Tickets go on sale Aug. 16 for the 2020 HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Festival whose lineup includes legendary jazz/funk saxophonist Maceo Parker & His Big Band, smooth jazz saxophonist David Sanborn and jazz diva Mavis Staples.
The lineup also includes a Western swing band from California performing at the finale during the daylong Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration downtown and a pair of young female artists who dabble in jazz and R&B.
“We try to do mostly jazz, but in years past we’ve had Sheila E. Last year we had Asleep at the Wheel,” said Jazz Festival board president Elliot Glicksman, who helped found the festival now in its sixth year. “To do 10 shows in a row, we want to have a broad audience. If we just had straight jazz, every night would look like an AARP convention.”
This is the first festival curated without the help of longtime director Yvonne Ervin, who died in late December 2018, weeks before the 2019 festival. Ervin, a tireless advocate for jazz, had put together the lineups in past years, tapping her extensive national contacts to bring some of the biggest names in jazz.
Glicksman said the Jan. 12 show with saxophonist Grace Kelly and vocalist/trombonist Aubrey Logan is a nod to one of Ervin’s biggest goals — shining the spotlight on female jazz artists.
“I’m really excited about that because one of Yvonne Ervin’s things was promoting women in jazz,” he said.
The 2020 festival also pairs Tucson’s award-winning musicians from the Tucson Jazz Institute with Christian McBride, and Inside Straight and the UA Studio Jazz Ensemble with vocalist Veronica Swift.
The sixth annual festival runs 11 days from Jan. 10-20, 2020, with performances taking place in several venues around town:
- Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St.
- Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd., on the University of Arizona campus.
- Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St.
- Scottish Rite Temple, 160 S. Scott Ave.
- Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave.
Ticket prices vary by event and are available through tucsonjazzfestival.org.
- Jan. 10, Maceo Parker & His Big Band, presented in partnership with UA Presents, at Centennial Hall.
- Jan. 11, David Sanborn at the Fox.
- Jan. 12, ladies rule with headliners Grace Kelly and Aubrey Logan at the Rialto.
- Jan. 13, jazz pianist David Hazeltime & the Battle share the stage with tenor sax player Eric Alexander.
- Jan. 14, hip-hop, funk jazz ensemble Ghost-Note out of Dallas that includes the Grammy-winning percussion duo of Robert “Sput” Searight and Nate Werth plays at the Rialto.
- Jan. 15, jazz vocalist Veronica Swift teams up with the UA Studio Jazz Ensemble for a concert at Scottish Rite Temple.
- Jan. 16, TBA.
- Jan. 17, Afro-Cuban All Stars, headed up by tres master Juan de Marcos (founder of the critically acclaimed Buena Vista Social Club), play the Rialto.
- Jan. 18, swing/post-bop jazz bassist Christian McBride and Inside Straight share the marquee with Tucson’s exciting, national award-winning Tucson Jazz Institute Ellington Band at the Fox.
- Jan. 19, Tucson Symphony Orchestra teams up for “Aretha Franklin: A Tribute,” a matinee performance featuring Broadway rising star vocalists Capathia Jenkins and Ryan Shaw at Tucson Music Hall.
- Jan. 19, legendary Blues and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mavis Staples makes her first Tucson appearance in five years, returning to the Fox where she performed in late 2015 with Joan Osborne.
- Jan. 20, the festival goes outside for the MLK Day Downtown Jazz Fiesta, a finale featuring California-based Western swing band Yolo County Line and other artists performing on four stages.