“Jazz music is America’s past and its potential…It can remind us of where we fit on the time line of human achievement, an ultimate value of art.” — Wynton Marsalis

The Twin Cities Jazz Festival was created in 1999 to celebrate jazz, making this quintessentially American music available free of charge to all attendees.

The festival continues today, still free and still celebrating a music style that spans all ages, races and lifestyles. Held in Saint Paul since 2009, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival has been credited with helping build the city’s vibrant Lowertown district, where some 90,000 jazz-lovers and jazz-curious mingled in and around Mears Park for the 2016 festival.

To ensure that the Twin Cities grows its own up-and-coming jazz musicians, many of the festival’s performing artists are also booked for jazz music clinics for as many as 600 students at two local music schools, Walker West Music Academy (for younger students) and McNally Smith College of Music.

Because we want to keep all these offerings free, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival – a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization – is funded through proceeds from its Winter Jazz Festival (held annually in January), generous corporate sponsorships, grants and individual donations.

This year, 2017, marks the festival’s 19th year.

– Steve Heckler Executive Director



Alden Drew – Chair
Kevin Barnes
Michael Cook
Doug Brown
Barbara Davis
Steve Heckler
Phyllis Olin
Jim Scheibel
Tio Aiken


Steve Heckler – Executive Director
Kristine Heckler – Project Coordinator
Mary Fenske & Jean Ryan (JRI) Sponsorship Inquiries
Connie Shaver LLC – Director of Communications
Anna Buchholz, Marketing Coordinator
Alicia Pedersen, Marketing Coordinator
Julie Schultz Brown, Fund Development Director
Craig Eichhorn – Technical Director / Stage Manager
John Lozoya – Director of Logistics
Tom Waitros (TJ) Food Vendor Coordinator
Kate Wolf – Director of Volunteer Programs
Steve Wiese – Creation Audio – Sound
Neil Wallace – Event Pro – Sound
Bryan Hauer & Matt Whiteley (Creative Pixels Media) – Website Design, Development & Hosting
Greta Sandquist‏ – Original Artwork
Andrea Canter – Photography