All this jazz: JAS Cafe serves up nine musical acts |

All this jazz: JAS Cafe serves up nine musical acts

Stewart Oksenhorn
The Aspen Times
Singer Stacey Kent opens Jazz Aspen Snowmass' JAS Café Downstairs@the Nell series with performances Dec. 20-21.
Courtesy photo |

It probably won’t stop people from asking why an organization that presents Kid Rock, Kanye West, Trey Anastasio and LeAnn Rimes calls itself Jazz Aspen Snowmass. But Jazz Aspen’s JAS Cafe Downstairs@the Nell, a series that focuses on various strains of jazz music, has gained genuine traction over three years, and the lineup for the upcoming season is bigger than ever, with nine acts to be presented between late December and early April in the cozy room at the Little Nell hotel.

The series opens Dec. 20 and 21 with Stacey Kent, an American-born singer who splits her time between London and Colorado. Kent, who will perform with her husband, saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, released “The Changing Light,” an album that emphasizes Latin styles, in September.

The Gypsy Allstars, a group led by Gipsy Kings drummer Cedric Leonardi that traces European gypsy jazz to its roots in India, will perform Dec. 28 through 30. Wycliffe Gordon, a trombonist who has been associated closely with various projects led by Wynton Marsalis, will perform his tribute to Louis Armstrong, Hello Pops! Jan. 10 and 11.

Kathy Kosins, a singer influenced by the Motown sounds of her native Detroit, is set for Jan. 30 and 31. Brazilian-born singer-pianist Eliane Elias, whose new album, “I Thought About You,” pays tribute to trumpeter-singer Chet Baker, returns to the series for a three-night stand Feb. 14 through 16. The long-running fusion band Spyro Gyra brings its 35th-anniversary tour to the JAS Cafe on Feb. 20 through 22.

The duo of French singer Cyrille Aimee and Brazilian guitarist Diego Figueiredo returns to the series March 7 and 8. The San Francisco group Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers bring the sounds of 1930s and ’40s swing and jump blues to the JAS Cafe on March 21 and 22.

The winter series concludes April 3 and 4 with the return of Cuban-born, New Jersey-based percussionist Pedrito Martinez and his quartet.

Each date features two shows per night at 7 and 9:15 p.m. For further information on the JAS Cafe series, go to http://www.jazz