Soulful and swinging, jazz was born in the South and quickly grew into the rebellious teen that set the music world ablaze. As jazz grew in popularity, it brought with it change, namely oh-so-scandalous flappers and a new take on American values and lifestyle. Despite garnering a reputation as immoral among older generations, it spread like wildfire from New Orleans across the country, sweeping up the nation’s youth as it went.
Today, jazz is widely respected and loved, and it’s taking center stage at the 13th annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Gone are the days when the brassy notes and sassy songstresses divided generations. Here, 30,000 people of all ages descend upon Mears Park to join together for the largest jazz celebration in the Twin Cities.
Sink into your lawn chair or flop down on a blanket and savor the sweet notes of such musicians as Gary Burton, Danila Perez, and Deodato. (Each has won at least one, if not multiple, Grammy awards.) If you haven’t had enough jazz by 10 p.m., head to one of Lowertown and downtown St. Paul’s many clubs, hosting live acts late into the night. Or swing by one of the 20 colorful pianos placed around the city: rumor has it pianists from the festival may pop by to bang out impromptu performances. And what better way to pay tribute to the genre that broke all the rules than to lose yourself in the top-notch improv only the best jazz players can provide.