JAS Caf: The jazz in Aspen
ASPEN – Beginning Friday, and for the next few months, Jim Horowitz, founder and CEO of Jazz Aspen Snowmass, has a somewhat easier time discussing his organization. When asked the eternal question – “Where’s the jazz?” – Horowitz can point to a full winter of small-venue, largely acoustic performances that are no-doubt-about-it jazz shows.Jazz Aspen’s JAS Caf Downstairs@the Nell series opens this weekend with shows by vocalist Tierney Sutton. But the schedule of events for the series was announced months ago, a signal that Jazz Aspen’s proper jazz concerts, which had wandered from venue to venue over the years, had established a home in the dark, comfortable room in The Little Nell hotel.Sutton, a three-time Grammy nominee and head of the vocal department at the Los Angeles Academy of Music, will perform Friday at 7 p.m., and Saturday at 7 and 9 p.m., with her long-standing quintet.Allan Harris, a singer and guitarist who has made several Jazz Aspen appearances, is set for Dec. 27-28. Harris, a New York City native, has been working with Theatre Aspen to develop a musical about a freed slave who wants to be a cowboy. The show will be presented as a work-in-progress next summer at Theatre Aspen.Rose Max & Ramatis, a Brazilian vocal-and-guitar duo, will perform Jan. 11-12. Jan. 25-26 brings Catherine Russell, a singer who has worked with David Bowie, Steely Dan and the late Levon Helm. Russell is the daughter of Luis Russell, who was Louis Armstrong’s longtime musical director, and Carline Ray, a singer and bassist who earned advanced degrees from Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music.Brazilian-born singer and pianist Eliane Elias, whose 1995 album “Solos and Duets” was a collaboration with Herbie Hancock, is set for Feb. 8-9. Singer-saxophonist Curtis Stigers, who made the jump from pop-rock musician to jazzman a decade ago, returns to the series Feb. 15-16. His latest album, “Let’s Go Out Tonight,” released in April, features versions of songs by Bob Dylan, Steve Earle and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy.Jamaican-born pianist Monty Alexander, who was a headliner at Jazz Aspen’s June Festival in 2011, brings his Harlem-Kingston Express show to the JAS Caf Feb. 28-March 2. The Soul-Jazz Hammond B3 Organ Summit, led by organist Tony Monaco, is scheduled for March 15-16.The 2012-’13 Jas Cafe series closes March 29-30 with Cuban-born conga player and singer Pedrito Martinez, whose New York-based combo was profiled earlier this year in the New Yorker.With the exception of Friday, all dates feature shows at 7 and 9 p.m. The Little Nell bar menu is available at all shows, and the Little Nell’s Ajax Tavern and Element 47 restaurants will offer special pre-show dinners. Tickets for JAS Caf concerts are $35; a six-show Winter Series Pass is available for $150.For further information, go to firstname.lastname@example.org
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