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Telluride Jazz Celebration 2012: Three Days in Paradise

A preview of the 2012 Telluride Jazz Celebration to be held August 3-5 by Louise Uznanski, Holley Dey and Richard Uznanski.

Returning to the Telluride Jazz Celebration where last year Taylor Hicks and Rita Coolidge graced the stage, this year’s lineup promises to again be hip, current and three days well spent in Paradise.

This year the Guest of Honor is Roy Hargrove whose name will grace the Town Park Stage stage during the three day celebration.  Music is scheduled throughout the weekend at the Free Stage at Elks Park.

The artists scheduled to appear range from Soulive and funky METERS to Victor Wooton and the Telluride Student All-Star Orchestra.

At night “Jazz after Dark” takes over downtown with artists scheduled on Friday and Saturday night at the Sheridan Opera House, the Telluride Elks Club and Fly Me to The Moon

Last year’s festival provided perfect weather during the weekend and record crowds enjoyed a variety of music in scenic Town Park and the Free Stage at Elks Park.

The following is a brief description of each artist provided by Todd Altshuler, Marketing Director of the Telluride Jazz Celebration.

Victor Wooten

Victor Wooten Band

Victor Wooten is a five-time Grammy winner who hit the worldwide scene in 1990 as a founding member of the super-group Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Continuing to blaze a musical trail with the band, Victor has also become widely known for his own Grammy nominated solo recordings and tours. Victor has won every major award given to a bass guitarist including being voted Bassist of the Year in Bass Player Magazine’s readers poll three times (the only person to win it more than once). In 2011, Rolling Stone Magazine voted Victor one of the Top Ten Bassists of all time.

funky METERS

The funky METERS’ trademark sound blends funk, blues, and dance grooves with a New Orleans vibe. Formed during an informal jam during the 1989 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Art Neville, George Porter Jr., and Russell Batiste Jr., founded what would be the core of the most qunitessential funk band on tour today. With Brian Stoltz returning to the band as the full time guitarist in 2007, the funky METERS are stronger than ever. The collective resume between the four artists in the band speaks volumes for the level of musicianship and creativity that comes alive when they play together on any stage.


Neal and Alan Evans first invited guitarist Eric Krasno to get down at their Woodstock, NY studio which led to the trio’s break-out record Get Down! in 1999). it was a tip to the great soul-jazz organ trios of the ’60s and ’70s (Jimmy Smith to Brother Jack McDuff). Not many bands can say they’ve recorded with Chaka Khan, Dave Matthews, Talib Kweli and John Scofield. Nor can many bands open for The Rolling Stones on one tour and have Stevie Wonder sit in with them on the next tour. The musical relationships with Derek Trucks, Maceo Parker, Susan Tedeschi, Robert Randolph, Joshua Redman, Fred Wesley, Jazz, hip-hop, rock, soul, funk, R & B, Blues – musically, there is not much the band hasn’t done.

Roy Hargrove – Guest of Honor

Roy Hargrove first rose to prominence at the age of 16 when he was discovered by Wynton Marsalis at a jazz clinic at Hargrove’s high school in Fort Worth. Marsalis invited Hargrove to play with him and a star was born. The guest appearances led to invites from Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard and Bobby Hutcherson over the ensuing months. This past week, Hargrove was nominated for Best Improvised Jazz Solo Grammy for “Ms. Garvey, Ms. Garvey,” from his first big band album, ‘Emergence.’

Very rarely do you find a musician who plays on such an elite level across as many jazz genres as Hargrove. He won his first Grammy in 1998 for the album Habana with Cristol, an afro-cuban band he founded. Then in 2002, Hargrove won another Grammy for a three-way collaboration, Directions In Music which he recorded with Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker. He has further ventured into the black pop mainstream as a collaborator with edgy soul star D’Angelo and guest appearances on albums by neo soul priestess Erykah Badu, thought-provoking rapper Common, and English acid jazz DJ/producer Gilles Peterson.

Jon Cleary’s Philthy Phew

Born in England and bred in New Orleans, Jon Cleary is a triple threat combining soulful vocals, masterful piano skills, and a knack for composing infectious grooves with melodic hooks and sharp lyrics. He balances performing on solo piano, with his trio, and with noted funk band The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, alongside a career as a notorious hired gun with the likes of Bonnie Raitt and John Scofield.

Astral Project All-Stars w/ Sasha

Since 1978, Astral Project has been New Orleans1 most exciting, inventive and respected modern jazz group. It1s a co-op band comprised of world-class improvisers, hailed by fans and critics around the world. Down Beat calls Astral Project “one of the most distinctive and cohesive groups in jazz.” The daily paper in hometown, The New Orleans Times-Picayune, calls Astral Project simply “the city’s premier modern jazz ensemble.” The monthly music magazine Off Beat says Astral Project is “the finest modern jazz ensemble in New Orleans, and undoubtedly one of the most unique jazz groups period.” Astral Project Allstars are: Steve Masakowski-guitar, James Singleton-bass, John Vidacovich-drums and Sasha Masakowski-Vocals.

Roberta Gambarini

Celebrated throughout the world by fans, critics and many of the world’s greatest musicians, Roberta Gambarini became a fast-rising star – and a GRAMMY Nominee – with the 2006 release of her debut album, ‘Easy to Love.’ A smashing success on all fronts, Roberta’s debut secured her spot on the international touring circuit, where she continuously graces the most prestigious venues and festivals. In 2008, she made her major label debut with ‘You Are There,’ a superb duet with the legendary pianist Hank Jones. Mr. Jones – who accompanied most of the celebrated vocalists of the 2oth century such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Nat “King” Cole, and Billy Eckstine – declared Ms. Gambarini as the best singer to emerge in over 60 years.


Convergence is dedicated to the idea of sharing the intimacy and the spark of improvised music with our audience. They have been creating music together for the last 20 plus years and are excited to be sharing the whole journey with you now. Whether you’re a student, professional, or jazz fan, there will be something of interest to you….so in the spirit of Convergence…….Enjoy!

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds is a nine-piece powerhouse that puts a modern spin on classic soul. The band is led by Arleigh Kincheloe (Sister Sparrow) whose astoundingly powerful voice and sly demeanor make for a spellbinding presence onstage. She is backed by the mighty force of the Dirty Birds, a flock of eight men who masterfully lay down thundering grooves and soaring melodies. While the Birds are capable of lighting up the stage with jaw-dropping displays of musicianship, they’re focused on delivering the band’s infectious music. Simply put, the band’s live show is explosive.

Soul Rebels

The Soul Rebels get right to the heart of New Orleans music, playing ferocious funk and second line grooves that will lift you out of your seat. They bring fresh elements to the mix – hip hop, go-go and reggae beats – along with some unexpected song selections, all layered on top of a hundred years of street-wise jazz tradition. Each member of this eight-piece ensemble brings serious chops to the party. At the forefront of the city’s musical revitalization, the band brings a resurgent energy to ‘Unlock Your Mind’, filling it with the most exciting, head-spinning, body-pumping music to emerge from New Orleans.

Marco Benevento Trio

For an exhilarating glimpse into the future of jazz keyboards, look no further than Benevento. A melodically inventive musical adventurer who artfully employs pedals, amplifiers, rejiggered electronic toys and sundry effects, Benevento has forged a fascinating repertoire of songs by the likes of Neil Young, Led Zeppelin and Beck, interspersed with wildly original compositions.


Nosotros has firmly established themselves as one of the best bands in New Mexico. They seamlessly combine Latin rhythms with the elements of Flamenco, Jazz, Salsa, and Rock, creating an original sound that is unmistakably Nosotros. But M.E. Schenck of Hyperactive Music Magazine may have interpreted their sound best by saying “Nosotros’ music is not to be explained, it is to be felt in the pit of our souls.”

The Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco Band

From the plains of south-central Kansas, their love of good times and family, the French language, Cajun food, and up-tempo, get-on-your-feet fiddle and accordion music are what brought The Mudbugs together. The band iis led by Carter Green on fiddle/vocals, Greg Ewing on accordion/vocals, and Erin Craddock on vocals and triangle. Adam Ewing plays the 5-string electric upright bass, Brian Cochran on electric guitar, Juliah Ewing on washboard and Jaime Green on her bright pink drum kit. The Mudbugs are a family affair, with two married couples and one set of brothers. In 2010 the group performed live on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion”


Hailing from Boulder, Colorado, Jababa has been dazzling audiences since their inception in late 2007. The instrumental seven-piece blends elements of funk and fusion jazz, creating a unique sound that pays homage to their influences while simultaneously forging new ground. With a healthy mix of self-taught and formally-trained musicians, Jababa crafts songs that fuse raw energy, an artistic sensibility, and diverse musical concepts. These elements create a thumping groove accompanied by intricate melodies and arrangements that highlight each member’s musicianship.


Supercollider is a music collective that crosses the boundaries of traditional classifications. Whether described as instrumental rock or avant garde jazz, the musical roots of the group are firmly planted in the traditions of jazz with a strong improvisation foundation. However, the music of Supercollider is difficult to define by one genre alone, as the group melds the sounds and beats of jazz, blues, funk, and rock music. The core group consists of Jon Gray (trumpet, keys, vocals), Jon Stewart (saxophone), Greg Harris (vibraphone, keys), Mark Donovan (guitar), Dan Schwindt (guitar), Garrett Sayers (bass), and Zack Littlefield (drums). Members of Supercollider are also involved in other music projects, including the Motet, 9th + Lincoln Orchestra, Sonnenblume, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, and Future Jazz Project.

Caleb Chapman’s Crescent Super Band w/ Roy Hargrove

Twenty-two teenagers from Utah can make a lot of noise – especially when they happen to be members of the Crescent Super Band. Under the direction of founder Caleb Chapman, the band has stunned audiences worldwide, from New York to the Netherlands. With a youthful energy and nearly unbelieveable performance level, the band has performed hip, intelligent arrangements of the American standards for thousands. As a result, they have frequently been hailed as the top band of their type in the world.

UNC Jazz Lab Band I

The UNC Jazz Studies program has been recognized as one of the most outstanding jazz programs in the United States. Our award–winning faculty remains active touring and recording with internationally acclaimed artists, while still maintaining reputations as industry leading researchers and educators. Graduates of the program have gone on to become professional performers, educators, and administrators all over the world.

Telluride Student All-star Jazz Ensemble

The Telluride Student All-Star Program has been in existence since 1995. The week long jazz workshop preceding the Telluride Jazz Festival is directed by jazz artists and educators Josh Quinlan and Bob Montgomery. The purpose of the program is to inspire artistic development and motivation in students age 13 and older (preference will be given to high school students or recent graduates). Members receive full scholarship to the program and room and board during their week-long residence in Telluride. Group performances include nightly jam sessions at once of the clubs in town, a performance on the Town Park Main Stage at the Telluride Jazz Festival and other performances throughout the week. Past All-stars like Alex Brown and Grace Kelly are at the forefront of today’s jazz scene.

The background and schedule for the Jazz Fest and what to look for each day of  the three day event:

Todd Altschuler, Marketing Director

The 2012 Telluride Jazz Festival: Jazz, Funk, Wine and Spirits

Telluride Jazz Festival ranks among the world’s most memorable music festivals. Since 1977, Telluride’s majestic perch high in the San Juan Mountains has been the site of an annual event produced by the Telluride Society for Jazz. The intimate format and superb music along with the opportunity for invigorating alpine recreation come together to create a truly unique weekend experience.  Performances take place on two outdoor stages during the day and in historic theaters and clubs at night.

“I don’t know of any festival as unique as the Telluride Jazz Festival,” said Marketing Director Todd Altschuler. “Aside from the exceptional music and idyllic setting, there are whiskey and wine tastings, morning yoga and one-on-one educational sessions with our headlining musicians. It all comes together for a once in a lifetime experience”

Friday’s lineup features the future of jazz with Soulive, Marco Benevento Trio, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Crescent Super Band and Jababa. As the sun sets, attendees will enjoy a complimentary Craft Distillery Spirit tasting with Whiskey, Rum, Tequila and Vodka crafted by Colorado distilleries from Breckenridge, Palisade, Ridgway and more.

Saturday’s lineup includes two musicians who have earned hundreds of accolades and awards on the way to becoming regarded as the best in the world on their respective instruments, Victor Wooten (Bass) and Roy Hargrove (Trumpet). The day’s lineup boasts a stellar supporting cast including “the world’s finest vocalist” Roberta Gambarini, Denver’s Convergence, Latin band extraordinaire Nosotros, Downbeat award winners UNC Jazz Lab Band I and the 18th installment of the Telluride Student All-star Jazz Ensemble – a unique collaboration of the most talented teen musicians in the country.

The annual wine tasting in Town Park will be held on Saturday afternoon. The event is complimentary to all 3-day and Saturday pass holders and features a two-hour tasting with over 20 varietals, artisan cheeses, fresh fruit and a souvenir wine tasting glass.

Sunday August 5 is New Orleans Day. The festivities will include a full day of world-class music and a parade with brass bands, floats and costumes on Telluride’s iconic Main Street. The day’s activities will capture the spirit of Tremé in the Rocky Mountains. The lineup for Telluride’s New Orleans Tribute showcases some of the city’s best musicians including The Funky METERS, Jon Cleary’s Philthy Phew, The Soul Rebels and Astral Project. Attendees will delight in the tastes of classic New Orleans style food and drink such as Po’boys, Gumbo and Hurricanes.

“We’re very excited to celebrate the heritage and tradition of the birthplace of jazz amidst the mountains, rivers and waterfalls of Telluride,” said Altschuler.

The Telluride Jazz Festival will take place on August 3-5, 2012. Tickets and information are available at

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Gr8fulheart #

    The area is such a beautiful part of our country. I’m thankful the fires that have ravaged the surrounding areas have not included this one. May the festival be as successful as last year’s.♥

    July 23, 2012
    • ontapblog #

      Thanks Gr8fulheart. Looking forward to clear, cool weather again. Seeing more of the CO countryside this time as well. Will send media from this wonderful festival.

      July 23, 2012

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