Sanford was an in-demand trombonist, composer and conductor who led several cutting-edge big bands including the Grammy-nominated John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble and his own JC Sanford Orchestra.

Kakitani was a composer who created lush, vivid pieces inspired by nature and brought them to life with her 18-piece jazz orchestra. Both released all-original albums that earned international acclaim.

“We were struggling artists in Brooklyn, but we were carefree,” Kakitani said by Zoom earlier this month. “We were younger and didn’t have anybody to take care of. We were just wanting to write music and perform, and as long as we could do that, we were happy.”

In 2014, they became parents to a baby daughter. “We had an apartment that was big and affordable,” Sanford said. “Then the owner sold the place and we had to move into another place that cost $500 more a month and was way crappier. Many of our friends were leaving New York and moving near their families to raise kids.”

Fast-forward seven years. The family now lives in a comfortable rambler in Northfield, 40 miles south of Minneapolis. On Sunday, Sanford will lead the JazzMN Orchestra — Minnesota’s premier big band — in a concert at Crooners devoted exclusively to women composers, including Kakitani.

Sanford grew up in Northfield and his mother still lives in the town that is home to Carleton and St. Olaf colleges. He and Kakitani thought about moving there after their daughter was born.