Nicholas Payton Photo by Gus Bennett Jr.


Winter Jazz Festival

Jan. 28
5-11 p.m.
Jan. 29
12-10 p.m.
$25-$30 Saturday; $35-$40 Sunday; $50 for both days
Festivals, Jazz

As the frosty version of summertime’s Twin Cities Jazz Fest, the two-day T.C. Winter Jazz is leaner and more hunkered down. But it has a fiery spark at its core in the guise of headliner Nicholas Payton, renowned New Orleans trumpeter and cultural activist/philosopher. Payton will play the spotlight gig at the St. Paul Hotel Sunday evening with his latest ensemble, performing material from his forthcoming double album, Afro-Caribbean Mixtape. Acclaimed for his technical trumpet mastery, Payton initially emphasized traditional New Orleans jazz roots, particularly Louis Armstrong’s work. His inherent eclecticism gradually followed those NOLA tendrils far and wide, chasing the musical threads of the African diaspora from bebop to hip-hop with dozens of stops in between. Payton calls his stuff postmodern New Orleans music. This year’s festival also includes screenings of historic jazz films, shows in St. Paul clubs and on the St. Paul Winter Carnival’s outdoor stage in Rice Park, and performances by Chicago pianist Jon Weber, local pianist Sam Rosenstone, and a Women’s All-Star group of local jazz artists led by singer Patty Peterson. Complete lineup and info at