Jazz Aspen Snowmass Café season opens with two nights at Aspen Art Museum | AspenTimes.com

Jazz Aspen Snowmass Café season opens with two nights at Aspen Art Museum

Andrew Travers
The Aspen Times
Jazz Aspen did a dry run of the new JAS Cafe venue at the Aspen Art Museum earlier this month.
Jeremy Wallace/The Aspen Times |

If You Go…

What: Django Festival Allstars, presented by Jazz Aspen Snowmass

Where: JAS Café at the the Aspen Art Museum

When: Tuesday, June 30 and Wednesday, July 1, 7 & 9:15 p.m.

Tickets and more info: http://www.jazzaspensnowmass.org

The Django Festival Allstars will open the summer JAS Café season Tuesday, beginning a promising new chapter in the popular jazz series’ life. The hot jazz outfit will be the first artists in the series to perform on the rooftop of the Aspen Art Museum, where Jazz Aspen Snowmass is staging three of its six Café runs this summer.

Café shows were previously housed exclusively downstairs at the Little Nell, an intimate and dimly lit space reminiscent of a cosmopolitan jazz club.

“This is the polar opposite of the downstairs space at the Nell, it couldn’t be more different,” Jazz Aspen president and CEO Jim Horowitz said this spring. “In our 25th year, we’re looking for opportunities to stretch a little bit. And not just with the artists; we wanted to find some things that are a little different.”

To work out the kinks at the new venue, earlier this month, Jazz Aspen did a dry run in the rooftop café, featuring Horowitz playing piano with a jazz trio (he christened the space, appropriately, with Diana Krall’s “I Love Being Here With You”) and vocalist Allan Harris doing a full set before a crowd of Jazz Aspen donors and friends.

The stage was set up on the Hyman Avenue side of the rooftop, giving the audience a view of Smuggler and Red Mountains behind Harris, and the soaring vistas of Independence Pass and Aspen Mountain behind them.

Along with the view and a diverse lineup of world-class jazz musicians, museum rooftop shows include a three-course meal by Epicure Catering, who also handle the menu at the museum’s SO Cafe. The dinner-and-a-show option is available only at the 7 p.m. performances at the museum. The second sets, at 9:15 p.m., will have lighter fare available, similar to the bar menu snacks available at the Nell shows.

The four Django Allstars performances tonight and tomorrow kick off a lineup of performances at the museum also featuring Lizz Wright (Aug. 7-8) and the Pacific Mambo Orchestra (Aug. 13-14). Back at the Little Nell, the Café series will feature Jacqui Naylor (July8-9), Christian McBride Trio (July 15-16), and Ann Hampton Callaway (July 22-23).

The rooftop café and sculpture garden is emerging as Aspen’s newest performance venue this summer, as the museum nears its first anniversary. An free Aspen Music Festival and School series, with chamber music performed by students, begins there on July 7.