Intimacy with the most passionate members of the jazz community defines Jazz Port Townsend, which swings into fever pitch for the public on Thursday in clubs throughout downtown.

A list of 48 performers includes established veterans like Jeff Hamilton who has recorded with Barbara Streisand and toured with Ella Fitzgerald as well as up-and-coming mavericks such as alto sax-player Grace Kelly of CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

“Problems, and anything distracting falls away and I literally fall into this ‘black space’ where I’m 100 percent in the moment and tapped into another place,” Kelly said, describing how it feels to perform.

Festival goers can bear witness to that kind of transcendence for a $25 wrist band sold online at or at club doors during evening performances Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30.

“’Jazz in the Clubs’ is one of the really distinctive things about this festival,” Gregg Miller, Program Manager at Centrum said this week. “Jazz, as an art form, developed in small, intimate clubs. You get to see interactions between musicians, ideas passing between them with just a glance and the way the other musicians just light up when someone plays a really good solo. You feel more like you’re in the middle of a jam session at someone’s house than watching a performance.”

In addition to club music, three mainstage concert performances will occur at the 1,200-seat McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden State Park. Ticket prices range from $25-$53. Free workshops including “Saxophone Summit” with Grace Kelly and “An Inside Look at Two of the Great Bands of the Big Band Era” with Jeff Hamilton will happen at various locations throughout the state park on Friday. A complete listing of free events is available at

FREE: “9th Annual Friday Workshop Blowout” on Friday, July 29, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Jazz in the Clubs Schedule: Thursday, July 28, 8-11 p.m. at the Old Whiskey Mill, American Legion and Cotton Building; Friday & Saturday, July 29 & 30, 10-12:30 a.m. at the Old Whiskey Mill, American Legion, Cotton Building, Rose Theatre, Key City Public Theatre, and Pope Marine Building.

Jazz at McCurdy Pavilion: Friday July 29, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday July 30, 1:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

More info: To buy tickets by phone, call (800) 746-1982 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., PST, Mon.-Sat., or between 6 a.m. and Noon on Sunday.

The Centrum office at 233 Battery Way in Port Townsend, WA also sells tickets Monday through Friday from noon until 4 p.m., excluding holidays. Performance schedules may limit “same day” sales hours. For more information call (360) 385-3102 x110