10th Annual Trinity Jazz Festival

The Trinity Jazz Festival, now in its tenth year, has grown from a local jam to a much-respected event on the national music scene. Over this weekend, Houston audiences will enjoy evening performances with international stars Tia Fuller and Nestor Torres, in addition to appearances from vocalist Greta Matassa and musician Erich Avinger. The festival is dedicated to Barrie Hall Jr., a Texas Southern University and Duke Ellington Orchestra alum who passed away earlier this month.

“It’s not a polite church festival…No one is kneeling when these guys are playing,” says Paul English, co-founder of the festival. As anyone who has attended before knows, a little genuflecting might not be out of the question now and then. And with hotter-than-hot saxophonist Fuller, who currently plays 60,000-person arenas opening for Beyoncé, and Latin Grammy-winning flutist Torres playing in an intimate setting for only 500 people, for just $30 a night, a few hallelujahs actually might be in order as well.

The festival culminates in a Sunday Jazz Mass (always the highlight of the weekend). This year the mass celebrates Johann Sebastian Bach, who isn’t really well-known for his jazz work. That’s caused some grumbling among local jazz fans, but not to worry. Pianist Paul English is arranger and producer of the mass, with local monsters Horace Alexander Young on sax, Dennis Dotson on trumpet, Andre Hayward on trombone and Joel Fulgham on drums. So we’re going to bet that any naysayers will be shushed pretty easily. Evening performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; $15 to $50. The Trinity Jazz Mass takes place at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Free. Trinity Episcopal Church, 1015 Holman. For information, call 713-528-4100 or visit www.trinityjazzfest.net.
Jan. 28-30, 2011


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