The free early summer event also features big band sounds, mainstream jazz, Latin jazz and more. Jazz Fest is held in the town's intimate Performance Park amphitheater, 417 W. Elkhorn Avenue (the town's main street). Those coming for the lineup of great jazz performances should bring blankets or lawn chairs. There is no admission charge. Performances are from noon to 5 p.m. both days.
This year, the festival includes a performance by the Max Wagner Trio on Saturday night (May 15) at Mama Rose's Restaurant in downtown Estes Park. The group will be joined by guest performers from the festival for impromptu gigs.
Joining Person and Mistura Bela are six additional performance groups: Derek Banach Quintet showcasing cutting edge original modern jazz, Convergence performing modern jazz, the Max Wagner Quartet playing modern mainstream jazz, Manual Lopez and the Latin Jazz Project, Pete Olstad / Bob Montgomery Big Band with high energy modern big band jazz, and the Estes Park Jazz Big Band playing swinging classic big band sounds.
Jazz Fest coincides with Art Walk Weekend, a self-guided tour of galleries, and special exhibits throughout the Estes Park area. Art Walk begins each day at 10 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m. Maps are available at any of the participating galleries or at Performance Park.
Person is Sunday's top-billed performer. He grew up in Florence, SC and remembers his parents listening to jazz at home. First playing piano before switching to the tenor sax at age 17, he went on to study music at South Carolina State College (where he's included in the school's Hall of Fame), and later pursued advanced studies at Hart College of Music in Hartford, CT.
As a member of The United States Air Force Band stationed in Germany, he played with Eddie Harris, Cedar Walton and Don Ellis. Houston later worked as tenor saxophonist for Lena Horne, Lou Rawls, Horace Silver and organist Johnny "Hammond" Smith, among others. Global performer Person has recorded more than 75 albums as a leader on the Prestige, Westbound, Mercury, Savoy, and Muse (which became HighNote Records) record labels. In 1990 his recording with Ron Carter, Something in Common, won the Independent Jazz Record of the Year Award, and he received an Indie Award for his recording Why Not. Other awards have included the prestigious Eubie Blake Jazz Award and the Fred Hampton Scholarship Fund Image Award. His HighNote recordings as both tenor artist and producer were Grammy Award finalists in 1999 and 2000.
Canadian born vocalist and guitarist Barbara Ernst grew up listening to her parents' collection of great swing and jazz classics of the 20s, 30s and 40s. As a young musician she made her way to the west coast of the U.S.; first in the Bay Area and then Seattle. She was greatly influenced by, and became an accomplished musician within these thriving music scenes. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, Ernst sings romantic Spanish ballads and Bossa Novas with true authenticity and brings her own unique touch to some of our jazz standards. She has performed at festivals and in clubs in Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, and Mexico, has toured in Asia and Africa and twice performed at the Winter Music Festival in Sao Joao del Rei, Brazil.
Teamed with her highly accomplished six-piece Brazilian jazz group, Mistura Bela, Barbara delights audiences with performances encompassing the beauty, excitement and romance of Bossa Nova, Samba and Brazilian Jazz. Barbara's latest album with Mistura Bela, April Child, is on the Circle 504 record label.