Lyle Lovett, Leslie Odom Jr., Lizz Wright to headline Jazz Aspen June Experience

Lyle Lovett & His Large Band will headline the Jazz Aspen Snowmass June Experience on Saturday, June 23.
Courtesy photo |


Friday, June 22 – Lizz Wright, Leslie Odom Jr.

Saturday, June 23 – Lyle Lovett & His Large Band

Sunday, June 24 – Free Gospel Brunch featuring Josh Kagler and Harmonistic Praise

Saturday, June 30 – ‘Georgia on My Mind: A Tribute to Ray Charles’

Tickets go on-sale Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 9 a.m. at, 866-JAS-TIXX (527-8499) or at the Belly Up Aspen box office. Tickets for the June 30 performance are available now through the Aspen Music Festival and School box office, or 970-925-9042. VIP 2-day passes (June 22-24) are available now at

Lyle Lovett & His Large Band, “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr. and vocalist Lizz Wright will headline the 2018 Jazz Aspen Snowmass June Experience at the Benedict Music Tent, festival organizers announced Friday.

The annual concert series also will feature the return of the free Gospel Brunch concert June 24 with New Orleans natives Josh Kagler and Harmonistic Praise.

The June Experience at the Benedict will be bracketed by intimate shows Thursday and Sunday night at the JAS Cafe at the Aspen Art Museum and Cooking School of Aspen. The festival will feature a previously announced tribute to Ray Charles in the Benedict on June 30, co-presented with the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Events will begin Thursday, June 21, at the JAS Cafe Upstairs at the Aspen Art Museum with vocalist and saxophone player Grace Kelly. She’ll be followed with a bill of “New Voices” on June 22 at the Benedict featuring Odom — who won a Tony for originating the role of Aaron Burr in “Hamilton” on Broadway — performing with special guests and students from the Aspen Music Festival and School. Wright, who performed at last year’s June Experience “Ella at 100” tribute concert, will open for Odom.

Lovett, a Texas country legend and Aspen regular who most recently headlined Belly Up in July, will play with His Large Band on June 23. The free gospel brunch closes the Benedict events on Sunday, with a pre-concert brunch prepared by chef Martin Oswald of Pyramid Bistro available in the Patron Tent for $40.

Later that evening, guitarist and vocalist Raul Midon will perform at the JAS Cafe Downstairs at the Cooking School of Aspen.

The Ray Charles tribute the following weekend will feature the 10-time Grammy-winners a capella group and Aspen favorite Take 6, with guest vocalists Nnenna Freelon and Clint Holmes, plus Grammy-winning saxophone player Kirk Whalum, all backed by the H2 Big Band.


The popular JAS Cafe summer series will run from June through August with concerts at the Aspen Art Museum, the Cooking School of Aspen and The Little Nell along with a new addition: The Temporary at Willits in Basalt.

It will close with a performance by the JAS Academy Big Band, coinciding with the nonprofit’s revival of its summer jazz academy for music students from around the country under the direction of Grammy-winner Christian McBride.

Jazz Aspen has dedicated its JAS Cafe summer season to the late Bob Magoon, who died earlier this year and memorably danced onstage at Junefest beside Diana Ross in 2016. With his wife, Nancy, Magoon has underwritten the JAS Cafe series since its inception.

“JAS is honored to dedicate its 2018 Summer JAS Cafe series to the memory of our dear friend Bob Magoon, who provided crucial support from the first note and encouraged many others to join he and Nancy in supporting the JAS Cafe year-round,” Jazz Aspen President Jim Horowitz said in the announcement.

The JAS Cafe season will open over Food & Wine weekend June 15 and 16 with performances by New Orleans-based Dirty Dozen Brass Band at a venue to be announced later. They’ll be followed by:

June 21: Grace Kelly at the Aspen Art Museum

June 24: Raul Midon at the Cooking School of Aspen

June 28 to 29: Laila Biali at the Little Nell (pronounced: Bee–a–lee)

July 6 to 7: The Hot Sardines at the Cooking School of Aspen

July 13: Scott Tixier Quintet at the Aspen Art Museum

July 14: Igor Butman and Fantine at the Aspen Art Museum

July 21: Django Festival Allstars at The Temporary

Aug. 10: Nicki Parrot Tribute to Peggy Lee at the Aspen Art Museum

Aug. 11: Allan Harris with the H2 Big Band and special guests Carolyn Leonhart and Shirazette Tinnin at the Aspen Art Museum

Aug. 12: The Bronx Horns: Tribute to Dizzie’s 100th at the Aspen Art Museum

Aug. 17: Dianne Reeves at the Aspen Art Museum

Aug. 18: Christian McBride, Benny Green and Russell Malone at the Aspen Art Museum

Aug. 19: JAS Academy Big Band directed by Christian McBride at the Aspen Art Museum

The season also will include a yet-to-be announced artist July 27 and 28 at the Cooking School. Tickets for the summer JAS Café series will be available starting Feb. 26 at 9 a.m.

And, as previously announced, Jazz Aspen will close its summer with the Labor Day Experience Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 featuring Zac Brown Band, Jack Johnson, Lionel Richie, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Fitz & the Tantrums, Gary Clark Jr., Bahamas, and The Record Company. Tickets for those shows are already on sale.