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NM Jazz Festival opens with guitarist Pat Martino

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The beauty of jazz is that it is not monolithic. Far from it. Jazz comes in many wondrous flavors.

Among those flavors are mainstream, Latin, fusion, swing, bebop, post-bop and free jazz.

The 12th annual New Mexico Jazz Festival will give listeners tasty helpings of many of them.

Canadian pianist Jane Bunnett and her all-female Cuban band, Maqueque, will play Latin jazz in three New Mexico shows.

The festival opens with trio concerts Thursday, July 13, and Friday, July 14, led by celebrated jazz guitarist Pat Martino, who has blended post-bop, fusion, mainstream and soul.

The concerts – and a guitar clinic – will be at the Outpost Performance Space.

“He’s a jazz guitar god,” said Tom Guralnick, a festival artistic director.

The festival continues on Saturday, July 15, at the Albuquerque Museum amphitheater with Doug Lawrence and drummer Jimmy Cobb, an NEA Jazz Master, lead the Dexter Gordon Tribute Project in concert. Gordon was a famous bebop sax player. The festival is partnering with the New Mexico Jazz Workshop to present the concert, Guralnick said.

Canadian pianist Jane Bunnett and her all-female Cuban band Maqueque play Latin jazz in a July 19 concert at St. John’s College in Santa Fe and concerts at the Outpost on July 20 and 21. Bennett has been playing in the Cuban jazz for years.

A festival highlight – one that draws thousands annually – is the Route 66 Summerfest. This year, Los Lobos is the featured band, which is performing on July 22, just off Central on Monte Vista NE. Starting in midafternoon on the same day will be 17 local bands on three stages along Central Avenue in Nob Hill.

On July 23, César Bauvallet’s Cuban Jazz Project will be at the Outpost. Bauvallet is the festival’s local musician honoree.

The bandstand in the Santa Fe Plaza will have Davina & the Vagabonds with Banda Atómica opening on July 25.

The next day, on July 26, the music shifts to Albuquerque, with the John Lewis Youth Piano Competition at the African-American Performing Arts Center. The competition winner will open for the Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet at the July 27 concert at the South Broadway Cultural Center.

Spanish vocalist Buika, who has been compared to Nina Simone and Billie Holiday, performs July 28 at Santa Fe’s Lensic Performing Arts Center.

The following evening at the Lensic will be legendary free jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders.

The Ravi Coltrane Quartet is in concert July 30 at the Outpost.

Coltrane is a famous post-bop saxophonist.

The festival closes Aug. 5 with Grammy-winning jazz singer Rene Marie & Experiment in Truth at the African-American Performing Arts Center.

“I think every year we have a great festival with top talent,” Guralnick said.

The festival is also presenting three nonmusical events:

On the afternoon of July 16, there will be two back-to-back events at the Outpost. The first is a reception for an exhibit of prints by Reginald Gammon titled “The Music & the Muse.” Curating it is Kymberly Pinder, dean of UNM’s College of Fine Arts, Guralnick said.

The second is the screening of the 1986 film “Round Midnight” starring Dexter Gordon. Gordon’s widow, Maxine, and Steven Feld will lead a discussion about the film.

And on the afternoon of July 29, jazz historian A.B. Spellman will be on stage at the Lensic in conversation with Sanders in a “Meet the Artist” session.