The 14th T.C. Jazz Fest, a veritable who's who of the increasingly impressive local jazz scene, will flood St. Paul's clubs throughout its three-day run. You can't go wrong with Mary Louise Knutson, the Zacc Harris Group, Connie Evingson, and Cory Wong, all with sparkling new albums in recent months. The high-profile gigs will take place on two free stages: in leafy Mears Park, surrounded by historic buildings, one of the most gorgeous settings of any urban festival, and on the nearby Sixth Street Stage. Three premier local jazz vocalists will grace the Mears main stage: Pipi Ardennia, Charmin Michelle, and Debbie Duncan. They'll be joined by a grand, eclectic cast: Francisco Mela & Cuban Safar is an expansive bop to Afro-Cuban band led by Cuban drummer Mela, who also often plays with McCoy Tyner and Joe Lovano. The trombonist of the famed New Orleans musical family, Delfeayo Marsalis is as equally steeped in jazz tradition and classical training as his father and brothers. He has a lengthy résumé as a producer, is a high-caliber player mentioned in the same breath as J.J. Johnson, and is a talented composer and arranger, as displayed on his recent version of Duke Ellington's Shakespeare-inspired jazz suite "Such Sweet Thunder." The Araya Orta Latin Jazz Quartet is a Miami-based ensemble sporting two sets of brothers who explore the broad spectrum of Latin jazz. Italian violinist Luca Ciarla straddles the junction of jazz, classical, folk, and contemporary music, employing things like a loop machine to push boundaries in all directions. The most anticipated performance of the festival is the collaboration between the Bad Plus (pictured), the iconoclastic, genre blurring trio of local origin, and acclaimed tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman. Notices from their previous performances together have been ecstatic, suggesting ferocious displays... More >>>