VAIL — Vail Jazz announced its winter series lineup this week and it has more live performances than years past. The series includes intimate soirees in private homes, jazz club-style performances in the heart of Vail Village and, new this year, Vail Jazz hosts live webcasts of Jazz at Lincoln Center performances, featuring some of the most notable jazz artists on the scene today. New partnerships with local venues are highlighted in the Vail Jazz Winter Series with Cucina at the Lodge at Vail as the primary winter venue for live music, along with eat! drink! as the host of the live webcasts.
“The lineup of winter artists mirrors what Vail Jazz is known for — exceptional performances presented in intimate and intriguing locales,” said Howard Stone, artistic director. “We are so fortunate to bring such an impressive lineup of top jazz performers all of whom are compelling and captivating entertainers. These performances will cover a varied spectrum of appealing jazz styles that are sure to please audiences, whether a hardcore jazz fan or just someone looking for a great musical experience.”
The live performances kick off on Dec. 26 in partnership with the Vilar Performing Arts Center, with the presentation of Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. A hard-edged funk/rock/jazz/hip-hop band led by New Orleans native Trombone Shorty, the group employs hip-hop beats, rock dynamics and jazz improvisation. Beginning his career as a bandleader at the young age of 6, and then touring internationally at age 12, he spent his teens playing with various brass bands throughout New Orleans and touring worldwide with Lenny Kravitz. Tickets for this performance are available at www.vilarpac.org.
On Feb. 28 Gypsy Jazz Jam, featuring three of today’s most renown guitarists, Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo with special guest Andreas Oberg, will perform at Cucina. The sound of Jazz Manouche, or Gypsy Jazz, has been whispering its way out of smoky bars and bistro corners since French guitarist Django Reinhardt first laid its foundations in the 1940s. Almost 80 years later, torch bearers of this captivating music play on, supplementing the classic sound with the jazz idioms of today. Guitarists Vignola, Raniolo and Oberg have risen to the top in the most recent generation of Gypsy Jazz greats, playing Reinhardt’s originals, the American Songbook and their own creations. Tickets go on sale on Jan. 5 and are available for one or both sets.
Ever popular Hammond B3 organist Tony Monaco will return to Vail’s Cucina on March 27 to perform with his touring trio. After finishing a series of world tours with Pat Martino, Monaco brings his own fiery, explosive flavor of jazz to the table, backed by Fareed Haque on guitar and Greg Fundis on drums.
The season of jazz at Cucina comes to a close on April 2 with a performance by the Allan Finney Sextet and the celebration of their first collaborative CD. A longtime Vail local, Finney will release his debut album with a raucous, celebratory blowout. The evening will feature Eric Gunnison on keyboard, Bob Rebholz on sax, Mark Simon on bass, Bill Kopper on guitar and Justin Allison on vocals.
A winter soiree will take place on Feb. 15 at a private home in Singletree, featuring Marcus Roberts on piano as well as cocktails, appetizers and an intimate concert by one of today’s most well respected jazz pianists.
Local Edwards eatery eat! drink! is teaming up with Vail Jazz throughout the winter season to pair live webcasts from Jazz at Lincoln Center with boutique wines and small plates. “Big Band Holidays” with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will broadcast today at 6 p.m., with special guest vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant, followed by “Birth of the American (Jazz) Orchestra” on Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. January’s program will wrap with “Papo Vazquez Band of Mighty Pirate Troubadours” on Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. February and March dates will be added soon.
Tickets go on sale Jan. 5 at www.vailjazz.org or by calling 970-479-6146. For more information, visit www.vailjazz.org.