By David Steinberg

The 14th New Mexico Jazz Festival presents 17 days of seemingly nonstop music starting Thursday, July 11.

The opening concert features the Doug Lawrence New Organ Quartet at the Outpost Performance Space in Albuquerque. As in past year’s some of the festival events will also be in Santa Fe.

“In their own way, every concert is a highlight,” said Tom Guralnick, the festival’s artistic director. “There’s this wide variety of great music in many venues with many partners. I think that’s what makes the festival special.

“And there are many ongoing traditions that are specific to this festival,” Guralnick added.

Those traditions include the partnering of the festival with the New Mexico Jazz Workshop in presenting a concert. This year the concert has the New Mexico Jazz Latino Orchestra with Puerto Rican vocalist Frankie Vasquez on Friday, July 12 at the Albuquerque Museum Amphitheater.

A six-year tradition is the John Lewis Celebration, which will be July 18-21. The celebration includes a Thursday, July 18 youth clinic in the John Lewis Theatre at the South Broadway Cultural Center; a Friday, July 19 concert by the Aaron Diehl Quartet featuring Warren Wolf, also at the SBCC. (A portrait of the late John Lewis will be unveiled prior to the concert.) And there’s a screening and discussion of George Schuller’s film “The Modern Jazz Quartet: From Residency to Legacy” Sunday at the Outpost. Lewis, who grew up in the Duke City, was the MJQ’s pianist.

Another tradition is the Route 66 Summerfest that draws thousands to hear music on multiple stages on Central Avenue in Nob Hill. This year’s Summerfest is Saturday, July 20.

For the first time, one Summerfest stage – in the Nob Hill Shopping Center – will be devoted to jazz. Performers on that stage include saxophonist Horace Alexander Young in a tribute to Nat King Cole with Tracey Whitney, the Paul Gonzales Quintet with Doug Lawrence, George Schuller’s Circle Wide Quintet and the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra with vocalist Hillary Smith.

Summerfest’s main stage will have Mondo Vibrations, Red Llght Cameras, Nosotros and Magic Giant.

Another tradition is a conversation with poet/author/arts administrator A.B. Spellman and NEA Jazz Masters; this year Spellman will chat with pianist Kenny Barron and bassist Dave Holland in the afternoon of Friday, July 26 at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe. That evening at the Lensic the Barron-Holland Trio will be in concert.

These are other festival concerts:

—The festival comes to Civic Plaza for the first time on Saturday July 13 with blues pianist Marcia Ball, classically trained folk musician Leyla McCalla (formerly of the Carolina Chocolate Drops) and Albuquerque vocal trio hONEyhoUSe. The concert is free.

—Cha Wa, a New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian band plays  in a free concert Wednesday, July 17 at St. John’s College Music on the Hill in Santa Fe and a ticketed concert on Thursday, July 18 at the Outpost.

—Colombian jazz harpist Edmar Castaneda is on stage Sunday, July 21 in the Fountain Courtyard of the National Hispanic Cultural Center. it is a ticketed concert. On Tuesday, July 23 at the Santa Fe Bandstand (on the Santa Fe Plaza), Castaneda will play on the same stage with Albuquerque’s Chuy Martinez & Trio Los Trinos.

—On Thursday, July 25, Cuban-born drummer Dafnis Prieto’s Proverb Trio will be at the Outpost.

—On Saturday, July 27, legendary jazz fusion bassist Stanley Clarke and his band will be in concert at the Lensic.

—And closing out the festival on Sunday, July 28 will be a trio led by 15-year-old Indonesian-born piano prodigy Joey Alexander. The concert is at the African American Performing Arts Center in Albuquerque.

Festival concert tickets are available at the Lensic, 211 W. San Francisco, Santa Fe, at the Outpost, 210 Yale SE, Albuquerque, by calling the Lensic at 505-988-1234 or the Outpost at 268-0044. For tickets and event details visit  online at or

The jazz festival is a collaborative project of the Outpost Performance Space and the Lensic Performing Arts Center.

Guralnick said the City of Albuquerque is not just a presenting partner but also an important funder of the jazz festival. Other major festival funders and sponsors are the Albuquerque Journal, the Kaman Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts,  Jack Kotz, La Cumbre Brewing Company and Thornburg Investment Management. those are.

There will be three concerts affiliated with the jazz festival:

-The Doug Lawrence New Organ Quartet is presented by the Taos Jazz Bebop Society Saturday, July 13 in Taos. For concert details visit

-Horace Alexander Young’s Tribute to Nat King Cole will be presented Friday, July 19 at Paradiso Santa Fe, 903 Early St. For ticket information go to

-The Aaron Diehl Trio will be in concert Saturday, July 20 presented by the Taos Jazz Bebop Society in Taos. For details visit