Sun Lakes resident Diana Perez will lead off the Arizona Classic Jazz Festival at the Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort in Chandler on Thursday, November 3 at 4:15 p.m. Diana’s Trio consists of drummer John Pellegrino and bassist Buddy Apfel and they will be presenting a “Tribute to Billy Holliday.” The Festival starts at 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, November 3 and ends at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 6. There are over 30 hours of music and dancing throughout the weekend.
The festival will celebrate the life of recording engineer Jack Miller. Jack loved any music with feeling. Traditional jazz certainly fills that requirement. He was also instrumental in the recording careers of many rock ‘n roll and country stars. Although the emphasis of the festival is Traditional Jazz, country and rock ‘n roll will be in the mix. The Grand Finale on Sunday will be a “Tribute to the Beatles” by the Dave Bennett Quartet.
Arizona is well-represented at the Festival. World renowned guitarist Howard Alden will join three groups; Dan Reed’s Dixieland Hotshots will present Dixieland as you’ve never heard before; 52nd Street Jazz Band is known for their Chicago-style jazz and they will expand their repertoire to country for a “Western Swing” set with guitarist Levi Mullen. Gary Church, the 52nd Street cornetist, toured for many years with Mel Tillis and Merle Haggard. Kandu will be playing music all dancers love; Slide ‘n Strings from Tucson features the music of harpist Christine Vivona; Sun City Stomperz play Traditional Jazz in the full-bodied New Orleans-style; and a band everybody loves, Wildcat Jazz Band from Tucson. Cheryl Thurston will lead the Jammers for three sets.
National bands are B.A.D. Rhythm from Nashville (Brian Holland, Danny Coots and Pat Bergeson) accompanied by bassist Nicki Parrott, playing a wide variety of music styles; Cornet Chop Suey from St. Louis bring their high energy style to Traditional Jazz, swing, blues and big production numbers; the Dave Bennett Quartet always swings and will do one “Jerry Lee Lewis” set; High Sierra Jazz Band from Three Rivers, CA, plays exciting, hard-driving two-beat Traditional Jazz, West-coast style; Queen City Jazz Band from Denver has been playing music from the ‘20s to ‘40s for over 55 years and they have wonderful vocalist Wende Harston; Wally’s Warehouse Waifs from Michigan has an entertaining style that is full of creativity and improvisation; and Wolverine Jazz Band from Boston mixes tunes by famous composers with a wide selection of obscure gems from the Jazz Era. There are many special sets throughout the festival.
ACJF is supported in part by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, which receives support from the State of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts. ACJF received a grant in the amount of $5,000.
Badges are available at the door in the San Marcos Ballroom lobby starting at 3:00 p.m. on November 3: $20, Thursday; $50 Friday; $55 Saturday; $40 Sunday; All Event $100. For more information call 480-620-3941 or www.azclassicjazz.org.