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‘Blackstar’ saxophonist Donny McCaslin, vocalist Stacey Kent lead 2017 Iowa City Jazz Festival lineup

By , Editor | The Jazz Line

The biggest small town jazz festival in America just announced its lineup for 2017.

Edmar Castañeda at the 2016 Iowa City Jazz Festival (Photo: David La Rosa for The Jazz Line).
Edmar Castañeda at the 2016 Iowa City Jazz Festival (Photo: David La Rosa for JazzLine).

For the past 25 years, the Iowa City Jazz Festival has attracted some of the biggest names in jazz to play in a small Iowa town with a population of just 70,000. Joe Lovano, Tom Harrell, Esperanza Spalding, and Pharoah Sanders are just a few of the hundreds of performers that have graced the main stage of the festival, and that list is about to get longer as the festival enters its 26th year.

Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Stacey Kent has been selected to close out the festival after a performance from saxophonist Donny McCaslin‘s group. McCaslin is best known for his recent work as the band leader behind David Bowie’s last album, Blackstar.

The festival will run for three days, and include 10 other performers on their main stage, including high-school musicians such as the North Corridor Jazz All Stars, local acts such as Christopher’s Very Happy. Band., and other notable acts such The Cookers, where each member wields an impressive resume that includes work alongside the likes of Herbie Hancock, Charles Lloyd, Max Roach, and Art Blakey. Check out the full lineup below:

Friday, June 30:

5:00pm – United Jazz Ensemble, sponsored by AW Welt Ambrisco
7:00pm – Rhythm Future Quartet, sponsored by the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel
9:00pm – In Orbit with Jeff Coffin & Michael Occhipinti & Felix Pastorius

Saturday, July 1:

1:00pm – North Corridor Jazz All Stars
3:00pm – Christopher’s Very Happy. Band.
5:00pm – Jacob Garchik’s Ye Olde
7:00pm – Kris Davis Quintet
9:00pm – The Cookers: Billy Hart, George Cables, Cecil McBee, David Weiss, Eddie Henderson, Billy Harper and Donald Harrison

Sunday, July 2:

2:00pm – Laura Caviani Trio
4:00pm – John Raymond & Real Feels
6:00pm – Donny McCaslin Group
8:00pm – Stacey Kent

While an official announcement has yet to be made, the festival is expected continue its long tradition of featuring both established and up-and-coming talent from all over the Midwest on their side-stages, between performances on the main stage.

The Iowa City Jazz Festival has always been completely free and open to the public, and this year is no exception. Simply bring a blanket and/or a chair and enjoy three days of great music courtesy of the talented team behind the Iowa City-based non-profit Summer of The Arts, which organizes the jazz fest and a number of other events every year. The festival also features a ‘culinary row’, which is an entire road filled with vendors serving a variety of food and drinks.

For more information, and to read performer bios, check out the Iowa City Jazz Festival website.

Watch Dr. Lonnie Smith perform “Backtrack” at the 2013 Iowa City Jazz Festival below:

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