Now that the snow has arrived and the holidays are upon us, there is only one remaining key ingredient to top off a magical winter in Vail – live jazz music. The 2018 Vail Jazz Winter Series launches in January and brings six intimate evenings of incredible talent to small stages throughout the winter.
Jazz club performances at The Sonnenalp
Ludwig’s Terrace at The Sonnenalp Hotel transforms into a cozy jazz club to host four evenings of Winter Series performances. Revered as the go-to venue for Vail Jazz club performances, last winter and summer, Ludwig’s hosted consistently sold-out performances. The 2018 Vail Jazz Winter Series lands at Ludwig’s on Jan. 17, Feb. 21, March 14 and April 11. Each evening features two separate seatings, at 6 p.m. and at 8:30 p.m., doors opening 30 minutes before show time. Tickets are $40 and seating is club style around dining tables. Full dinner and drink service are available for an extra charge, featuring signature dishes and cocktails from the Bully Ranch as well as a large selection of wine and beer.
Jan. 17 Phil Wiggins & George Kilby Jr.
Back by popular demand, this blues duo sizzled at Vail Jazz @ Riverwalk last summer, thumping up a visible steam of energy that had the entire lawn on its feet in rapt attention. Phil Wiggins’ ability to draw such audible power from his pocket-sized harmonica has been praised around the world, most recently by the National Endowment for the Arts, which awarded the Washington D.C. bluesman with the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship this fall. Complemented by the “rough-cut” six-string Americana of George Kilby Jr., this pair has proven itself a mind-bending blend of upbeat blues.
Feb. 21 Julien Labro & Olli Soikkeli Quartet
If anyone can channel the energy of the late, great gypsy jazz king Django Reinhardt, it’s these European towers of talent. Making his Vail debut last year, French-born accordionist Julien Labro hypnotized the house with the all-encompassing sounds of his squeezebox. Fuse that with the lightning fast fingers of Finnish guitarist Olli Soikkeli and you’ve got a gypsy fire to fuel one-of-a-kind classic tunes as well as striking originals.
March 14 Dave Tull CD Release Party
Celebrating the monumental release of his latest recording, “Texting and Driving,” this skilled drummer keeps up some impressively swingin’ beats while belting out dry-witted lyrics. Following a soaring career drumming for the likes of Barbara Streisand, Michael Bublé, Richie Cole and Steve Allen, Dave Tull has tapped into his vocal talents and sense of humor over the last decade. A big band leader, jazz singer and songwriter, the California-based musician delivers an entertaining performance that is sure to draw some laughs.
April 11 Tribute to Ray Charles feat. Joe McBride Trio
Channeling the spirit of the King of Soul, Joe McBride harnesses his voice and the piano keys to gallop through a gamut of classics that cover Ray Charles’ multi-genre catalogue of jazz, R&B, soul and funk. Like Charles, McBride lost his eyesight at a young age and has capitalized on the skills of his heightened senses ever since. He’s been leading bands and recording albums since 1992 and has been heralded as one of contemporary jazz’s shining lights. The trio is joined by special guest Bob Rebholz on saxophone for this tribute performance celebrating Brother Ray’s beloved songbook.
Private residence soirée performances
The 2018 Vail Jazz Winter Series features two soirée performances on Feb. 24 and on March 24 at private residences, tickets to which are available by invitation only.
Feb. 24 Shelly Berg: Secrets of the Great American Songbook
A Vail Jazz favorite, Shelly Berg has been nominated for multiple Grammy Awards for his arrangements and piano productions. He unearths gems from the Great American Songbook for an intimate audience at a private Beaver Creek residence.
March 24 Ricky Nye Trio
One of the nation’s most renowned boogie-woogie pianists, Ricky Nye harkens back to the American South of the 1920s for a jubilant, playful performance at a private Lake Creek residence.
For tickets or more information on the 2018 Vail Jazz Winter Series, please visit vailjazz.org or call 888-VAIL-JAM.