Telluride brings out the Bayou

Jazz Fest finale will be New Orleans Day

The Funky Meters will headline New Orleans Day on Sunday at the Telluride Jazz Festival. Enlarge photo

Courtesy of Telluride Jazz Festival

The Funky Meters will headline New Orleans Day on Sunday at the Telluride Jazz Festival.

After 25 years, it’s hard to call the Telluride Jazz Festival a well-kept secret, but in that town the moniker fits.

It’s also not small, although when compared to some of the other festivals in town, it often feels that way.It’s part of its charm. The Telluride Society for Jazz has been staging the festival every summer since 1977, and the local music-lovers have lined up another three days of top-shelf entertainment.

Performances take place on two outdoor stages during the day, and in theaters and clubs at night. Today’s lineup is like a glimpse into the future of jazz with Soulive, the Marco Benevento Trio, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Crescent Super Band and Jababa. The night will be capped with a craft-distillery spirit tasting with Colorado-made samples of whiskey, rum, tequila and vodka.

A couple of jazz’s current best – Victor Wooten on bass and Roy Hargrove on trumpet – will highlight Saturday’s concerts. It’s a solid undercard as well, with vocalist Roberta Gambarini, Denver’s Convergence, the Latin sounds of Nosotros, Downbeat award winners UNC Jazz Lab Band I and the 18th installment of the Telluride Student All-star Jazz Ensemble – a unique collaboration of the most talented teen musicians in the country.

Also Saturday will be the annual wine tasting in Town Park. The event is complimentary to all three-day and Saturday passholders and features a two-hour tasting with more than 20 varietals, artisan cheeses, fresh fruit and a souvenir wine tasting glass.

The Crescent City meets the San Juans on Sunday. New Orleans Day will include a full day of music, a parade and other festivities in the New Orleans tradition. To keep it authentic, bands flown in fresh for the day will include The Funky Meters, Jon Cleary’s Philthy Phew, The Soul Rebels and Astral Project.

Inside Town Park, the menu will reflect the sounds on stage with plenty of po’boys, gumbo, mint juleps and hurricanes (the drink). At noon, Telluride’s historic district might feel a little like the French Quarter with a Mardi Gras-style parade, including a brass band and second line down Main Street. To get revelers in the mood, the Wilkinson Public Library will start the day with a morning screening of “Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans.”