This year’s Twin Cities Jazz Festival offers plenty of affordable, quality entertainment

horns o' plenty image-1
Illustration by Christopher E. Harrison

This weekend June 27-29 the 15th Annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival returns to St. Paul’s Mears Park. And the best thing is it’s free!

Festival goers can expect to experience a wide spectrum of music presented on four outdoor stages and in many local Downtown St. Paul venues.

Headlining acts include the Kenny Werner Trio and the Mariano Flores Latin Jazz Group, both on Friday, June 28, followed by Matt Slocum with Walter Smith II, and the Cyrus Chestnut Trio on Saturday, June 29.

The well-known pianist, composer, and author Kenny Werner has toured extensively, released a number of albums, and most recently played with guitarist/vocalist Lionel Loueke and saxophonist Miguel Zenon. Werner was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.

Drummer Matt Slocum is a St. Paul native who will team up with long-time collaborator, tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III. Walter Smith III has played with everyone from Terence Blanchard and Roy Haynes, to Christian McBride and Joe Lovano. Joining them will be local musicians pianist Bryan Nichols and bassist Chris Bates.

Pianist Cyrus Chestnut is acknowledged as one of the most soulful pianists of his generation. And can he swing? Oh, yes! He can also delight and surprise listeners by delivering jazz and gospel tinged tunes with unusual flair and elegance. Chestnut will be joined by bassist Eric Revis and drummer Evan Sherman.

Plus, returning to the Artists’ Quarter all weekend long will be pianist Jon Weber, who currently serves as host of Piano Jazz with Jon Weber on National Public Radio (NPR).

Headliner Cyrus Chestnut  Photo by Stefe Jiroflée courtesy of
Headliner Cyrus Chestnut
Photo by Stefe Jiroflée
courtesy of

Don’t miss Dave Karr, Tanner Taylor, along with Dave Graf, Mac Santiago and Matt Peterson who are performing on Friday, June 28 at the Amsterdam Bar at 9:30 pm

Also not to be missed is the Walker West Music Academy on Saturday, June 29, on the main stage at 2 pm For a full schedule of events, visit

Here are six more reasons why you should consider attending the Twin Cities Jazz Festival this year:


• Over 300 Minnesota musicians will be performing as part of this year’s Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

• Two stages will be set up in Mears Park: the Main Stage and the 6th Street Stage. There will also be a Twin Cities Jazz Festival Youth Stage (located outside on 308 Prince St.) presented by the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education and a Union Depot Outdoor Stage (located on 214 East 4th Street) on Saturday.

• Thirteen Saint Paul clubs and restaurants will host jazz over the three-day festival — some may have a minimal cover charge.

• Three free clinics will be offered at McNally Smith College of Music on Friday and Saturday of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. More information is available at

• Metro Transit is offering free light rail and bus rides to the festival with a Go Greener Pass, available at

• Jazz88 (KBEM 88.5 FM) will be broadcasting live from the festival on Friday from 7-10 pm and Saturday from 4-10 pm. The broadcast will stream live worldwide at


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