This is the first year the Arizona Jazz Fest will be near Ahwatukee at the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa. It starts this Friday, Oct. 25, and goes through Sunday, Oct. 27.

The resort is located at the foothills of the South Mountain Preserve, “the largest municipal park in the world and the most visited hiking destination in the state,” according to the Arizona Jazz Festival website.

Promoters expect 13,000 jazz and soul fans to attend the event over the three-day period, according to a press release from BTW concerts.

Arizona will see an impressive line-up this year including recent chart-topper Robin Thicke, Grammy-nominated rhythm and blues artist Charlie Wilson, and accomplished rhythm and blues artist Erykah Badu.

On Friday, the Arizona Jazz Fest opens with smooth R&B with the pairing of saxophonist Eric Darius and R&B vocalist-producer Lyfe Jennings. The first night will be closed out by Grammy-winning soul artist Maxwell. After the opening acts for the weekend there will be an official after party at the resort.

Saturday’s performances will begin with guitarist Nick Colionne and new jazz saxophonist Warren Hill, and Tom Braxton with blues guitarist Jeff Golub. Next on the line up will be tenor saxophonist Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot and Euge Groove.

Ten-time Grammy winner Chaka Khan will perform on Saturday before “the queen of Neo Soul” Erykah Badu. The day will end with 2013 BET lifetime achievement award winner Charlie Wilson.

After many of the performances a number of the festival’s artists will go back to the Arizona Grand for an all-star jam.

On Sunday the day will begin with a Gospel Sunday Brunch, where brunch will be served buffet style. Seating begins at 9 a.m. and the event is $40 per person.

The final day of the festival will open with saxophonist Jessy J and Michael Lington link with keyboardist Jonathan Fritzen. Neo soul vocalist Eric Benet will precede emerging saxophonist Elan Trotman and Dominic Amato accompanied by R&B artist Malanie Fiona. Brian Culbertson will play funk jazz before one of the biggest names at the event.

Thicke will be performing on Sunday, including his summer chart-topper “Blurred Lines.” Closing the festival will be multiplatinum R&B artist Keyshia Cole.

There are plenty of returning acts this year. Euge Groove will perform in his fourth Arizona Jazz Fest on Saturday. Other returning acts include; Elliot, Hill, Golub, Amato, Trotman, and Jessy J.

The event is outside but seating is provided. Water and a variety of food will be sold. Festival goers can bring one sealed bottle of water, but cannot bring any other outside food and drink, according to the Arizona Jazz Festival website.

The Arizona Grand is located at 8000 S. Arizona Grand Parkway. Parking will be off site.

For tickets and more information about the event, visit or

• Matt Covert is a sophomore at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He is interning this semester for the AFN.

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