Twin Cities Jazz Festival

Twin Cities Jazz Festival Announces 2015 Headliners!


Contact: Connie Shaver

Saint Paul, Minn., March 2, 2015 — Six-time Grammy winner Dr. John and the Nite Trippers, the Araya Orta Latin Jazz Quartet Featuring Othello Molineaux, Festival Artistic Director Francisco Mela’s new Jazz Machine with special guest Nicholas Payton, 2014 Monk Trumpet Competition winner Marquis Hill and an all-star quartet featuring Chris Potter, Dave Holland, Lionel Loueke and Eric Harland will headline the 17th annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival, director Steve Heckler announced today. The festival, to be held June 25 to-27 in and around Mears Park in Saint Paul’s Lowertown arts district, will include events in the new CHS (Saints) Field as well as headline acts on the Mears Park Main Stage, Sixth Street Stage and Union Depot Stage, plus performances at over 20 area clubs, bars and studio venues.

“We’re excited to be able to offer an even bigger and stronger festival this year with the support of the Knight Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) and the City of Saint Paul Cultural Star program,” said Heckler. “Our headliners represent a wide range of jazz artists from New Orleans to New York to the Caribbean and Latin America. And our new venue, the brand new 7000-seat CHS Field, allows us to bring acts that would never have been possible before to perform for our largest-ever audiences.”

  • Since the late 1950s, New Orleans native and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Dr. John (Malcom John Rebbenack) has entertained with his unique brand of music melding blues, pop, jazz, zydeco, boogie woogie and rock ‘n’ roll, racking up six Grammy Awards along the way and garnering rave reviews for his 2014 recording, Ske-Dat-De-Dat, a tribute to Louis Armstrong. Dr. John last performed in the Twin Cities on the eve of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Note: this concert will require a ticket (free) for admission. An online order form has been set up on the Jazz Fest website. Saturday, June 27, 3 p.m. CHS Field.
  • After appearing at the 2011 and 2012 Twin Cities Jazz Festivals, Chicago native Marquis Hill won the “triple crown” of trumpet: the 2012 International Trumpet Guild Jazz Improvisation Competition, the 2013 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition. In addition to teaching and composing, Hill tours and records with his volcanic “Blacktet.” The ensemble includes an enviable list of rising stars –alto saxophonist Christopher McBride, vibraphonist Justin Thomas, bassist Joshua Ramos, and drummer Makaya McCraven. Marquis Hill Blacktet, Saturday, June 27 6 p.m. Mears Park Main Stage.
  • A big hit at the 2012 Twin Cities Jazz Festival, the Araya Orta Latin Jazz Quartet returns with jazz steel pan artist Othello Molineaux in a much anticipated tribute to the compositions of legendary bassist Jaco Pastorious. Molineaux is credited with introducing the steel pan to jazz, through his work with Monty Alexander, Chicago and others, including the late Jaco Pastorious. Araya Orta is a collaboration among two pairs of musical brothers–Nicky and Michael Orta, and Carlomagno and Ramses Araya; the quartet has worked with some of the biggest names in jazz–Michael Brecker, Chick Corea, Paquito D’Rivera and more. Friday, June 26, 6 p.m. Mears Park Main Stage.
  • After several recent appearances at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Cuban drummer Francisco Mela was named the festival’s first Artistic Director earlier this year. Now Mela, drummer for McCoy Tyner, Melissa Aldana and Joe Lovano, returns to the festival stage, this time with his new Jazz Machine tribute to the great Elvin Jones and very special guest, world-renowned trumpeter Nicholas Payton. Making his Twin Cities Jazz Festival debut, the Grammy-winning Payton grew up in New Orleans and is acknowledged as one of the most talented performers and composers in modern jazz. Saturday, June 27 8:30 p.m. Mears Park Main Stage.
  • Any of the jazz titans in this quartet would be a headliner alone: Saxophonist Chris Potter was gigging with established artists as a teen and became the youngest winner of the famed Denmark jazz award, the Jazpar Prize. He has since led such acclaimed ensembles as the Underground and collaborated with Dave Holland, Dave Douglas, Craig Taborn, Paul Motian and more. Native Englishman, bassist Dave Holland has played with the biggest names in jazz, including Coleman Hawkins, Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Thelonious Monk and Betty Carter. His more recent quintets, quartets and big band have topped numerous critics polls and garnered multiple Grammy awards and nominations. A guitarist and vocalist from Benin in West Africa, Blue Note recording artist Lionel Loueke has worked with Terence Blanchard and Herbie Hancock and led the respected trio Gilfema. Drummer Eric Harland is one of the busiest in modern jazz, performing regularly with Charles Lloyd, Joshua Redman, Stefon Harris, Dave Holland’s Prism and the SF Jazz Collective, and leading his own band, Voyager. The multi-Grammy nominee appears on over 200 albums. Friday, June 26, 8:30 p.m. Mears Park Main Stage.

As in recent years, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival brings together internationally and locally acclaimed jazz artists performing for three afternoons and evenings — all free! Light Rail lines will help move jazz fans between stages and among indoor music venues that will host a variety of jazz acts, starting with the annual “Jazz Night Out” on Thursday, June 25 with kick-off activities at Mears Park and area clubs, and continuing with Friday events from 4 to10 p.m. and a full line-up on Saturday from Noon til after dark. Additionally, for the fifth year, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival will partner with Saint Paul Public Libraries to bring jazz programs to neighborhood libraries prior to the festival. Other activities include pre-performance clinics with festival headliners and after-hours jam sessions.

Support for the 2015 Twin Cities Jazz Festival is provided by the Knight Foundation through its Knight Arts Challenge, Minnesota State Arts Board Arts Access grant, NEA, City of Saint Paul Cultural Star. Over 30,000 are expected at this free public event, one of the largest jazz festivals in the Midwest.

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For more information, visit Full line-up and festival details will be released soon.