River Road Ramblers Jazz Band

Helen Daley

The Arizona Classic Jazz Society (ACJS) will be entertained by the River Road Ramblers Jazz Band from Tucson on Sunday, Jan. 15, from 1 to 4 p.m. The band is led by trombonist Richard Cook who will be accompanied by Zac Johnson (clarinet), Denny Schreffler (cornet), Evan Dain (banjo), Marco Rosano (bass), and Bob Kruse (drums). Their jazzy style is always danceable.

The band released a CD of “Classic Ragtime” with music from 1905 to 1914, and many of the members have been playing at a new jazz venue in Tucson, the Century Room of Hotel Congress. The Trad Jazz series there is on Wednesdays. The hotel itself makes a visit to Tucson worthwhile. A fire at the hotel in 1934 led to the arrest of John Dillinger. He was staying there under an assumed name but was recognized from a photograph.

All ACJS events take place at the Crown Plaza Phoenix-Chandler Golf Resort (still affectionately referred to as the San Marcos by us old timers), One San Marcos Place, in Downtown Chandler. The cost is $15 for ACJS members; $20 non-members (become a new member on the 15th and get in free; yearly membership $35 couple, single $25). There will be two dance floors and seating with spacing to meet everybody’s wishes, with the choice of table or theater seating. Masks, gloves, Clorox wipes, and hand sanitizer will be available. For more information, go to www.azclassicjazz.org or call 480-620-3941.

Also of great interest regarding ACJS’s educational efforts is the fact that Bart Salzman (leader of the once very active Sun Lakes Big Band) is now an ACJS Board member and in charge of school programs. He already has six school programs scheduled. Each program will include 150 to 200 third to fifth graders where they will be introduced to the American art form of traditional music. They will also be taught how to play the jazz kazoo and take a kazoo home with them. Key messages for the students include the uniqueness of jazz as based on improvisation, its origination in New Orleans, and that trumpeter Louis Armstrong was considered the first jazz ambassador who took jazz all over the world. Each hour-long assembly will feature five musicians: Cheryl Thurston (keys), Bart Salzman (trumpet and leader), Steve McCarvel (reeds), Sean Brogan (upright bass), and Jim Banister (drums). ACJS is able to fund these programs through generous donations from the community. If this effort interests you, please call Helen Daley at 480-620-3941.