The 19th annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival will be headlined this year by several legendary jazz artists including John Coltrane Quartet pianist McCoy Tyner; Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard; Anat Cohen with Choro Aventuroso; and keyboardist, organist, and Minnesota-native Bobby Lyle. The announcement was made today by the festival’s executive director, Steve Heckler. “I’m excited to have a jazz legend like McCoy Tyner and celebrated veterans like Terence Blanchard and Bobby Lyle perform alongside rising stars like Anat Cohen,” said Heckler. “Thanks to the support we get from the community, we’re able to keep our event free and open to all.”
The festival, set for June 22-24 in and around Mears Park in Saint Paul’s Lowertown arts district, will include headline acts on the Mears Park Main Stage, 6th Street Stage, and Union Depot Stage as well as performances at over 20 clubs, bars and studio venues.
McCoy Tyner’s highly energetic approach to the piano, where explosively percussive, yet cultivated chord voicings ride a constant juxtaposition between a powerfully demonstrative left hand and a fleet, elegant right, is one of the most distinct sounds in jazz. At age 22, he began playing with what was destined to become one of the seminal groups in jazz history, The John Coltrane Quartet. After 5 years with Coltrane and the ensuing 6 decades as a leader in his own right, in which he has released over 80 albums, Tyner has inspired multiple generations of musicians with his signature harmonic framework, motivic transpositions and chordal substitutions. Tyner has earned four Grammys and was awarded Jazz Master from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2002. McCoy Tyner, Main Stage in Mears Park, Saturday, June 24, 8:30 p.m.
Top-tier jazz and multiple Grammy-winning trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard has traveled many paths musically since embarking on his solo recording career in 1983, including delivering adventurous and provocative acoustic jazz outings of original material, composing over 50 soundtracks, recording more than 30 albums, and debuting Champion: An Opera in Jazz. The New Orleans-born and -based artist has also, in the spirit of his four year membership in the jazz school of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, mentored several musicians in his bands who have gone on to have significant recording careers of their own (including Lionel Loueke, Aaron Parks, Kendrick Scott and one of his current band members Fabian Almazan). Blanchard’s groove-based E-Collective spent the first week of 2017 recording a live album in Minneapolis, as well as Cleveland and Dallas. Terence Blanchard, Main Stage in Mears Park, Thursday, June 22, 8:00 p.m.
An established bandleader and prolific composer, idiomatically conversant with modern and traditional jazz, chamber music, Brazilian choro and an expansive timeline of Afro-Cuban styles, Anat Cohen has established herself as one of the primary voices of her generation on the clarinet since releasing her debut recording on her own Anzic Records in 2005. She will be joined by her new band, Choro Aventuroso, who blend Brazilian music with modern and traditional jazz, samba, and other cultural styles from around the world to create a bold, vibrant, and irresistibly energetic and magnetic sound. Anat Cohen with Choro Aventuroso, Main Stage in Mears Park, Friday, June 23, 8:30 p.m.
Bobby Lyle has been a fixture in the contemporary jazz scene for more than three decades. He has distinguished himself as a performing artist, composer, recording artist, musical director, music publisher, and music educator. Lyle began his professional career at the age of 16, playing in local clubs in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and attended Macalester College for two years of advanced piano studies before hitting the road as a full-time musician. He has since compiled a prolific discography of music that has taken him all over the world as a leader and with the likes of George Benson, Bette Midler and Al Jarreau. Bobby Lyle, Main Stage in Mears Park, Saturday, June 24, 6:00 p.m.
For more information, visit TwinCitiesJazzFestival.com, or follow @tcjazzfestival on Twitter, like our page on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel. We’ll also be streaming live on Facebook (as permitted) during the Festival. To join Jazz Fest’s email list, click here. #tcjazzfest
Musicians and schedule subject to change. The entire line-up and festival details will be released in May.