Jazz is alive and well, thank you very much.
And, if you’re skeptical, just take a trip up to Lowertown area of St. Paul tonight through Saturday when the Twin Cities Jazz Festival will be going at full throttle and in high swing.
In its 17th year, the sprawling annual event features tons of high profile jazz musicians from across the world, the region, and the local scene, literally shoving them into every available nook and cranny from its Mears Park stage to along West 7th street; Highland Park to Como.
The all-star line-up includes Dr. John and the Nite Trippers, Nicholas Payton, the Araya-Orta Quartet with steel pan artist Othello Molineaux, pianist Jon Weber, Cloudmakers Trio, the JazzMN Orchestra, Atlantis Quartet, Laura Caviani, the Illicit Sextet, Pippi Ardennia, Patty Peterson, Debbie Duncan, Charmin Michelle, Lucia Newell, Yolande Bruce, Arne Fogel, and Maud Hixson. (Rochester’s Sena Ehrhardt and Cole Allen perform at 3 p.m. today at Big Daddy’s Barbeque, 625 University Ave. W.)
This is by no means an exhaustive list, if that gives you any indication of the size of the event, and organizers estimate it’ll one of the largest gathering of its kind assembled in the metro area, with more than 30,000 people showing up to take it all in.
The event is free (yes, free), but some concerts require online reservations; you’d do well to pour a cup of coffee while going over the extensive online schedule, just so you don’t miss anything on offer.
The festival organizers are smart. They ask jazz lovers to invite friends who don’t know jazz at all, since they’re convinced they can make them fans over the three-day music party. Judging by their continued success, they aren’t just whistling in the dark, either.
So, fan or friend, here’s your chance to riff with a huge crowd of like-minded folks, not to mention some of the best jazz artists working around the globe today.
Who says it isn’t a wonderful world?
If you go
What: Twin Cities Jazz Festival
When: Today through Saturday
Where: Mears Park, 221 E. Fifth St., St. Paul