Jazz legend Art Blakey once said “Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life,” and we are certainly ready to wash away a little bit of dust!!
We are excited to announce the 2020 Houston Jazz Festival at Miller Outdoor Theater will be streaming LIVE from our historic stage.
In celebration of Art Blakey’s 101st birthday, this year’s festival will feature Bu’s Jazz Messengers, brought to us in partnership with the Art Blakey Estate and starring past Blakey Music director Frank Lacy, Kansas native saxophonist Bobby Watson, Valery Ponomarev, and Curtis Lundy, all of whom are alumni of what is affectionately known as the “University of Blakey”.
These seasoned Grammy nominated and award-winning professionals have all served under Blakey as Music Directors of the Jazz Messengers, a pedigree that uniquely positions them to bring this group of fire breathing hard bop master musicians to Miller Outdoor Theatre.
Houston native, TSU alumni, and four time Grammy winner Frank Lacy is a consummate jazz artist, perennial poll winner in several disciplines, a multi-instrumentalist, and award-winning vocalist. While he plays several instruments, he is best known as a master trombonist and his ability to straddle the lines between free-jazz and mainstream.
Bobby Watson, whose credits are as long as your arm, is featured on more than a dozen Jazz Messenger recordings, the most of any of the Messenger ensembles.
The first major Russian jazz musician to make an impression in the United States, trumpet master Valery Ponomarev has always had an attractive tone, a swinging style, and a strong interest in keeping the hard bop legacy of Clifford Brown alive. A Messenger from 1977-1980; he recorded nine albums with Blakey, and has since freelanced, usually leading his own quintets and recording extensively for Reservoir.
In the liner notes to Caravan, considered one of the greatest Messenger Recordings, jazz writer and historian Ira Gitler articulates the essence of Art Blakey and his Messengers: “There is technique galore …but you are much too concerned with what he has to say to stop and marvel at it from any academic standpoint.”
So stop wherever you are Sunday, October 25th, and join us for this incredible livestream experience featuring the heralded Frank Lacy and his fantastic group of handpicked master musicians as they channel the true spirit of the one and only Art Blakey.
This year’s Jazz Fest opening performance will be The Houston Jazz Collective’s own Shelly Carrol, who has assembled a supergroup of contemporary jazz greats including Grammy Winner and Funk Master Bobby Sparks on keys, Mark Simmons on drums, and Jazz bassist extraordinaire Jay McK. For more information click here.
The set design features the sculptures, drawings, collages and paintings of critically acclaimed visual artist Jesse Lott. Known for his wild, frenetic lines in both his sculpture and drawings, predominantly from found material. The movement and energy in his works pairs perfectly with the every-changing fluidity of the music on stage. His work is in the permanent collections of and has been exhibited in major museums and universities in Texas and throughout the South as well as in the private collection or prominent collectors.
For more information visit The Houston Jazz Festival.
All performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre are FREE!
Produced by Houston Jazz Collective
The Houston Jazz Collective is a nonprofit organization that prides itself on showcasing the rich legacy of Jazz in Houston. We strive to accomplish this by producing and hosting cultural, jazz and tribute related events. Past events have featured critically acclaimed Houston based or native Houston musicians that have gone on to achieve great international notoriety. The organization’s mission also extends itself to an educational outreach program titled “The Houston Center for After School Jazz Programs”. The program reaches through the community by exposing the youth to the arts through not only jazz but through a curriculum that reaches them by giving them an understanding of what music and jazz is in its raw form.
The Houston Jazz Festival is funded in part by the City of Houston Through The Houston Arts Alliance
The Miller Outdoor Theatre Dream Streams Virtual Series is sponsored by HEB!
Additional Sponsors include: