All That Jazz: The 2012 New Mexico Jazz Festival Swings Into the 2012 Season

Local and international jazz performers come together to perform at the only event of its kind in the Southwest, July 13-29

Date May 31, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Author Greta Chapin McGill

Publication SantaFe.com

Categories Entertainment & Nightlife Festivals Performing Arts

Advertisement

The 2012 New Mexico Jazz Festival celebrates seven years of presenting the finest in jazz entertainment. Building on a solid foundation and the vision of its founders, the New Mexico Jazz Festival is an anticipated event, bringing visitors from all over the world. Local and international jazz performers come together to perform against the bright, gracious backdrop of the Jemez, Sangre de Cristo and Sandia mountains for the only event of its kind in the Southwest, July 13-29.

Bob Martin, general manager of the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, Tom Guralnick of the Outpost Performance Space in Albuquerque and iconic jazz enthusiast “Bumble Bee” Bob Weil of The Santa Fe Jazz Foundation form the eclectic trio who come together to present top names on the national and international jazz scene and tap into the rich and varied local talent market.

Presenting Jazz in the Southwest

Becoming involved with the New Mexico Jazz Festival in 2005, Martin has a personal love of jazz and is committed to raising awareness in the Santa Fe community for what he feels is “still an under-appreciated music form.” Realizing he "couldn’t do it alone,” he brought Guralnick and Bumble Bee on board to make the New Mexico Jazz Festival the stellar event it is today. With assistance from the McCune Charitable Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, the festival began to become recognized for excellence in Jazz programing.

The Outpost Performance Space in Albuquerque ( www.outpostspace.org) is a center of art, education and culture. Here, in a relaxed atmosphere, artists and audience members intimately mix and share music art and poetry. The walls of this 170-seat venue are covered with posters of national, international and local talent who have played the Outpost. The Outpost also boasts a community based music education program. Gifted saxophone player, writer and arranger,  Guralnick is the face and force behind the Outpost. Equipped with a unique perspective on the music scene, incomparable business savvy and a talent for grant writing and proposal presentation, Guralnick brings a lot to the table. For the New Mexico Jazz Festival he “keeps this thing goin," he says.

A collaboration between Old Town Plaza and The Route 66 Summerfest under the auspices of the City of Albuquerque Cultural Services Department, the festival entertained 30,000 people last year. The Lensic and the Santa Fe Plaza Bandstand are huge venues for the New Mexico Jazz Festival as well. Originally from Boston Mass, Guralnick has been presenting the best in entertainment from jazz to poetry at the Outpost since 1988.

If there is any music happening in Santa Fe from jam sessions to concerts you will see the imposing figure of “Bumble Bee” Bob Weil. The guy in the yellow cap with the effusive smile and larger than life personality is hard to miss. Bumble Bee is the consummate host. Two popular Santa Fe restaurants with his name and logo are the latest additions in a life of making everyone around him smile. He knows every jazz musician past and present and can relate a personal story. He starting presenting in New Mexico in 1989 with jazz parties at his home, affectionately known as “The Hive.” He brought in musicians and invited friends for evenings of fun, music and food. He stared the Santa Fe Jazz Foundation as a way of helping Jazz musicians who lacked health care to be able to afford doctors and hospitals when they needed it.

Vision for the Future

The New Mexico Jazz Festival is dear to the hearts of these three guys who live and breathe the music. The festival’s vision is clear to them--to see the event grow in a natural relaxed progression. Like a gourmet meal, their components combine to present something delicious. Martins’s wish list of performers includes Esperanza Spalding and Keith Garrett. Guralnick wants to see more international music playing to larger concert halls and public spaces in the two city venue. Bumble Bee envisions more mid-year concerts under the umbrella of the New Mexico Jazz Festival and more national advertising to bring visitors and revenue to Santa Fe and Albuquerque year round. According to a study funded by the McCune Charitable Foundation (www.nmmccune.org) , four out of every ten dollars coming into Santa Fe and 22 percent of employment is directly related to arts and culture. The New Mexico Jazz Festival is good for New Mexico.

The Southwest Jazz triumvirate of Bob Martin, Tom Guralnick and Bumble Bee Bob saw an opportunity for the music. They have presented huge names in jazz since the inception of the New Mexico Jazz Festival (www.newmexicojazzfestival.org) and through their connections booked outstanding mid year concerts. Notables such as Charles Lloyd, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Eliane Elias have visited Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

The Jazz Masters Program

The Jazz Masters program is an important part of the New Mexico Jazz Festival. You can have meaningful discussion with a renowned artist and then attend the concert. The Jazz Masters program is part of a collaboration with renowned African American poet and writer A.B. Spellman, giving you a first-hand opportunity to learn what jazz is and what it can be. Formerly affiliated with the National Endowment for the Arts, A. B. Spellman moderates the Jazz Masters program for the New Mexico Jazz Festival. The presence of this internationally known jazz scholar is a highlight of the event. During his time at the NEA, A.B Spellman initiated the Jazz Masters Award; the Oscar of the jazz world. His annual appearance at the New Mexico Jazz Festival gives it the highest festival credentials in the Southwest.

2012 New Mexico Jazz Festival Details

This year, the festival utilizes venues in the Santa Fe Plaza, Old Town Plaza in Albuquerque, the Lensic  and the Outpost. The program includes many women artists this year. Violinist Regina Carter, Diane Reeves,Sheila Jordan and guitarist/songwriter Leni Stern are on tap to bring their talents to the New Mexico Jazz Festival. The appearance of so many talented women “just happened in a really nice way," Guralnick  says.

The Jazz Masters series will present discussion and performance by Jon Hendricks, at the Lensic. Ravi Coltrane, Kurt Elling and trumpet player Justin Ray, The Dirty Dozen Band, Doug Lawrence, Busy McCaroll and poet Hakim Bellamy are just a few of the names being presented this summer by the New Mexico Jazz Festival. Photographer Paul Slaughter will be exhibiting his incredible collection of jazz photographs.

Check the website for venue locations, tickets and more information about the definitive Southwest music event, The New Mexico Jazz Festival.

Advertisement