The highly anticipated Jazz Legends Live! returns to Tucson to celebrate its 13th year and six nationally renowned artists will be on hand to help honor the memory of the event’s founder, the late Al Cook.

The 13th Annual Jazz Legends Live! will feature an eclectic array of performers across varied styles and generations, once again creating a one-of-a-kind performance in the intimate setting of The Lodge at Ventana Canyon on Friday, September 23.

Jazz Legends Live!, first held in the backyard of Al and Marilyn Cook has grown into a signature event for the Tucson Jazz community, raising much needed funds for dwindling music and art programs in local schools and fostering musical growth in elementary age students. This year’s lineup continues to boast the best in jazz and is expected to draw over 600 jazz lovers from across Southern Arizona. Keeping with tradition, in addition to live jazz, the event will also feature a three course dinner and artist meet-and-greets making it an unforgettable experience.

In 2016, the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance lost a dear friend, Board of Director, and dynamic Lover of Jazz, Al Cook.  Both Al and his wife Marilyn Cook have been longtime supporters of the arts, jazz, and this community.  For over 15 years, Al and Marilyn have served the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council, and helped to develop the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance into the thriving community arts organization it is today. He will be remembered most fondly for his incomparable passion and drive for keeping the tradition of jazz education and performance, and most importantly, the inception of the Jazz Legends Live! event.

Al Cook personally brought over 50 of the world’s greatest jazz performers and educators to Southern Arizona, each and every year to perform for the community at Jazz Legends Live!  The event is dedicating itself this year to the memory of Al Cook, and his invaluable commitment to the arts.

This year’s guest artists will include:

Lewis Nash – “Rhythm Is My Business” is the title of his debut recording as a leader, and rhythm is a booming business as far as Lewis Nash is concerned. He is the drummer of choice for an incredible array of artists – from the masters of the music to the hottest young players of today – and is equally in demand as a clinician and educator.

Shelly Berg – The All Music Guide says “Shelly Berg is one of the finest pianists around in the early 21st century playing modern mainstream jazz.” His CD, Blackbird, recorded with the Shelly Berg Trio on the Concord Records label, reached No. 1 in US jazz radio and garnered Record of the Year and Artist of the Year nominations (Jazzweek, 2005). His subsequent solo CD Shelly Berg: The Nearness of You (Arbors) and a two-piano album with Dick Hyman Meeting of Minds (Victoria) were both critically acclaimed.

Barbara Morrison – Vocalist, Recording Artist, Music Educator and Philanthopist; Barbara Morrison has been recognized by NPR as one of the “50 Greatest Jazz Vocalists” (Fall 2010) Barbara Morrison has been pleasing audiences and garnering rave reviews for more than three decades. In addition to a long list of her own recordings, she has worked with an A-List of “Who’s Who” in the jazz world.

Houston Person – Person is an American jazz tenor saxophonist and record producer. Although he has performed in the hard bop and swing genres, he is most experienced in and best known for his work in soul jazz. Person is also known for his distinctive sassy sound and his expressive style of playing. He received the Eubie Blake Jazz Award in 1982.

Jeremy Pelt – Pelt has become one of the preeminent young trumpeters within the world of jazz. Forging a bond with the Mingus Big Band very early on, as his career progressed, Pelt built upon these relationships and many others which eventually lead to collaborations with some of the genre’s greatest masters. These projects include performances and recordings with Cliff Barbaro, Keter Betts, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Ravi Coltrane, Frank Foster, Winard Harper, Jimmy Heath, Vincent Herring, John Hicks, Charli Persip, Ralph Peterson, Lonnie Plaxico, Bobby Short, Cedar Walton, Frank Wess, Nancy Wilson and The Skatalites, to name a few. Pelt maintains a consistent forward momentum while he transmits a modern-day sense of urgency with his music.

Rodney Whitaker – Internationally renowned bassist and Mack Avenue recording artist, Rodney Whitaker, currently holds the titles of Professor of Jazz Bass and Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University where he has built one of the leading jazz degree programs and performing faculties in the United States of America. He is considered one of the leading performers and teachers of the jazz double bass in the United States. He is also the Artistic Director of the Michigan State University Professors of Jazz, former Artistic Advisor of Jazz at Wharton Center, Director of Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Civic Jazz Orchestra and a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Whitaker received his first national recognition performing with the Harrison/Blanchard Quintet.

“We look forward to welcoming these extremely talented musicians for this year’s Jazz Legends Live! and continue to embrace the opportunity for expanding the love of jazz across Southern Arizona,” said Kate Marquez, Executive Director of the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance. “Artistry, excellence, and education are tenets of our organization. We are proud to see how the love of music has grown this event over the last decade, and we will continue to dedicate our efforts to keeping the legacy of jazz alive.”

All of the monies raised over the course of the evening will go directly to support the expansion of the Creative Arts Therapy Program for Veterans, reaching hundreds of Veterans in Southern Arizona.The program is like none other in the state, healing patients with long- and short-term physical and mental ailments with proven success models in music, writing, photography, and creative arts. Jazz Legends Live! not only seeks out established and rising musicians, but it also offers the musicians the opportunity to work with The University of Arizona School of Music to feature Master Classes to students and helping to cultivate the jazz culture in Tucson for years to come

Jazz Legends Live! continues to stand out as one of the most anticipated and admired jazz events in Southern Arizona. Tickets are on sale now at and range from $55 concert only tickets to $250 for a Platinum VIP Experience which includes a three course dinner with live music prior to the concert as well as a private Meet and Greet experience with the musicians.