Vail Jazz Festival returns
Weekly live jazz performances return to the valley, with regular free and paid shows throughout the summer
The Vail Jazz Festival is back for its 28th summer, with free performances every Sunday and paid shows every Thursday from now through Aug. 21.
Each year, the Vail Jazz Festival brings a variety of performances and education offerings to the valley, curated by festival founder Howard Stone and led by executive director Amanda Blevins. 16 shows featuring local, national and international musicians will take place during the summer months, capped off by the five-day Vail Jazz Festival on Labor Day Weekend.
“This summer you’ll find something for everyone at the Vail Jazz Festival,” Blevins said. “From the world-renowned headliners on Thursday nights, to free Sunday concerts, which introduce many sub-genres of jazz to our community.”
Free jazz concerts at Solaris Plaza
Last summer, the Vail Jazz Festival introduced the Vail Jazz at Solaris series, a free concert series that provides a platform for local Colorado jazz bands and student musicians to perform for the community. After a successful inaugural season, the series returns this summer, with a lineup that showcases the many genres of jazz, and include the sounds of soul, funk, swing, big band, Latin and contemporary.
Every Sunday night at 5:30 p.m. a different band will hit the stage in Solaris Plaza. The first free concert of the summer will take place this Sunday, July 3, and will feature The United States Air Force Academy Band, the Falconaires. The Falconaires will be performing a patriotic set in uniform in celebration of Independence Day.
Most Sunday performances will also feature an opening act from a student band, traveling to Vail from high schools around the state. Next Sunday, July 10, a student band from Kent Denver School will be opening for Quemando Salsa, a high-energy 11-piece latin band out of Boulder.
The final Sunday evening concert on Aug. 21 will be preceded by a free swing lesson by Swingin’ Denver at 5 p.m., and dancing will continue throughout the performance.
The full list of Sunday performances can be found here:
- July 3: United States Air Force Academy Band Falconaires
- July 10: Quemando with student band opening act Azul de Azúcar from Kent Denver School
- July 17: Lao Tizer Quartet with student band opening act Denver School of the Arts Jazz Workshop
- July 24: The Burroughs with student band opening act East High Jazz Combo
- July 31: Lionel Young Quintet with student band opening act Denver Jazz Club Youth All-Stars
- Aug 7: The Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra Sextet Presents Sass, Swingin’ and Standards with student band opening act CCJA Bebop Police from the CO Conservatory for the Jazz Arts
- Aug 14: Tony Monaco’s Tribute to Dr. Lonnie Smith & the Giants of the B-3 with student band opening act UNC Jazz Quintet
- Aug 21: Free swing lesson from Swingin’ Denver at 5 p.m., followed by Peter Olstad’s Rocky Mountain All-Stars
Headliners at Jazz Square
The festival headliners will perform every Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Jazz Tent in Lionshead Village, located at the site of the outdoor ice rink. There will also be one special performance on Thursday, July 21 held at the Donovan Pavilion in West Vail.
These paid performances feature some of the biggest names in jazz today, from rising stars like Samara Joy and Matthew Whitaker to established jazz greats such as Jon Cleary and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Many of the performers are mainstays at the festival who have formed close personal relationships with Stone and the Vail community.
General admission tickets for the headliner performances are $50 per person, and premium tickets are $75. Tickets are on sale now at VailJazz.org/live-performances.
The full list of Thursday performances can be found here:
- July 7: Matthew Whitaker Quintet
- July 14: Jon Cleary – Mardi Gras in July
- July 21: Frank Vignola’s Birdland Guitar Band (special performance at Donovan Pavilion)
- July 28: Bria Skonberg Quartet
- Aug 4: Samara Joy and Pasquale Grasso Quartet
- Aug 11: Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Memphis Soulphony Present “Memphis…Yes, I’m Ready”
- Aug 18: Warren Wolf’s Multi-Media History of the Vibes
Evening jazz club at The Remedy
This summer, the free Vail Jazz Club Series returns to The Remedy bar in the Four Seasons hotel on Wednesday nights from 8-10 p.m., starting on July 6 and going through Aug. 31.
The Remedy provides a sleek, jazz club environment to host jazz pianist Stu MacAskie and his trio, completed by bassist Patrick McDevitt and Alex Heffron on guitar. Each week, the trio will be joined by an array of visiting jazz luminaries, creating unique live music experiences that will differ from week to week.
The series of performances will be complemented by cocktails from The Remedy’s expert bartenders and chef-designed food options.
Jammin’ Jazz Kids
Jammin’ Jazz Kids returns after a two-year pandemic hiatus, offering an engaging and fun learning experience for youngsters through interactive, hands-on activities that teach the fundamentals of jazz and the art of improvisation.
Starting on July 10, children and their families are invited to a free hour-long program at Solaris Plaza each Sunday that will explore the fundamentals of jazz music, the 12-bar blues, and give participants the opportunity to play along with lively music educators.
“The return of Jammin’ Jazz Kids is a celebration of the legacy of our educational programs, and a step toward our future goals of expanding them,” Blevins said.
Although the program is ideal for children aged four through ten, everyone is welcome. Programs will take place on Sundays, July 10-Aug. 14, starting at noon. Participants can sign up for the free event online at VailJazz.org/education/jammin-jazz-kids.
Jammin’ Jazz Kids is made possible through the support of private donors and the Epic Promise Foundation.
Vail Jazz Party tickets on sale now
The Vail Jazz Party on Labor Day Weekend is a jam-packed concert series that brings together some of the genre’s biggest names in a constellation of group performances. Over the course of five days, the Vail Jazz Party includes daytime music sessions – including the ever-popular Sunday morning Gospel session – held under the Jazz Tent at Vail Square in Lionshead Village, and evening events hosted at The Hythe Vail.
Tickets to all music sessions are available online now at VailJazz.org. All individual music sessions are $75, except the popular Gospel show which starts at $95. All-Access Patron Passes, which include entry to all sessions of music as well as a welcome reception and brunch before the Sunday morning Gospel show, cost $575.
For more information about the festival and upcoming performances, visit VailJazz.org.