and Arthur Vint on drums.
ARTHUR VINT, drummer, composer and native of Tucson has performed everywhere from dive bars to Carnegie Hall, traveling the world with a variety of jazz, rock and country groups. Vint studied classical percussion throughout high school and was principal percussionist of the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra as well as the top drummer in the Tucson Jazz Institute’s Ellington Band. Since relocating to New York City, Arthur has appeared at many well-respected venues including The Blue Note, The Iridium, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola and the Allen Room at Jazz @ Lincoln Center. Arthur Vint & Associates’ debut album “Through The Badlands” evokes visions of the western American landscape and draws on the images and sounds of Vint’s childhood growing up in Tucson. The music is rooted in the great American tradition of jazz, but weaves contemporary rock influences with vintage country as well as traditional Native American spiritual music.

Video: Arthur Vint & Associates: Snake Chief (Song for Radford)
Website: www.arthurvint.com

Monday, Jan. 18 – MLK Day Free Downtown Jazz Fiesta
Fifth Avenue between Toole and Broadway, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Jazz on two stages, local Latin jazz bands and smaller jazz ensembles. Community Food Bank donation tent; food trucks and beer and wine.
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Tuesday, Jan. 19 — Haboob
Club Congress, 8:30 p.m. AND 9:30 p.m.

Haboob3Haboob (formerly Jazz Telephone) is a 4-5 piece jazz/rock combo that seeks to expand the language of music into new and unexpected idioms of sound. Sax, bass, guitar, organ and drums are used in original compositions that juxtapose low and high forms of pop, jazz and world musics. Saxophonist Jeff Grubic has performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival and with many jazz luminaries, such as Sonny Simmons, Earl Freeman (Albert Ayler bassist), Patty Waters and Eddie Gale (Sun Ra). Haboob, as Jazz Telephone, performed at the Tucson Jazz Festival last year.

Wednesday, Jan. 20 — Jon Weber: “115 Years of Piano Jazz”
Opening: UA Jazz Ensemble
University of Arizona Crowder Hall, 7:30 p.m.

Jon-Weber-300x215Jon Weber, pianist, has recorded and toured all over the world, winning numerous honors for performance and composition and scoring extensively for television since 1987. Jon’s musical passion (plus absolute pitch and recall) surfaced at age three on a toy organ. By six, he internalized 2,000 standards from his Grandma’s piano rolls and, by 19, Jon’s jazz quintet had opened up for Pat Metheny, Buddy Rich, Freddie Hubbard and Stanley Turrentine at major summer jazz festivals.  Gary Burton, Roy Hargrove and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen have  recorded Jon’s music, and his newest critically-acclaimed release, Simple Complex, rose to #1.  CNN, CNBC, Black Entertainment TV, Bravo/Arts, National Public Radio and Voice of America have profiled Jon’s unique musical depth and vast knowledge of his craft. Jon lives in New York City and hosts NPR’s “Piano Jazz with Jon Weber” after frequently serving as guest host for Marian McPartland.

Video: 115 Years of Piano Jazz
Website: www.jonwebermusic.com

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Thursday, Jan. 21 — Poncho Sanchez with La Voz de Tres opening.
Fox Tucson Theatre, 7 p.m.

Poncho-Sanchez-Photo-Devin-DeHavenPoncho Sanchez, percussionist, has a way with imaginative rhythms that made him one of the most influential conga players in Afro-Cuban jazz. Sanchez moved to Los Angeles from Laredo, Texas, where he was influenced by the music in his Chicano neighborhood and he practiced congas to Cal Tjader, Machito, and Tito Puente records, and was influenced by the Jazz Crusaders. He has been featured on albums by the Jazz Crusaders, Eddie Harris, Freddie Hubbard, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Dianne Reeves, Joey DeFrancesco and Terence Blanchard. Poncho was part of Cal Tjader’s band from 1975 until 1982. That same year, he signed with Concord for the release of Sonando!, an album that marked the beginning of a prolific musical partnership that spans 30 years.  Sanchez’s efforts paid off after more than two decades in music when his album, Latin Soul, received a Grammy award as Best Latin Album.

Video: “Guaripumpe” Live at Java Jazz Festival 2012
Website: www.ponchosanchez.com

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La Voz de Tres: Chilean vocalist Natalia Bernal, keyboardist Mike Eckroth and seven-string guitarist Jason Ennis blend the infectious rhythms and nuanced songwriting traditions of Latin America, original compositions and picks from the Great American Songbook into a surprising improvisational texture. Since the 2010 release their self-titled CD La Voz De Tres, the band has appeared at some of the top jazz venues on both the east and west coasts, including Zinc Bar and Smoke (NYC), Ryles Jazz Club (Boston), The Nash (Phoenix) and the Kuumbwa Jazz Center (Santa Cruz CA). The CD received extensive national airplay, including being played on Jim Wilke’s nationally syndicated Jazz After Hours on PRI. The group has also appeared live on air on several major NPR affiliates. La Voz De Tres was also invited by the municipal government of Iquique, Chile to conduct a week of workshops and performances in April of 2011.

Video: La Voz de Tres Performs “La Maza”
Website: lavozdetres.com

Friday, Jan. 22 — The Rad Trads with Arthur Migliazza opening
Fox Tucson Theatre, 8 p.m.
Sponsored by Rusing, Lopez and Lizardi

Rad-Trads-photo-by-Kelly-Teacher-300x215THE RAD TRADS have a reputation as one of New York’s most entertaining acts. They bring their love of the game to a diverse style of soulful American music, with influences from early jazz to New Orleans brass band, R&B, the Chicago and delta blues and rock & roll. Featuring powerful horns, a driving rhythm section, and captivating lead vocalists, The Rad Trads win audiences with their energy, charisma and enthusiasm.  The band performs regularly at Brooklyn Bowl, Webster Hall, The Blue Note, BB King’s and Radegast Hall when not touring the U.S. and Europe.  Members of The Rad Trads continue to perform with top groups such as Truth & Soul Record’s Lee Fields & The Expressions, Lady, EMEFE, Jason Robert Brown. They have performed or recorded with Deer Tick, Jonathan Batiste & Stay Human, Antibalas, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Ikebe Shakedown, Lenny Pickett and Joe Lovano.

Video: The Rad Trads Electronic Press Kit
Website: www.theradtrads.com

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Migliazza-215x300Arthur Migliazza, award-winning blues and boogie woogie pianist, began playing piano professionally at age 13. It was through his love of blues music and his dedication to the piano, that he came under the wing of such mentors/teachers as Henry Butler, Ann Rabson and Mr. B. Arthur has been inducted into the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame, was a finalist at the 2010 and 2014 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, and, in his 20-plus years of performing, has been privileged to play on some of the world’s greatest stages including Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow as part of the sold out Kings of Boogie Tour, the Glen Gould Studio in Toronto, as well as on National Public Radio in the U.S. In 2014, he received the Best of the Blues Award for Best Keyboardist in Washington State. His latest album, Laying It Down, resided at #1 on the Roots Music Report charts for Washington State for the summer of 2014 and reached #20 on the national chart. Laying It Down also appeared on the GRAMMY Entry List for the 2015 Grammy award nominations.

Video: Boogie Woogie Stomp
Website: www.arthurmigliazza.com

Saturday, Jan. 23 – Vocalist Lizz Wright with Larry Redhouse Trio opening
Rialto Theatre, 8 p.m.

Lizz-Wright-Photo-by-Jesse-KittLizz Wright, vocalist, gained worldwide recognition for her critically acclaimed debut record, Salt, in 2003. She quickly became one of the most captivating female vocalists of her generation. Lizz was born in Georgia and lives in North Carolina.  Being a preacher’s daughter, she sang during most church services. Her voice and spirit that captivates listeners was rooted here. She seamlessly weaves through gospel, jazz, folk, pop and blues. Lizz focused on songwriting in her next records. “Hit the Ground” proved Lizz’s evolution as a storyteller, and helped propel Dreaming Wide Awake to number one on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz chart. Lizz’s album, Fellowship, regards her years singing in church on which she delivered poignant readings of gospel classics, but her broad perspective and desire to tell her story allowed her to find the spiritual in comparatively secular material.  After releasing four acclaimed records for Verve, Lizz moved to Concord Records to release Freedom & Surrender. The record features contributions from Reagon and Harris, David Batteau, J.D. Souther, and Maia Sharp. Lizz’s music allows her to illuminate a dynamic soul through layers of passion and playfulness found within the songs.

Video: Lizz Wright: The New Game
Website: lizzwright.net/

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Larry-RedhouseLarry Redhouse, piano, is an indigenous American musician based in Tucson, performing America’s original art form, jazz.  Of The Larry Redhouse Trio, Tucson music critic Chuck Graham writes,” so swinging, a hipper than fusion sound.” The trio’s music has a distinctively modern jazz sound, incorporating elements of straight-ahead jazz, Latin and funk styles into unique heartfelt interpretations of jazz standards and brilliant, soul-stirring originals.  Larry takes the classic piano trio format and expands it with a tasteful palette of synthesizer colors. Having performed nationally and internationally, Larry has led groups that have opened for such notable jazz musicians as Chick Corea, Terence Blanchard and Donald Harrison. The trio has also performed at The Smithsonian Museum, The Kennedy Center Jazz Club (Washington, DC), The Steinway Peace Piano Concert and The Grenoble Jazz Festival (France). Performing with Larry will be two of Tucson’s finest: bassist Mike Levy and drummer Gil Rodriguez.