THIRD ANNUAL HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Festival FEATURES GEORGE BENSON, DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER, TOWER OF POWER, KAMASI WASHINGTON A FREE DAY-LONG FEST AND MORE
Tucson, AZ. —The HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Festival will present jazz of all genres in historic downtown Tucson Thursday, Jan. 12 until Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. The lineup includes a dozen performances by local and national stars, including NEA Jazz Masters—guitarist and vocalist George Benson and vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater. Tickets, ranging in price from $25 to $99, are available through links on the website www.tucsonjazzfestival.org.
The first weekend features concerts presented by festival partners. UA Presents kicks off the festival and its jazz series with saxophonist Kamasi Washington on Thursday, Jan. 12 at The Rialto. From a Tucson favorite, Pink Martini, comes vocalist Storm Large presented by Green Room Entertainment at the Fox and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra is bringing in guitarist and vocalist John Pizzarelli to perform with the orchestra at the Music Hall.
The Festival is, primarily, a downtown event with concerts at the historic Fox and Rialto theatres. A free outdoor Downtown Jazz Fiesta sponsored by Rio Nuevo will be held on Jan. 16, with two stages: one featuring local and regional Latin jazz bands and the other featuring smaller jazz ensembles. Bands will also play indoors downtown all day and late into the evening. Food trucks, a collection spot for the Tucson Community Food Bank, photo booths, street chalk art and a bicycle valet will add to the festivities.
The day after the Downtown Jazz Fiesta, clarinetist Anat Cohen and guitarist Howard Alden will perform in a duo setting at the University of Arizona Crowder Hall. Pianist Armen Donelian will grace the stage at the Scottish Rite Temple on Wednesday, Jan. 18 and George Benson will take the stage at the Fox on Jan. 19. DeeDee Bridgewater plays on Friday night with her quartet and the Tucson Jazz Institute Ellington Band with guest, drummer Lewis Nash, will open the show. Tower of Power will take over the Rialto Theatre on Saturday night and the final day has a Sunday Dixieland Brunch at the Hilton El Conquistador and a CD release concert with Howe Gelb at Hotel Congress
The relatively warm weather and world-class acts bring new winter visitors to town. The inaugural 2015 festival attracted 10,000 people over 13 days – 28% of whom were from outside of the Tucson area, fulfilling Mayor Jonathan Rothschild’s vision of a “destination” festival. This year’s festival brought 18,000 people to downtown and 35% of the attendees were from out of town.
“We are so delighted that the festival is drawing a great audience from out of town and that it’s putting Tucson on the jazz map,” said Yvonne Ervin, Executive Director of Jazz in January, the non-profit presenter of the festival. “We’re also pleased to bring other organizations into the festival as presenting partners—collaboration is important to the success of arts in Tucson.”
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