Making his first ever JAS appearance jazz pianist/vocalist Harry Connick, Jr. and Orchestra have been added to the June Festival lineup appearing at the Benedict Music Tent (pictured at right) on Friday, June 25. Over the past two decades Connick has taken a very hands-on approach to his recording career, calling the shots at the numerous phases of his albums projects. Whether performing the American Songbook or in the jazz, blues or funk idiom, the process has yielded consistent success, not to mention worldwide sales of over 25 million discs. In Connick's latest release, Your Songs, he has expanded his vision to encompass 14 classic popular songs; his instrumental pallet through a striking integration of a string orchestra and his swinging Big Band; and his basic approach to recording, with his interpretation of such classics as Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are," Elton John's "Your Song," and Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love with You."
On Saturday, June 26 at the Benedict Tent JAS will present JAS @ 20!, a special evening of performances in a Grammy-like format of multiple guests artists backed by a crack Big Band. Directed by JAS Distinguished Artist in Residence Christian McBride, the show will also feature jazz legends Dianne Reeves, Patti Austin, Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, Terence Blanchard, John Clayton and more.
Pink Martini will perform at the Benedict Music Tent on Sunday, June 27. Comprised of twelve musicians, Pink Martini's repertoire is wildly diverse. Says bandleader/pianist Thomas Lauderdale, "at one moment you feel like you're in the middle of a samba parade in Rio de Janeiro, and in the next moment, you're in a French music hall of the 1930s or palazzo in Napoli. It's a bit like an urban musical travelogue."
The closing night of the JAS 20th June Festival will take place on Saturday, July 3 featuring Natalie Cole with Big Band and Musicians from the AMFS. Cole, who had to cancel an appearance with JAS last July due to a kidney transplant last May, is already back on stage feeling "healthy, whole and 100% again." Her last release, Still Unforgettable, earned her two Grammy Awards in 2009, including Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. Cole was also the recipient of the NAACP Award for Best Jazz Artist in 2009.
The JAS Academy Summer Sessions, again with Christian McBride, will be in residence June 24-July 3. JAS' flagship music education program, the Academy is the nation's only all-scholarship jazz residency program, uniting the finest young jazz artists with the world's "jazz legends." JAS has contributed $5 million dollars to music education since 1996.
Additional special concerts and events will take place throughout the June 24-July 3 Festival including free performances at the Cooper Mall Stage, Jazz performances downstairs at the Little Nell, special events featuring students from the JAS Academy and JAS After Dark shows.
June Festival tickets are on-sale Friday, Feb. 12. Tickets will be available at 866-JAS-TIXX (527-8499) or www.jazzaspen.org. For information on Patron (VIP) tickets call the JAS office at 970-920-4996. Ticket and lodging packages are also available at 800-SNOWMASS orwww.snowmasstourism.com.
Look for more announcements surrounding the JAS 20th Anniversary season soon, including line-up information for the Labor Day Festival taking place Sept. 3-5 and other special events. For more information please visit www.jazzaspen.org or become a fan on Facebook.
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