Telluride Jazz Festival Begins Friday | Culture & Leisure

The Telluride Jazz Festival this weekend promises a plethora of good times and even better tunes, as the annual musical gathering embodies everything that makes the genre so fun and diverse.

Kicking off Friday at Telluride Town Park, this year’s headliners include Terence Blanchard with The E-Collective & Turtle Island Quartet, The Motet and Yola.

Saturday night’s Motet set will also feature special guests Jennifer Hartswick, Shira Elias and Jason Hann.

Trumpeter and vocalist Hartswick is known for her soulful performances with the Trey Anastasio Band. She has also recorded and shared the stage with Herbie Hancock, Phish, Christian McBride, Tom Petty, Aaron Neville, Carlos Santana, The Rolling Stones, Big Gigantic, Dave Matthews and Meghan Trainor. Formerly from Turkuaz, Elias is celebrated for her hypnotic stage presence and powerful voice. Hann of Telluride legends The String Cheese Incident rounds out the special guests with his incredible drumming skills.

The Motet and Co. are also playing Sunday night’s “Final Waltz” show at the Sheridan Opera House, and there are still tickets available, said Patrick Shehan, partnership director for SBG Productions.

Lineup also includes Cory Wong, Chief Adjuah ​​(formerly Christian Scott), Dee Dee Bridgewater and The Memphis Soulphony, Grupo Fantasma, Kelly Finnigan & The Atonements, The Lee Boys, Rufus Reid, The Airmen of Note, Joel Ross, Ghost Funk Orchestra. , Crescent Super Band, The Benny Benack III Quartet, Joe Smith & The Spicy Pickles, The McCarthy Trio, Telluride Student All-Stars Jazz, Ensemble, Vicious Beat, Voodoo Orchestra, Hooligans Brass Band, Deep Pocket, Random Abstract and Stillwater All – Stars.

Speaking of this year’s artists, Shehan runs down the list, explaining what makes each artist unique and must-see.

“Cory Wong brings a big band with him and just released a fantastic album,” he said. “Vulfpeck (a band that Wong tours with) is one of the biggest bands in the world right now, in my opinion, in the funk world. People should really expect a fun, high-energy show from him. There’s going to be a lot of honking and all that fun stuff.

Likewise, Sunday’s headliner Yola shouldn’t be missed.

“Yola is huge right now, she’s exploding. She’s gone from country to a lot of soul stuff. She’s just on fire right now, winning a lot of awards and highly sought after, Shehan added.

While VIP and Patron passes, as well as single-day Saturday tickets, have already sold out, there were still single-day tickets and three-day passes available, as of press time Thursday afternoon. But there are also several free offerings throughout the weekend, including workshops, concerts in Elks Park, and performances at Reflection Plaza in Mountain Village outside the Madeline Hotel.

Friday at 10 a.m. at the Opera, Blanchard and Reid will lead the “How Jazz Is Made” Masterclass by sharing their stories and writing processes over the years. On Sunday, Ross will team up with the percussion section of Caleb Chapman’s Crescent Super Band to lead a community outreach workshop focused on jazz improvisation.

“You can hear a jazz musician play the same tunes many times and it will never be exactly the same,” said Peter Bell, executive director of the Telluride Society for Jazz. “Their mood, their accompanists and the reactions of the audience shape their interpretation of a piece during a given performance. There is no other art form with such spontaneity.

There are also free pop-up shows at the Madeline Hotel in Reflection Plaza on Friday and Saturday afternoons, as well as a full concert schedule in Elks Park throughout the weekend. Of course, then there’s the New Orleans-style second line parade on Sunday at noon on Main Street, which everyone is welcome to join.

“Each year we have seen growth, and this year there is no expectation. It’s clean. Tickets sell out faster. The hype around the festival is noticeably stronger,” Shehan said.

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