Twin Cities Jazz Festival Announces 2012 Headliners

SAINT PAUL, Minn., January 27, 2012 – Coming off a fantastic three-day event in beautiful Mears Park last June, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival will hold its 14th annual event June 28-30 once again in downtown Saint Paul. Mears Park will come alive with a variety of music appealing to jazz fans on three stages and in local downtown jazz clubs.

Headline acts for this year’s Jazz Fest include such notables as Francisco Mela and the Delfeayo Marsalis Octet, both on Friday, June 29th followed by The Bad Plus with special guest Joshua Redman, June 30th.

Cuban born drummer Francisco Mela is a favorite among jazz’s elite instrumentalists including Joe Lovano, John Scofield and McCoy Tyner. He left Cuba in 2000 to pursue a degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston, was so endeared by the students and staff, he was hired to teach. His talents caught the eye of fellow teacher and world renowned saxophonist Joe Lovano. Mela become a member of first Lovano’s quartet and then a member of Lovano’s new group Us Five that performed at the 2010 Twin Cities Jazz Festival. He has been dubbed “one of the most important Cuban drummers in jazz.”

Frequent visitors to the Twin Cities in recent years, the Marsalis family have found regular gigs at The Dakota and Orchestra Hall. Middle brother Delfeayo Marsalis is no exception becoming an exceptional trombonist, touring internationally with five renowned bandleaders. He began producing at the age of 17 and has now produced over 100 recordings for artists like Harry Connick, Jr, Marcus Roberts, Spike Lee and Terence Blanchard. In the past year, he and his octet have shifted to performing after their release of Sweet Thunder, celebrating the music of Duke Ellington.

The Bad Plus, a phenomenal Twin Cities based piano trio, will be joined by saxophonist extraordinaire Joshua Redman for a performance sure to please the Saturday night crowd. For the past ten years, the Bad Plus has shattered musical convention blending jazz, pop, rock and avant garde with a mix of original compositions and covers of Bowie, Bacharach, Tears for Fears and Rush. Now they have reached out to include a horn – that of Joshua Redman, the 1991 winner of the Monk Saxophone Competition. After graduating from Harvard and deciding to forego a law degree from Yale, Redman began touring and recording with a variety of jazz masters, eventually releasing a string of recordings with his trios and quartets. He has performed with numerous artists including The Dave Mathews Band, the Rolling Stones, B.B. King, Jack DeJohnette, Stevie Wonder and several jazz orchestras.

The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education will be programming and hosting the youth stage.

Mela, Marsalis and Redman will also be on hand to conduct workshops at McNally Smith College of Music during the festival. The Twin Cities Jazz Festival will kick-off Thursday, June 28 with jazz musicians performing at a variety of downtown Saint Paul venues.

Recognized as one of the region’s premier music festivals, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival attracts top jazz artists, has enjoyed steady growth and garnered national recognition. Admission to Jazz Fest remains free due to support of many generous sponsors and supporters.

The full schedule will be announced in early May.

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Wally Shaver