Twin Cities Jazz Festival announces 2013 headliners

Preparations are underway for one of the biggest music events of the year in the Twin Cities, one that again will belie the notion that jazz is dead.

Indeed, the music is alive and kicking, as pianist Cyrus Chestnut is sure to demonstrate on Saturday, June 29, during the 15th annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

A versatile and energetic performer who draws heavily on the blues and stride piano, Chestnut is one of the lions of his generation.

The festival, which takes place June 27-29 in Saint Paul’s Mears Park, will offer serious jazz enthusiasts and fair weather fans a chance to hear a wide range of music by great performers, from big national names to vibrant local groups that make the Twin Cities one of the best regions for jazz in the nation.

Also on June 29, drummer and composer Matt Slocum will share the stage with saxophonist Walter Smith III.

On June 28, pianist and composer Kenny Werner will perform.

Among the local acts booked for the festival are the Adam Meckler Big Band (see my profile of Adam here) and singer Kristin Sponcia.

Some of the best performances will take place in local clubs. The entire festival schedule will be announced soon.

My hope is that it includes a chance for audiences to witness the artistry of great performers like drummers Eric Gravatt and Babatunde Lea (check him out here), singer Debbie Duncan and bassist Anthony Cox…