The Tucson Jazz Institute "Concord" Combo started Monday's windy launch party on the Playground Bar & Lounge rooftop. The jazz band recently took first place in the High School Open Combo Division at this year's Next Generation Jazz Festival, and recently crowdfunded $11,000 to embark on a 7-day tour through Europe. The unofficial host of the evening was local attorney Elliot Glicksman, and he couldn't be more excited to announce the ambitious news. Glicksman is one of the many driving forces and sponsors in next year's HSL Properties: Tucson Jazz Festival.
The Jazz Fest will be a 10-day celebration starting on Friday, Jan. 16, until Sunday, Jan. 25. There will be a free outdoor concert on Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 19, tentatively located at the Mercado San Agustin. The intention is to bring thousands of people downtown, increase use of the streetcar and attract tourism during the winter season. "We are bringing some hot jazz under our winter sun," Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said at the press conference.
The Fox Tucson Theatre, Rialto and Hotel Congress will be the primary locations for the predominantly downtown family event. The Festival's executive director Yvonne Ervin said that Dianne Reeves and the Hot Sardines are the only confirmed act at this time. "January in Tucson is the perfect time to enjoy and celebrate jazz music," Ervin said.
Ervin was the founding director of the Tucson Jazz Society and marketing director for the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. She coordinated the Mingus Festival in 1993, and organized the world's longest running women's jazz celebration: Primavera Jazz Fest. Ervin told me that she was the Weekly's
first Jazz columnist. The Jazz Festival's artistic directors are L.A. Emmy Award-winning vocalist Jeff Haskell and managing director of Modern Works Music Publishing, Dan Coleman.
The event sponsors include Jim Click Automotive, Holualoa Companies, Tucson Jazz Society, Sinfonia HealthCare Corp., Law Office of JoJene Mills, P.C., Northern Trust Company and more.
Ervin says that offers have been made for some notable musicians, but plans on booking local and regional talent, to perform and open for the major acts.
For more information go to tucsonjazz.org and like the Facebook page for updates.