Jazz Aspen announces JAS Café summer series, addresses coronavirus concerns | AspenTimes.com

Jazz Aspen announces JAS Café summer series, addresses coronavirus concerns

Staff report
Christian McBride performing with the JAS Academy Big Band in August 2019
Steve Mundinger/Courtesy photo

Jazz Aspen Snowmass has announced their full JAS Café Sumer series lineup for summer 2020 as the organization celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Tickets went onsale Thursday at jazzaspensnowmass.org.

While unveiling the artist lineup and dates running, Jazz Aspen President Jim Horowitz addressed concerns about possible disruptions due to coronavirus. “As of press time, the full summer of JAS Café concerts, as announced here, are on schedule as planned,” Horowitz said. “Should circumstances change, as dictated by public health authorities in consideration of coronavirus concerns, JAS will modify its plans in accordance with those guidelines at that time.”

The series opens at the Aspen Art Museum July 9 with a very special 30th-anniversary performance. Dubbed “The JAS Odyssey,” it will feature James Horowitz’s trio with vocalists Niki Haris and Jimmer Bolden and will include stories in words and music reflecting on Jazz Aspen’s evolution and history.

On July 10 at the museum, jazz/fusion band the Yellowjackets return to the Cafe for the first time since 2016. A creative force on the jazz scene since 1981, they have recorded close to 30 albums, received 17 Grammy nominations — won two — and have adventurously amplified the eclectic, electro-acoustic soundscape.

Finishing off the first weekend at the museum on July 11, the violinist Lucia Micarelli will take audiences on a journey through her many musical influences — from classical to jazz to traditional fiddle music and Americana — all bound together by her trademark emotional vulnerability and technical wizardry. Micarelli memorably played with jazz trumpeter Chris Botti at the Benedict Music Tent in 2012.

In a JAS Café first, jazz pianist and Dean of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami Shelly Berg will join vocalist Tierney Sutton for an evening of “By Request” songs July 24 at the museum. Music choices will be selected randomly by audience members from a collection of 250 songs, with impromptu arrangements being created on the spot.

Shelly Berg returns to the museum stage July 25 with his trio and three special guests: trumpeter Randy Brecker, jazz and soul vocalist Kenny Washington and clarinetist/saxophonist Ken Peplowski. Audiences can expect a fast-paced program of jazz, blues and soul from the Great American Songbook.

After multiple sold-out JAS Café shows in 2019, rising star vocalist Veronica Swift and multifaceted jazz pianist Emmet Cohen, return to perform July 31 at The Collective in Snowmass. Both Frost School of Music alumni, the two also will participate in master classes with the 23 student musicians attending the prestigious JAS Academy.

JAS Academy Artistic Director and six-time Grammy winning bassist Christian McBride brings his latest project Tip City, including Dan Wilson on guitar and Emmet Cohen on piano, to The Collective on Aug. 1. McBride is in a league of his own as a bandleader, bassist and uniquely engaging concert host.

On Aug. 4 the JAS Academy Big Band conducted by Christian McBride will perform two free concerts at the Aspen Art Museum in association with the opening night of PreviewCrush and the start of ArtCrush 2020. All 23 participating students will perform a mix of classic repertoire from Ellington to Basie, as well as more modern arrangements from McBride. Admission is free courtesy of Jazz Aspen supporters Jeff and Elisha Zander.

The last weekend of the JAS Café series will feature a first-ever JAS Café weekend with three nights of related and themed music: “Blues, Roots & Rhythms” tracing the arc of American blues influenced by jazz and early roots American music and closing with a celebration fusing roots music with African rhythms with three different artists and their groups. Catherine Russell Sings the Blues will perform the opening Friday night at AAM on Aug. 14; South Carolina band Ranky Tanky on Aug. 15; and Pascal Bokar “Afro Blue Grazz” on Aug. 16.

All of the summer Café performances, with the exception of Aug. 4, will feature a JAS Listen Up! pre-concert artist interview prior to their first performance at 6:15 p.m. During these interviews artists share stories and insight on the music they’ll perform and what to listen for.

For a full listing of showtimes, Listen Up! dates, dinner offerings and more, visit jazzaspensnowmass.org.

Individual show tickets range from $45 to $55 while a series pass to the five shows of your choice is available at a $50 discount. All nights will feature performances at 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.

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