Sedona JazzFest

Road Work Ahead guitarist Peter Sprague

During its heyday, Sedona Jazz on the Rocks attracted thousands of music lovers to Red Rock Country. With the future of the festival in flux for the past few years, locals and visitors have lamented the gaping hole in Sedona’s music scene. Enter Chamber Music Sedona to save the day. The nonprofit will host Sedona JazzFest with concerts, a film screening and educational opportunities March 20 through March 23. The festival culminates on March 23 with a performance by acclaimed jazz quartet Road Work Ahead at 2:30 p.m. at the Sedona Performing Arts Center.

Throughout the festival, jazz musicians from the Verde Valley will perform at local venues including Creekside Bistro, Sound Bites Grill, Reds Restaurant, Sedona Wine and Beer Company and the Martini Bar. The Sedona Trolley will shuttle fans from lounge to lounge, says Dwight Kadar, festival chairperson. Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village will host jazz concerts March 20-22 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Patio del Norte. On March 23, the main concert will be followed by a reception and jam session at Sound Bites.

“Our objective is to put jazz artists into community venues and businesses,” says Bert Harclerode, executive director of Chamber Music Sedona. “In five years, we hope this grows to a two-day festival at an outdoor venue where jazz impresarios and jazz up-and-comers attract spectators from Arizona and the entire Southwest region.”

For the inaugural event, Sedona JazzFest organizers are excited to welcome San Diego-based Road Work Ahead. The group formed in 1980 in Los Angeles. The quartet will make use of the Sedona Performing Art Center’s Steinway piano – only the fifth time the instrument has been played at the venue. Dwight can’t wait for the show.

“We want to re-engage the city with jazz,” he says. – Erika Ayn Finch

Sedona JazzFest, March 20-23 with performances at venues around Sedona. The festival highlight will be a concert by Road Work Ahead, March 23 at 2:30 p.m. at the Sedona Performing Arts Center (995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road at Sedona Red Rock High School). Tickets for the concert are $40 reserved, $20 general admission. Weekday concerts are free of charge. For a complete schedule, visit

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