Vail Jazz festival’s winter series continues Sunday

VAIL — Tickets are on sale for Vail Jazz Winter Series live performances, which take place through early April. Featured performances include a soiree with Marcus Roberts on Sunday, as well as a trio of performances at Cucina at the Lodge at Vail. Sunday will be a very special performance by Roberts, who Wynton Marsalis calls “the greatest American musician most people have never heard of.” His impressive technical ability and remarkable interpretive skills will be showcased at this intimate event. Limited tickets are available.

The Gypsy Jazz Jam on Feb. 28 kicks off the new Cucina series, which highlights Frank Vignola, Vinny Raniolo and Andreas Oberg, three of today’s most outstanding guitarists in the French Gypsy swing style. This series is a great way to catch dinner and a show in the Vail Valley, and harkens back to those smoky bars and bistro corners of Paris, when Django Reinhardt first laid the foundations of this style in the 1940s. Nearly 80 years later, torchbearers of this captivating music play on, supplementing the classic sound with the jazz idioms of today.

Hammond B3 organ extraordinaire Tony Monaco will return to Vail with his signature Jimmy Smith sound on March 27. Vail Jazz and Cucina will turn the restaurant into a jazz club for a night of Monaco’s fiery, explosive flavor of jazz.

The Allan Finney Sextet will hold its CD release party on April 2 as a lively conclusion to the Vail Jazz Winter Series. You’ve seen him grace the stages of the Vail Jazz Party, lead bands throughout the state of Colorado and share the stage with performers such as Curtis Stigers, Tony Monaco and Tony DeSare. Now, Finney celebrates the release of his first CD with Eric Gunnison on keyboard, Bob Rebholz on sax, Mark Simon on bass, Bill Kopper on guitar and Justin Allison on vocals.

Vail Jazz’s new partnership with local Edwards eatery eat! drink! continues Feb. 20 with Vail vocal favorite, Cyrille Aimee. Aimee will kick off the evening by celebrating the composers and songs of New Orleans, the historic epicenter of jazz. The evening continues with The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s special premiere of the “New Orleans Jazz Market”. A Salute to Betty Carter on March 6 will feature Benny Green, a frequently featured artist at the annual Vail Jazz Party, and vocalist Charenee Wade. Carter blazed her own trail as one of the most original jazz vocalists of our time, known for her flawless phrasing, uncanny unpredictability and signature glissando. Expect to hear familiar favorites from Carter’s legacy.

“With the expansion of our community outreach activities this year, Vail Jazz is offering this incredible webcast series as an accessible, informal option for music lovers in our community to gather and enjoy great jazz performances,” said Robin Litt, executive director. “While live concerts are core to our summer festival and winter series, this series is a great opportunity for those infrequent jazz listeners to explore the genre in a really fun, casual way. Our partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center speaks to a shared goal of both of our organizations, to expand the audience of this exceptional American art form. Come early to secure your seats for this growing series of shows!”

Visit www.vailjazz.org or call 970-479-6146 to learn more.