Dianne Reeves, Branford Marsalis to headline Twin Cities Jazz Festival

Jazz Festival Logo, 2014

When the 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival takes place in St. Paul this June, concert-goers will be treated to two of the biggest names in jazz.

In singer Dianne Reeves and saxophonist Branford Marsalis, festival organizers have picked highly acclaimed performers who have spent their careers advancing the music.

Marsalis, who as most jazz aficionados know is the oldest brother in a  family of famous musicians, performs Friday, June 27.

A National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master who has performed in a variety of musical settings. His most recent recording is “Four MFs Playin’ Tunes” with his acclaimed quartet. It features drummer Justin Faulkner, bassist Eric Revis and pianist Joey Calderazzo.

Reeves, one of the true divas of the jazz world, performs on Saturday, June 28. A versatile songstress who has won widespread acclaim, she is the only vocalist two earn three consecutive Grammy awards. Her fourth came in 2006.

Her latest recording, “Beautiful Life,” is her first in five years. It melds elements of R&B, Latin music and pop within the 21st century jazz and is a celebration of life.

The 16th annual festival, which takes place June 26-28 in St. Paul’s Mears Park, will offer jazz enthusiasts and occasional fans an opportunity to hear accomplished veterans with national and international profiles and rising stars.

Among the latter is 24-year-old Melissa Aldana, who won the 2013 Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition, becoming the first woman instrumentalist to win any of the Monk top honors in the 26-year history of the competition. A native of Chile, Aldana is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music. She will perform with her “Crash” Trio, including bassist Pablo Menares and drummer Francisco Mela.

Also performing will be piano and Hammond B-3 player Joe Krown, a three time winner of the New Orleans “Big Easy Award.” He’s the longtime keyboardist for Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.

The jazz festival also will feature accomplished local musicians.

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

The weekend begins with the annual “Jazz Night Out” with music in clubs on Thursday. Friday has music in Mears Park from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and a full lineup on Saturday from noon until 10 p.m.

For the fourth year, the festival will offer jazz programs in St. Paul Public Libraries during the two weeks leading up to the festival.

For more information, visit the festival’s website.