Music News & Reviews

Tacoma Jazz and Blues Festival expands to outdoor event on South Tacoma Way

If you’re driving on South Tacoma Way on Saturday, you’re going to have to brake. Heck, you might as well just pull over and park.

Two blocks of South Tacoma Way will transform into the Tacoma Jazz and Blues Festival on Saturday. The event has undergone a tremendous growth spurt for its 12th year.

More than 15 acts — including Little Bill & The Blue Notes, Vicci Martinez, Randy Oxford, Junkyard Jane and Lynda Myers — will perform on four stages starting at 1 p.m. Saturday.

“The festival is going to be bigger and better than it’s ever been before,” said director Rich Wetzel, a musician himself. Wetzel’s Groovin Higher Orchestra will perform with jazz trumpeter Mike Vax and jazz trombonist Jiggs Whigham twice.

Wetzel is particularly pleased to get Arizona-based Vax and the Berlin, Germany-based Whigham on the lineup. Whigham is in Washington for the Centrum Jazz Port Townsend festival. He’s a longtime friend of Wetzel’s.

“I was able to talk him into playing our event before he leaves,” Wetzel said.

Until this year, the festival has been indoors. “We wanted it to be a Beale Street feel so we’re blocking off the street for the first time,” Wetzel said.

In addition to music, there will be food and merchandise vendors, a beer garden and plenty of street parking.

Here’s the music schedule:

Main (outdoor) Stage

1:30-2:30 p.m. Little Bill & The Blue Notes

3-4 p.m. Junkyard Jane

4:30-5:30 p.m. Vicci Martinez

6-7:30 p.m. The Randy Oxford Band

8-9:30 p.m. Rich Wetzel’s Groovin Higher Orchestra with Mike Vax and Jiggs Whigham

Stonegate Pizza & Rum Bar, 5419 South Tacoma Way

2-3:30 p.m. Lance Buller Trio

4-5:30 p.m. Mitch Reems Combo

6-8 p.m. Lynda Myers Band

10 p.m.-closing Rich Wetzel’s Groovin Higher Orchestra

Dawson’s Bar & Grill, 5443 S. Tacoma Way

2-3:30 p.m. Keith Klawitter Jazz Alliance

4- 5:30 p.m. Steve Stefanowicz

6- 8 p.m. Palmer Junction

10 p.m.-closing The Randy Oxford Band and Junkyard Jane

Tacoma Dance Studio, 5412 South Tacoma Way

2-3:30 p.m. Kevin England Jazz Collective

4-5:30 p.m. Carole Kapeliela Jazz Trio

6-7:30 p.m. Malo Castro with Clave Con Jazz