Nine of the Best Colorado Jazz Events

Five Points Jazz Festival kicks off a summer of jazz.
Five Points Jazz Festival kicks off a summer of jazz. Kenneth Hamblin III
As warmer weather moves in, music-festival season takes over Colorado. With this weekend's Five Points Jazz Festival booting up this year's celebrations, we rounded up some of the best jazz festivals and events, a few of which have been going strong for two or more decades, including Central Jazz, a relaunch of a festival that started in the ’70s. Here's our list:

click to enlarge 2017 Five Points Jazz Festival. - KENNETH HAMBLIN III
2017 Five Points Jazz Festival.
Kenneth Hamblin III
Five Points Jazz Festival
Saturday, May 19
Five Points neighborhood

The Five Points Jazz Festival returns to celebrates the rich music heritage of the neighborhood that was once dubbed the Harlem of the West. More than 45 acts perform on ten stages throughout the day on Welton Street, between 26th and 29th streets. While this year’s lineup includes a number of great local jazz acts like the Bob Montgomery/Al Hermann/Josh Quinlan Sextet, Joe Anderies Beyond Borders and Hines Devine Jazz, there are also quite a few other genres represented, including Brazilian, funk, blues and Latin.

click to enlarge Paa Kow - KENNETH HAMBLIN III
Paa Kow
Kenneth Hamblin III
City Park Jazz
Sundays, June 3 through August 5
City Park Pavilion

These free concerts, which run from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sundays in City Park, are ideal for bringing a picnic and a blanket or some chairs. The series starts off on June 3 with Jyemo Club, which fuses Latin and Caribbean rhythms with American funk and rock. The diverse lineup throughout the summer includes the Texas-style swing of Katie Glassman & Snapshot on June 10, the great R&B, jazz and gospel singer Hazel Miller with the Harmony Chorale on June 17, Ghana-born drummer and composer Paa Kow on June 24, and gypsy jazz quartet La Pompe Jazz on July 8.

Max Wagner
Karen Parry-Wagner
Estes Park Jazz Festival
June 2 and 3
Performance Park

The 28th annual Estes Park Jazz Festival has a stellar lineup of local and national talent over two days that includes the Max Wagner Quartet, Gabriel Mervine, the Chipman-Hancock Collective, Quirkett, the Jeremy Pelt Quartet and the Lionel Young Band.

click to enlarge George Porter Jr. - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST.
George Porter Jr.
Courtesy of the artist.
Central Jazz
Saturday, June 9
Central City

Starting in 1976, Central City had its own jazz festival that ran for nearly two decades. Now, thanks in part to a rebooted Feyline, jazz (and funk) returns to the gambling town with Central Jazz. Dragon Smoke — which includes Eric Lindell and members of Dumpstaphunk — headlines, while NOLA Central All-Stars (Ivan and Ian Neville, Alvin Ford Jr., George Porter Jr., Nick Daniels and Tony Hall), George Porter Jr. & the Runnin Pardners, Adam Deitch Jazz Quartet, Joe Marcinek Band and more perform on four stages.

click to enlarge Dianne Reeves - BRANDON MARSHALL
Dianne Reeves
Brandon Marshall
Jazz Aspen Snowmass JAS Cafe Summer Series
June 15 to August 19
Various venues
While Jazz Aspen Snowmass’s Labor Day weekend lineup includes many non-jazz acts, such as Lionel Richie, Jack Johnson, Zac Brown Band and Michael Franti & Spearhead, its summer shows, taking place at various venues around Aspen from June through August, are more focused on jazz, like the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, saxophonist Grace Kelly, the Hot Sardines and Dianne Reeves.
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