Vail Jazz prepares for blowout summer to celebrate 25th anniversary
Ticketed performances are on sale now as well as free live music abound all summer long
Special to the Daily
On a whim back in 1995, lifelong jazz fan and part-time Vail resident Howard Stone brought in a who’s who cast of the world’s greatest jazz artists for a long weekend live music extravaganza. Intended originally to be a one-off event, a mind-blown Stone walked away saying, “this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Thus, the Vail Jazz Festival was born and has since blossomed into its current incarnation, a year-round exhibition of top musical talent from across the globe, hands on, in-depth educational programming and free performances.
In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Vail Jazz will launch into its biggest summer ever, with free and ticketed performances throughout the week from the end of June through Labor Day weekend in September. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings, respectively, the Vail Jazz Club and Vail Square series feature a lineup of the biggest names in jazz today. The Club Series emulates a true jazz club experience with intimate performances in the luxurious setting of Ludwig’s Terrace in the Vail Sonnenalp Hotel, while the Vail Square series allows artists to let loose on the big stage in the spacious, all-weather Jazz Tent in Lionshead. The grand finale of the festival is, of course, the original main event – the Vail Jazz Party over Labor Day weekend, bigger than it’s ever been for year 25.
“Over 25 years, Howard has curated a community of artists that span the globe. This summer, fan favorites return alongside the rising stars of tomorrow to present jazz in all its forms, from the American Songbook to Gypsy jazz, big band to blues, and salsa to straight ahead,” said Jame Kenly, executive director of Vail Jazz. “This lineup delivers the joy of jazz throughout the summer and across the valley.”
Tickets for all summer performances are on sale. Here’s the breakdown of what’s in store this summer, so be sure to mark your calendars.
Vail Jazz at The Market
Every Sunday from June 30 through Aug. 25, Vail Jazz presents free live music from a rotating lineup of highly acclaimed regional musicians, from noon to 3 p.m. at The Jazz Tent at Solaris during the Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show.
Vail Jazz at The Remedy
Every Sunday night from July 7 through Aug. 25 at 8 p.m., a rotating cast of musical talent joins pianist Tony Gulizia and drummer Brian Loftus for free live music at The Remedy Bar in the Four Seasons Vail.
“People are just completely falling in love with that,” Kenly said.
Jammin’ Jazz Kids
Every Sunday in July (July 7 through 28) from 11 to 11:45 a.m., the Jazz Tent at Solaris in Vail calls all kids from 4 to 12 years old. Vail Jazz’s Tony Gulizia and a team of musical educators lead a free hands-on workshop teaching the basics of rhythm and melody. Instruments provided.
Vail Jazz at Riverwalk
Every Friday at 6 p.m. from July 5 through Aug. 23, Vail Jazz kicks off the weekend with a variety of acclaimed blues, funk, rock, bluegrass and jazz artists performing live at the outdoor amphitheater at The Riverwalk in Edwards. Bring a blanket, picnic and an urge to dance. Food and alcohol are available for purchase.
Hazel Miller is returning to the Riverwalk this summer.
“She’s going to blow it up down there,” Kenly said.
The Vail Jazz at Vail Square fires up the all-weather Jazz Tent in Lionshead from 6 to 8 p.m. every Thursday from July 4 to Aug. 29. General admission seats are $25, preferred seats are $40 and premium seats are $50. Drinks are available for purchase. The Vail Jazz Club Series features the same artists who take the big stage at Vail Square, but performing two intimate dinner club sets at 5:30 and 8 p.m. every Wednesday from July 10 to Aug. 7 at Ludwig’s Terrace at The Vail Sonnenalp Hotel. Tickets are $40. Full dinner and drink service are available for purchase.
July 4 (Vail Square): Fiery pianist Marcia Ball returns to Vail to unleash upbeat musical storytelling
July 10 (Club) July 11 (Vail Square): Seven-string guitarist Yamanda Costa plays Brazilian samba, bossa nova
July 17 (Club) July 18 (Vail Square): Iconic guitarist John Pizzarelli pays Tribute to Nat King Cole
July 24 (Club) July 25 (Vail Square): Sultry vocalist Ann Hampton Callaway presents Jazz Goes to the Movies
July 31 (Club) Aug. 1 (Vail Square): Hailing from the Crescent City, keyboardist and soulful vocalist Jon Cleary pays Tribute to Henry Butler and the Great New Orleans Piano Tradition
Aug. 7 (Club) Aug. 8 (Vail Square): Hypnotic young vocalist Veronica Swift & The Emmet Cohen Trio return by popular demand
Aug. 15 (Vail Square): Acclaimed jazz and blues vocalist Catherine Russell makes Vail debut
Aug. 22 (Vail Square): Latin Jazz and salsa extraordinaire Pancho Sanchez ignites dance tunes
Vail Jazz 25th special anniversary gala celebration
July 8: This one-of-a-kind event features internationally lauded trombonist Wycliffe Gordon displaying his funk stylings at Larkspur Restaurant. Expect a night of dancing, amazing food and an open bar. General admission tickets are $250, VIP Experience $300.
The 25th annual Vail Jazz Party
From Aug. 29 to Sept. 2, more than 40 of the world’s most talented jazz artists (including the iconic Vail Jazz House Band) converge at the Vail Marriott and in Vail Square for a Labor Day weekend stacked with explosive indoor and outdoor performances. In the same format as that first fateful event 25 years ago, artists rotate from stage to stage, some in unlikely combinations that result in a flurry of unique and previously untapped talent and improvisational masterpieces. To witness these shows are truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. New this summer, Niki Haris’ Gospel Prayer Meetin’ — historically the Vail Jazz Party’s most popular performance and always the first to sell out — will take place at the Gerald Ford Amphitheatre on Sunday, Sept. 1.
For tickets and more information, visit vailjazz.org or call 970-479-6146.
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