The Santa Fe music scene is a rich and diverse one really coming alive in summer when annual music festivals and events thrive. One of the events locals anticipate in July is the New Mexico Jazz Festival, begun in 2006 as a joint collaboration of Albuquerque’s Outpost Performance Space, Santa Fe’s Lensic Performing Arts Center and the Santa Fe Jazz Foundation. The seventh edition brings over two weeks of jazz luminaries to Albuquerque and Santa Fe. This year, Santa Fe concerts include names like Regina Carter, Allen Toussaint, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dianne Reeves and Jon Hendricks. The opening event in The City Different is a free concert featuring the Doug Lawrence Organ Trio at the Santa Fe Plaza on Tuesday, July 17th from 6 to 9pm. Here’s a complete schedule of Santa Fe concerts:
Tuesday, July 17th from 6 to 9pm Doug Lawrence Organ Trio in the Santa Fe Plaza:
Albuquerque native Doug Lawrence was the lead tenor saxophonist and featured soloist with the Count Basie Orchestra. Other greats he’s played with include Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Benny Goodman, Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie and Jimmy Cobb. He’s been collaborating with Chicago organist, Dan Trudell since 2000. Local group Busy McCarrol and The Ambassadors of Pleasure kick off the evening which is dedicated to David Lescht, founder of the Santa Fe Bandstand summer concert series who away this spring. Admission is free.
Thursday, July 19th at 7:30pm Regina Carter’s Reverse Thread at the Lensic Performing Arts Center:
Regina Carter, a classically trained violinist, discovered and fell in love with jazz as an adolescent. She’s been influenced by diverse musical genres and has performed with jazz greats like Marian McPartland, Wynton Marsalis, Randy Weston, Kenny Barron, Cassandra Wilson, and pop names including Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Dolly Parton and Billy Joel. Her recent exploration, working with African folk melodies, resulted in her current album, Reverse Thread.
Sunday, July 22nd at 7:30pm Allen Toussaint and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band at the Lensic Performing Arts Center:
New Orleans native Allen Toussaint, a singer, pianist, songwriter, bandleader, arranger and producer, impacted the NOLA music scene n the 1960s and left his stamp on the R & B culture there. Some of the people he’s worked and recorded with include Elvis Costello, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Cyndi Lauper, Brad Mehldau and Madeline Peyroux. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Toussaint’s fellow Crescent City musicians and a local institution, join him for the evening. According to the festival’s promoters, “he Dirty Dozen are responsible for revolutionizing the brass band sound by incorporating funk and bebop into the traditional style.” The group, celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, is made up of: Gregory Davis, trumpet, vocals; Roger Lewis, baritone, soprano saxophone; Kevin Harris, tenor saxophone; Terence Higgins, drums; Jake Eckert, guitar; Efrem Towns, trumpet, flugelhorn and Kirk Joseph, sousaphone.
Friday, July 27th at 7:30pm NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan and Dianne Reeves at the Lensic Performing Arts Center:
Octogenarian Sheila Jordan, an award-winning jazz vocalist, is known for both scat and ballads. Performing since the 1950s, she’s worked with names like Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus and Herbie Nichols. She was the first female vocalist to record on the legendary Blue Note label. Joining her for the evening is bassist Cameron Brown. She was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2012. This prestigious designation is one of the highest honors awarded to jazz musicians in the US.
Grammy Award-winning vocalist, Dianne Reeves is known for her “improvisational prowess and unique jazz and R&B stylings.” She appeared in and won a Grammy for George Clooney’s Academy Award nominated film, Goodbye and Good Luck, about journalist Edward R. Murrow’s conflict with anti-Communist Senator, Joseph McCarthy.
Saturday, July 28th at 7:30pm NEA Jazz Master Jon Hendricks and Kurt Elling at the Lensic Performing Arts Center:
Jazz great, nonagenarian Jon Hendricks was part of the renown vocal group Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. The singer and lyricist along with his partners pioneered “vocalese” the technique of using voice and words to perform previously instrumental compositions. He has been lauded for his work and played with great names in jazz throughout his career. He was named an NEA Jazz Master in 1993.
Kurt Elling is considered to be one of the preeminent young male jazz singers today. The NM Jazz Festival calls him the “ natural heir to pioneers like Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure, and Jon Hendrick… the contemporary voice of vocalese.” Elling has recorded and/or performed with Terrence Blanchard, Dave Brubeck, Al Jarreau and John Pizzarelli among others. He has also frequently performed with Jon Hendricks.
There are also performances in Albuquerque during the entire Festival. On Saturday, July 21st, the free event, Nob Hill Summerfest, takes place from 2 to 10:30pm. The event, presented in conjunction with the City of Albuquerque, takes place on three stages, featuring the Dirty Dozen Jazz Band, The Doug Lawrence Organ Trio with Dan Trudell and more.
A full schedule of Festival events is on their website. Tickets for all concerts can be purchased in Santa Fe at the Lensic box office, at the Outpost box office in Albuquerque or online at Tickets Santa Fe.
What’s your favorite annual event on the Santa Fe music scene? Have we written about it?
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