This is such an exciting time of the year, especially for the Arizona Classic Jazz Festival. The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys will be joining the Festival lineup for the first time. Their eight performances over the weekend include the Grand Finale on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. The Swamp Donkeys describe their style as early jazz with a modern twist.
All the festivities take place at the Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort, a co-sponsor of the event. The Festival opens at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 2, with husband and wife team Stephanie Trick and Paolo Alderighi, followed by B.A.D. Rhythm, Hot Jazz Pie, Dave Bennett Quartet and the Swamp Donkeys. The rest of the bands will be playing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday: Cornet Chop Suey, Dan Reed’s Dixieland Hotshots, 52nd Street Jazz Band, High Sierra Jazz Band, Kris Tokarski Trio, Queen City Jazz Band, St. Louis Rivermen, Sun City Stomperz, Wildcat Jazz Band and special guest guitarist Howard Alden. These bands come from all over the U.S.
The music starts at 10:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and ends at midnight. There is a gospel hour from 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Sunday, and then all the bands play at least once before ending at 3:30 p.m. The parade down San Marcos Place will begin at the patio at 4:45 p.m. on Friday. There will also be an “afterglow” on Sunday from 6:00-8:30 p.m. in the San Tan Ballroom for which tickets must be purchased in advance. $30 includes a delicious buffet dinner that will be accompanied by a jam with the musicians still in town.
Dates are November 2-5, 2017. Bands play one-hour sets with 15-minute changeovers in four venues, all within easy walking distance. Badges should be purchased in the San Marcos Ballroom Lobby and cost $130 for the entire weekend, $25 Thursday, $50 Friday, $60 Saturday, $45 Sunday. For more details, go to the Arizona Classic Jazz Society’s website, www.azclassicjazz.org.