JAS 30th Anniversary Summer Updates
June 18 – September 7, 2021
Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ 30th anniversary unfolds against a backdrop of growing optimism about what the summer of 2021 will look like for live music performances.
JAS plans to present its full summer season of small venue concerts, focused on safe and distanced in-person “live” performances starting the weekend of June 18-20 (Food & Wine time historically), followed immediately by the June JAS Experience June 24-27 and the JAS Café summer season of July/August performances.
“We are closely monitoring the evolving health guidelines and protocols emerging in our industry both nationally and internationally,” stated JAS President & CEO Jim Horowitz. “We are confident that we will be able to safely manage the crowds at all our smaller venues hosting JAS June and summer JAS Café performances. We expect thrills, tears and frequent enthusiastic applause after the long forced silence of live music during COVID-19’s rampage.”
With many national large outdoor festivals being re-scheduled from 2020 to mid-summer & early fall 2021 (including three major US festivals in addition to JAS over Labor Day weekend led by Bonnaroo which went on sale April 1st), JAS is optimistic its annual season closing festival over Labor Day weekend will take place based on Pitkin County Health guidelines at the time. JAS plans to announce its final line-up of Artists for the event in June.
Also this summer, JAS’ flagship all-scholarship JAS Academy in collaboration with Frost School of Music at the University of Miami will expand from two to four weeks, adding a “Small Combo” Sessions segment from July 11–25 to complement its “Big Band” Sessions July 26–August 7, led under the direction of GRAMMY® Award-winning bassist, Christian McBride.
The June Experience will include a total of eight performance venues. General admission passes include shows at The Little Nell, Here House at Local Coffee, Belly Up, and the Wheeler Opera House. Patron/VIP pass holders will enjoy music at The Velvet Buck at the St. Regis, rooftop at the Aspen Art Museum, and at the Durant St. Patron Tent located at the ice rink. Additional single ticket performances will take place at the Hotel Jerome for the first time since 1991.
The majority of the June Experience line-up includes artists who were originally scheduled to perform in June 2020. The summer JAS Café series also hosts many favorite JAS artists originally scheduled to perform in 2020.
“Our over-riding theme for 2021 is celebrating our musical roots. Hence, the artistic program is filled with Artists who have a long history with the family of JAS, having performed numerous times to great audience acclaim through the years, while also sprinkling the program with numerous artist debuts. At the same time, JAS shines a particular light in its June & JAS Café season on the Roots of American popular music …. Gospel, Blues & Early Jazz which emerged after the Civil War and laid the foundation for the explosion of American popular music and recording in the 20th Century,” said Horowitz.
Among the highlights of the June Experience:
Featured as part of the Patron/VIP program: dazzling 8-time GRAMMY® Award-winning a cappella vocal sextet Take 6 (Durant St. Patron Tent, June 25); the explosive sounds fusing jazz with reggae rhythms of Monty Alexander’s Harlem-Kingston Express (AAM, June 25); multiple GRAMMY® winning jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater (Velvet Buck, June 25); and the swinging & sultry NYC jazz vocalist Carolyn Leonhart (Velvet Buck, June 27).
Included in both the Patron/VIP and general admission programs: Denver’s beloved funk outfit The Motet (Belly Up, June 25/Durant St. Patron Tent, June 26); the classic ’70s sound (featuring all original arrangements sanctioned by the Estate) of The Family Stone (Durant St. Patron Tent, June 25, Belly Up, June 26); high energy swinging trad-jazz dripping with humor & theatre from the wildly popular Sammy Miller & the Congregation (Belly Up, June 26; Durant St. Patron Tent Sunday Brunch Shows, June 27); and the legendary, multi-winning W.C. Handy Blues award winning vocalist, Ms. Bettye Lavette, in her JAS debut (Wheeler Opera House, June 25, Velvet Buck, June 26); and from New Orleans Tuba Skinny, a wildly inventive former street band who meld early trad jazz with Dixieland, drums, folk and more ( AAM, June 24 & Wheeler Opera House, June 27).
Additional highlights for general admission pass holders include: brilliant solo guitar and mouth percussion from Brazilian Badi Assad (Here House, June 25-26); stunning flamenco guitar from Juanito Pascual (Here House, June 27); and a soul-stirring pair of deeply soulful and funky Hammond B-3 Organ Quartets Delvon Lamarr and Jamison Ross (The Little Nell, June 25-27) each bringing their smokin’ B-3 Trio’s plus special guests on guitar.
At the Hotel Jerome Ballroom on Friday, June 25 and Saturday, June 26 a blistering New Orleans Revue featuring Dumpstaphunk with bassist George Porter, Jr. and the legendary pianist/vocalist Jon Cleary will be available on a single ticket basis, not included in the Experience passes. Ticket options include an early dinner show, featuring a 3-course New Orleans inspired dinner provided by the Hotel Jerome and a late show music only option.
Among the highlights of the JAS Café Series:
A special weekend opening the summer season will be announced soon taking place over the former Food & Wine Classic dates (June 18-19); urbane jazz vocalist & saxophonist Curtis Stigers (July 9); legendary jazz-fusion pioneers The Yellowjackets who performed at the Benedict Music Tent on the opening weekend of Jazz Aspen June 1991 (July 10); jazz pianist and Frost School of Music Dean Shelly Berg & Friends (July 23); Caribbean Carnivale sounds of jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles & Creole Soul (July 24); JAS Academy Artistic Director and multi-Grammy winning bassist Christian McBride & Tip City (Aug. 5); the premier male jazz vocalist of his generation, Kurt Elling, in his long overdue JAS Café debut (Aug. 6); the return of a favorite JAS vocalist, Catherine Russell, in a Blues focused program paying tribute to early blues pioneers like Bessie Smith (Aug. 13); and another JAS debut, the wildly creative fusion of jazz, African rhythms & bluegrass sounds of Pascal Bokar’s Afro Blue Grazz Band (Aug. 15). Additional JAS Café shows will be announced at a later date.
TICKETS FOR SUMMER EVENTS
The JAS June Experience will operate under the guidelines of event gatherings as directed by Pitkin County Health. All venues are projected to operate at much lower capacities than in 2019, with a maximum of 50–100 persons allowed to attend each performance. A limited number of three-day general admission passes will be available for sale at 9am MST on Friday, April 23 at axs.com/jasaspen. At this time all Patron/VIP passes are sold-out based on 2020 purchasers choosing to move their tickets to 2021 following last years event postponement.
If capacities and/or distancing requirements change to allow more attendees by early summer, additional seats will be opened for purchase. “Surprise” events yet to be revealed will be announced at a later date in multiple venues.
The JAS Café series, with shows taking place on the rooftop of the Aspen Art Museum and at the Velvet Buck in the St. Regis, will go on-sale this Friday at 9am as well. Tickets can be purchased at axs.com/jasaspen or 970-920-4996. Each night at the Café will feature two performances at 7pm and 9:15pm.
On June 21, 1991, the three-day “Jazz Aspen” festival was born in Aspen, marked by an opening night Gala at the Hotel Jerome; a New Orleans Brass Band parade circling the Hyman & Cooper pedestrian malls, and, two nights of concerts at the Benedict Music Tent, each featuring three stellar Artists. Thirty years later, JAS plans to celebrate their history and roots, while helping to be a major part of this summer’s highly anticipated re-opening of Aspen.
For more information on JAS summer plans and more, please visit jazzaspensnowmass.org.