The purpose of the Arizona Classic Jazz Festival is to bring first class bands to Arizona and showcase superb Arizonian bands that play the traditional jazz and swing music made famous during the first half of the 1900’s. The music starts at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 6 and concludes on Sunday, November 9 at 5:00 p.m. The schedule is posted on azclassicjazz.org. All venues are at the Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort, One San Marcos Place, Chandler. Badge cost: All Events $95, Friday $45, Saturday $50, Sunday $35, after 6:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, $25; under 18, $5 Friday and Saturday, free on Sunday.
The Arizona Classic Jazz Society has once again been honored to receive a $10,000 Arts Engagement in American Communities grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The award helps cover expenses for the Society’s jazz youth programs and the festival. The NEA program supports educational arts projects for people of any age in any arts discipline in communities across the United States. The Arizona Commission on the Arts (funded by the State of Arizona and National Endowment for the Arts) has awarded ACJS a Community Investment Grant in the amount of $4,000. The City of Chandler has awarded $1,000 from its Special Event Sponsorship Funding Program.
Most bands will be playing at least seven sets over the weekend. Here are a few of the unique offerings:
A two-hour “Tribute to Louis Armstrong” by Cornet Chop Suey (St. Louis, MO). Louis Armstrong is a much beloved figure in the jazz community and his influence and music are brought to life through this presentation.
“A Tribute to Benny Goodman” by the Dave Bennett Quartet (Michigan). Dave was chosen to perform live at Carnegie Hall on November 1, 2013 for the 75th anniversary of Benny Goodman’s legendary live recording there. Dave is considered “the closest ever” to Benny Goodman in terms of sound and style (also one crowd-pleasing “Jerry Lee Lewis” set).
“Songs of Inspiration” by 52nd Street Jazz Band (Mesa, AZ) includes stories and music that inspired each of them to become musicians. Ben Smith, recently retired from the Dukes of Dixieland, will be playing trombone with the band.
Crystal Stark, a Season Five American Idol finalist, will be joining the Wildcat Jazz Band (Tucson, AZ). Their “What If…?” set will feature band arrangements of modern songs into the 1920’s New Orleans-style.
Wally’s Warehouse Waifs (Michigan) will perform the grand finale, “Around the World with Wally,” featuring tunes in different styles and languages sung by vocalist Theresa Scavarda. Pieter Meijers will join the finale.
Jam sets will be open to all wishing to participate on Friday at 11:45 a.m.; join 52nd Street Jazz Band on Saturday at 2:15 p.m. and Sunday at 10:45 a.m. All musicians are invited to take part in the parade that starts from the patio area at 4:45 p.m. on Friday.
An Afterglow in A.J.’s Restaurant will be led by 52nd Street from 6:00–9:00 p.m. on Sunday.