Tucson, AZ---In just two years, Tucson’s Century Room at Hotel Congress has become jazz central in the southwest attracting the top local and national jazz artists, with nationally recognized and GRAMMY winning artists almost every week. Century Room Artistic Director Arthur Vint recently received a prestigious 2024 Jazz Hero award presented by the Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) for his passion and dedication to the success of one of the country’s hottest jazz clubs and his support of the Tucson Jazz Music Foundation. “Starting in 2001, the JJA has also honored Jazz Heroes, originally called members of the A Team — “Activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz who have had significant impact in their local communities.” (Excerpt from the award website). For the full tribute visit www.jjajazzawards.org/2024-jazz-hero-arthur-vint/

 

Arthur is also now a board member of the Tucson Jazz Music Foundation, which is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports jazz education, plus performance and concert opportunities for Arizona’s youth.  He has forged a partnership between the Century Room and the TJMF and created the “Century Room Jazz Education Program” to allow for more masterclasses before shows, provide expanded free and discounted student tickets to Century Room shows, and spearheaded the “88 Keys” campaign to raise funds for the TJMF to purchase a professional piano for the Century Room stage, which will help attract more top tier national talent to Tucson and provide students an opportunity to play a concert level instrument.  Donations towards the education program and the piano fund are tax deductible and information can be found at www.tjmfdn.org.

 

Vint’s award winning programming continues to draw full house numbers year-round. Every week is anchored by a Monday night Century Room Jazz Orchestra, “Hot Jazz Wednesdays”, a Thursday “Local Jazz Spotlight” and Sunday night jam session.  Coming up this month and into June is a full roster of exceptional talent for the Century Room’s Signature Concert Series. For tickets and additional information visit https://hotelcongress.com/venues/centuryroom/

 

May and June Shows at the Century Room

 

 

Saturday May 11: Matt Panayides Trio feat. Brice Winston ($20-$30 tickets | 7pm & 9pm Shows)

Matt Panayides is a highly acclaimed guitarist and composer based in New York City. Panayides and Century Room Artistic Director Arthur Vint were classmates together at William Paterson University from 2007-2009 and played countless hours together – this will be their first time performing together in 15 years! Influenced by guitar legends such as Jim Hall, John Scofield, Wes Montgomery, Jimi Hendrix, and Joni Mitchell, Panayides has created a unique sound that has earned him worldwide recognition. Panayides is known for his distinctive playing style and improvisational skills, and he can often be found leading his own groups and collaborating with other musicians both in New York City and abroad. He will be joined by Brice Winston for this special show, focusing on the music of Wayne Shorter and more.

 

Tuesday May 14: Ashley Kahn & Crystal Stark present Billie & Ella ($25-$35 tickets | 7pm Presentation | 8:30pm Performance)

Grammy-Award Winning Jazz Historian & Educator Ashley Kahn returns to the Century Room for the fifth time for a very special presentation on the lives and legacies of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. The show titled “The Two Peaks of Jazz Expression and Protest” will also feature a musical performance with the incredible vocalist Crystal Stark along with a star-studded band! Kahn writes, “There is a spectrum in jazz performance, an X axis that has at one extreme musical technique, and at the other end, individual style. Most historians and critics consider these opposites, and that most musicians can be placed somewhere along this spectrum. Take for example, the two mountains of the jazz vocal tradition—Ella Fitzgerald, whose technique and time was impeccable, and Billie Holiday, whose voice was unique and created its own style. This discussion will look at these two singers in their own right—how they used their talents to establish their individual voice and rise above racist restrictions and address the African American situation through lyrics and song.”

 

Friday May 17: Alto Summit! featuring Eric Nakanishi, Max Goldschmid & Morgan Faw ($20-$30 tickets | 7pm & 9pm Shows)

Three of the top alto saxophone players meet on the Century Room stage for an incredible night of music! Local saxophone superstars Eric Nakanishi and Max Goldschmid are joined by OKC saxophonist Morgan Faw and a swingin’ rhythm section. Eric Nakanishi is an artist, saxophonist, and composer who was raised in Pleasant Hill, California. He spent his formative years immersed in Boston’s jazz scene where he attended the Berklee College of Music and was mentored and instructed by a number of accomplished and renowned artists, such as Frank Tiberi, George Garzone, Terence Blanchard and Shamie Royston to name a few. Eric was particularly blessed and honored to have been mentored by the late Ralph Peterson Jr., whose goal was to immerse his students in the music of Art Blakey and pass on the legacy of the Jazz Messengers. Morgan Faw and Eric have collaborated for years and are reconnecting here for this special performance.

 

Saturday May 18: Paul Cornish Trio ($20-$30 tickets | 7pm & 9pm Shows)

Fantastic up and coming piano player Paul Cornish makes his Century Room debut with his LA based trio! Known for his work with such varied artists as Herbie Hancock, Louis Cole and Kanye West, Cornish brings an incredible set of music to the stage. This time he is joined by Jonathan Pinson and Jermaine Paul, who played with Christian Sands the last time he was here.  Los Angeles-based pianist and composer Paul Cornish strives to inspire freedom and collaboration in his music and community. Hailing from Houston where he was a student at the prestigious High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Cornish was one of seven jazz prodigies worldwide selected to be awarded a full fellowship to attend the esteemed Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz at UCLA. Here, he completed his Master’s degree, studied, and performed with such renowned artists as Herbie Hancock, Billy Childs, Robert Hurst, Chris Potter, and Walter Smith III. Cornish was recently a finalist in the 2023 American Pianists Awards. In 2021, he won first prize in the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition and received 18th Street Arts Center’s Make Jazz Fellowship. Cornish has performed extensively across the globe with such notable artists as Joshua Redman, Louis Cole, Mark Guiliana, HAIM, Snoh Aalegra, Terrace Martin, Kanye West, and many more.

 

Friday May 24: Denali Kaufman plays Brad Mehldau ($15-$25 | 7pm & 9pm Shows)

Denali Hershey Kaufman returns from LA to lead a show celebrating the arrangements and music of pianist Brad Mehldau! Mehldau emerged onto the jazz scene in the 1990s, quickly garnering attention for his distinctive style that seamlessly melds elements of classical music, jazz standards, pop, and rock. His playing is marked by its harmonic sophistication and rhythmic intricacy and his extensive discography spans solo piano works, large ensemble and two of the most influential piano trios of the 20th and 21st Centuries. Kaufman has prepared a program of some of Mehldau’s best known material to be performed by a band featuring Andrew Gioannetti (sax) Colin Mcilrath (guitar) Ryan Magness (bass) Kenji Ono Lancaster (drums)

 

Saturday May 25: Alex Oliverio’s Sun Songs & Toy Tunes ($15-$25 | 7pm & 9pm Shows)

Alex Oliverio aims to present a singular vision of Jazz, Folk, and Americana through the lens of the Southwest. Mixing and matching timbres and tones from genres across the American spectrum to create a unique aural experience. Sun Song & Toy Tunes is an attempt to realize the “imaginational anthems” that early American Guitar & Banjo stylings evoke. Each song was written for solo guitar or banjo, then orchestrated with a modern ensemble in mind. That ensemble includes acoustic/electric guitars, banjos, pedal steel, synthesizers, keyboards, horns, and drums. He brings his band from Phoenix to perform at the Century Room for the first time.

 

Thursday May 30: Ted Rosenthal Trio: Plays the Music of Thelonious Monk & Bud Powell ($20-$30 | 7pm & 9pm Shows)

 

Pianist Ted Rosenthal returns to the Century Room! This time, he will be playing selections from the fantastic repertoire of legendary jazz pianists Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell! As one of the leading jazz pianist/composers of his generation, Rosenthall actively tours worldwide with his trio, as a soloist, and has performed with many jazz greats, including Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer, Phil Woods and James Moody. Winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, Rosenthal has released fifteen CDs as a leader. He will be joined by Scott Black and Arthur Vint.

“In Rosenthal’s hands all this music sounds as though it sprang from the same muse, and that’s the sign of a skilled, imaginative artist.” – David R. Adler, All Music Guide.

 

Friday May 31: Or Bareket Quartet ($25-$35 | 7pm & 9pm Shows) 

Century Room welcomes acclaimed bassist Or Bareket to the stage for the 2nd time!  Born in Jerusalem to parents of Moroccan, Iraqi, Argentinian, and Eastern European descent, raised between Buenos-Aires and Tel-Aviv, and based out of Brooklyn since 2011, Or Bareket is one of the most prominent bassists of his generation, as well as a composer and bandleader with an eclectic yet meticulously cohesive approach. Bareket’s distinct lyricism, rhythmic dexterity, and groove-centric approach are clearly present in his playing and writing alike. Growing up trilingual, Bareket is fascinated by how different languages and cultures intersect and diverge. His creative process is an investigation of spaces between and within languages, continuously synthesizing the different worlds he inhabits into a personal aesthetic that honors all of them: his ancestral North African and Latin-American folklores, his life-long study of Black American music, and his experiences making music with some of today’s foremost artists across a wide range of musical generations and stylistic orientations; Bareket has worked extensively with bands led by the likes of Joel Ross and Ari Hoenig, and has performed with artists such as Joshua Redman, Chris Potter, Ben Wendel, Leon Parker, Aaron Parks, Hamilton de Holanda, Anat Cohen, Sam Yahel, Gilad Hekselman, Taylor Eigsti, Marta Sanchez, Aaron Goldberg, and Sullivan Fortner in different settings.

 

Saturday June 1: Liz Cracchiolo & Jonathan Michel Present “We Love the 90s ($25-$35 Tickets | 7pm Show)

Century Room favorite Liz Cracchiolo and New York City’s celebrated bassist and producer Jonathan Michel collaborate to craft mesmerizing jazz renditions of contemporary melodies. Jonathan Michel is a New York City based jazz bassist and band leader. Michel began his career touring with the R&B Grammy winning artist Billy Paul, working with him for 5 years and eventually serving as musical director. He went on to work with artists such as Orrin Evans, Aaron Goldberg, Andrew Cyrille, and Terrace Martin. Michel plays frequently in New York and leads a monthly residency at Smalls Jazz Club. He released his first album as leader, MDR, in 2018.

 

 

Liz Cracchiolo, a Tucson native, holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Arizona. She is a versatile performer who has showcased her talent in Musical Theatre, Cabaret, Jazz, and Rock genres in Tucson and across the country. She has been nominated for multiple Mac awards and has won a Mac award for her exceptional work in musical theater. Liz has graced the stage in productions like “Next to Normal,” “The Producers,” “Les Misérables,” and “Fun Home.” Since 2022, she has been actively involved in performing and self-producing cabaret shows in New York City and Tucson. Liz is a prominent figure in the Tucson jazz scene, frequently selling out shows at The Century Room, and was nominated as Best Jazz Musician by the Tucson Weekly in 2023.

 

Friday June 7: Jonathan Pinson Quartet ($25-$35 tickets | 7pm & 9pm Shows) 

Drummer Jonathan Pinson returns to the Century Room with his quartet! Known for his daring and versatile style and for touring with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Kamasi Washington, and Seal, Pinson is a bold and exciting leader with an incredible band featuring Paul Cornish (piano), Andrew Renfroe (guitar), Jermaine Paul (bass).

 

Jonathan Pinson began his love affair with the drum set at the age of two when he was surrounded by the music of his mother’s choir. His formal music training began at the age of six with instruction on the piano, he then transitioned to the drum set shortly after at the Colburn School of Performing Arts and studied with Billy Higgins at The World Stage. Jonathan has enjoyed mentoring young percussion enthusiasts and helped conduct jazz workshops for inner city youths at local public elementary schools. He has received numerous awards including; 2007 Music Center’s Spotlight Award, where he was awarded first place in the Jazz Instrumental category; 2009 and 2010, Dolo Coker Scholarship and in 2007, he received the Jimmy Lyons Scholarship Award, a full tuition four-year scholarship, from the Berklee College of Music where he received his Bachelor of Music degree. At the age of 23 he has toured with the Wayne Shorter Quartet and Herbie Hancock. He has also performed and toured at various locations including the following: Tokyo Jazz Festival, International Jazz Day in Istanbul Turkey, Panama Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Nancy France Jazz Festival, a tour of Israel, Newport Jazz Festival, and the Montreal International Jazz Festival. He also has performed with such notable artists such as, John Clayton, Stefon Harris, Danilo Perez, Dave Liebman, Ambrose Akinmusire and Eric Reed. He received a full scholarship at the Thelonious Monk Institute at the University of California Los Angeles, where he received his Masters of Music. There he studied under Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter, Stefon Harris and other jazz greats.

 

Saturday June 8 Chris Peña & TroyCov: “Grown Folks” ($15-$25 tickets | 7pm & 9pm Shows)

Keyboardist Chris Peña and drummer Troy Covington make their headlining debuts at the Century Room with their band “Grown Folks”, featuring “Tha Mad Scientist” and “AmGn”. They will bring a modern blend of hip hop and R & B infused jazz to the stage with music by Robert Glasper Experiment, Marcus Miller and their own original compositions.  Will be an exciting and spirited night of music!

 

Friday June 14: Arsen Nalbandian Trio “In Depth ($15-$25 | 7pm & 9pm Shows)

Arsen Nalbandian is a jazz pianist, composer, and arranger based in the Phoenix metropolitan area. His latest release, entitled “In Depth”, is a piano trio album dedicated to the arranging styles of Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans. Utilizing selections from classic Great American Songbook standards, each tune explores elaborate and more involved arranging techniques that one could closely associate to the writings of big band music. Completing the trio are the exemplary talents of Kenji Wagner on bass, and Sam Russo on drums. “In Depth” releases May 17th on all streaming platforms, as well as on physical CD. Featuring Arsen Nalbandian (piano) Kenji Wagner (bass) Sam Russo (drums)

 

Saturday June 15: ZAZU West: Jazz Manouche ($20-$30 tickets | 7pm & 9pm shows)

Welcome back ZAZU West to the Century Room! Phoenix’s premiere gypsy jazz ensemble travels south to the Old Pueblo for an unforgettably swingin’ night of music a la Reinhardt, Grappelli, Vignola & More. Gypsy Jazz, Jazz Manouche, French Swing. Whatever it's called, the sound is infectious, swinging, and unmistakably Django.  Whether playing the dozens of iconic Django compositions, traditional and contemporary jazz standards in the Gypsy Jazz style, or the music of today's Gypsy Jazz greats in Europe and the U.S., ZAZU West creates a unique performance experience. 

Based in Phoenix Arizona, ZAZU West is excited to be carrying on the "ZAZU" Gypsy Jazz tradition started in Arizona in 2004 with the same unforgettable ingredients: irresistible swing, melancholy dark and moody highlights, and improvisation with reckless abandon. This is their second appearance at the Century Room as they were one of the first bands to perform when we opened in 2022!

 

Friday June 28: Brice Winston & Max Goldschmid Present Stitt & Ammons “In Orbit” ($20-$30 tickets | 7pm & 9pm shows)

Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt, two titans of the saxophone, embodied contrasting styles that nonetheless complemented each other beautifully. Ammons, known affectionately as "The Boss," possessed a robust, soulful tone that resonated with deep emotion and raw power. His playing was marked by a bluesy sensibility and a knack for crafting memorable melodies that could tug at the heartstrings of listeners. In contrast, Sonny Stitt dazzled with his technical virtuosity and agility on the saxophone. His improvisations were lightning-fast and intricate, showcasing a mastery of bebop vocabulary and a penchant for pushing the boundaries of harmonic exploration. Their collaborative albums "Boss Tenor" and "Tenors In Orbit" offer a fascinating juxtaposition of these styles.

 Local saxophone titans Brice Winston and Max Goldschmid team up to tackle this repertoire for a midsummer special concert!

 

Saturday June 29: Joshua Moore Trio Plays the Music of Pat Metheny ($15-$25 | 7pm & 9pm shows) 

Flagstaff-based Jazz guitarist and educator brings the music of Pat Metheny to the Century Room with his band! Josh Moore is a Classical and Jazz guitarist that is currently based in Flagstaff, Arizona. He has performed throughout the US and Canada, including concerts for the Chandler Jazz Festival, Sacramento Guitar Society, the Interference Series and many others. As a competitor Josh has received 1st prizes in multiple guitar competitions including, the Pacific Guitar Festival, ASTA Aaron Green Guitar Competition, and the Buffalo State Young Artists Concerto Competition, which included a solo performance with the Buffalo State Philharmonia. Josh holds a Doctor of Musical Arts, with a minor in Jazz Guitar from the University of Southern California. Additionally, Josh holds a Professional Studies Diploma from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under Sergio Assad, a Master of Music degree with a minor in Jazz Guitar from the University of Southern California under Scott Tennant, and a Bachelor of Music Performance degree from Buffalo State College under Evan Drummond. Josh is the Guitar Professor at Northern Arizona University Kitt School of Music. At NAU, Josh directs the guitar program where he teaches all of the guitar lessons and guitar classes, as well as teaches classes in the Jazz Studies Department.

 

THE CENTURY ROOM

A Borderlands Jazz Club & Mezcal Lounge

Since opening its doors in 2022, the Century Room has quickly become one of the premier jazz clubs in the country. Featuring a beautiful and acoustically engineered stage, elegant ambience and décor, delicious food, and a robust craft cocktail program, the Century Room offers guests an escape into another time and place, somewhere between New York, New Orleans, and the Old West. World class music graces the stage nightly, with musicians traveling regularly from New York City, Los Angeles and New Orleans to perform. The Century Room has presented jazz legends including Bill Charlap, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Buster Williams, and Charles McPherson plus the next generation of jazz greats like Emmet Cohen, Christian Sands, Joel Ross and Linda May Han Oh, among many others. Arizona’s many fantastic local musicians ensure amazing live music nightly. The stage features state of the art sound system and backline, anchored by a Yamaha S5X piano, courtesy of the Tucson Jazz Music Foundation.

 

The Century Room experience also includes an extensive mezcal and agave spirit list, featuring dozens of ancestral and artisanal mezcals from across Mexico. There are regular agave tastings, flights and features at the Century Room, co-presented with the Agave Heritage Festival. The menu also boasts a robust craft cocktail program inspired by the Southwest that features local flavors, scents, and ingredients. Additional information at https://hotelcongress.com/venues/centuryroom/

 

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