Swinging with the Arizona Classic Jazz Festival 2023

Stephanie Trick and Paolo Alderighi (photo by Helen Daley)

Helen Daley

There is always a theme to the educational sets presented at the Arizona Classic Jazz Festival. The bands that choose to participate follow the theme for one set each by introducing their topic with music and lecture. For instance, the theme for 2021 was “Best of…” and 2022 was “IMAGINE the 1920s Roaring Again.”

The theme for this year is “Come Swing With Me.” Swing music was made for toe-tapping in your seat or swinging out on the dance floor. This year’s selections will bring a bit more joy to your life. The festival takes place from Nov. 2 to Nov. 5. Go to azclassicjazz.org for details.

The following bands are taking part in the Swing fun:

Cheryl’s Vintage Jazz Band: Bob Wills (Western Swing). Recognized as the King of Western Swing, James Robert Wills (1905-1975), with His Texas Playboys, often drew larger audiences than Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman.

Holland-Coots Jazz Quintet: Fats Waller. Thomas Wright Waller (1904-1943) is still remembered as one of the greatest jazz pianists and a prolific songwriter, with a flair for ribald humor.

Queen City Jazz Band: Swing with famous early dance band arrangers. The band will acquaint you with 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s arrangers, who supplied stars and not-so-famous entertainers, with creative settings of dance and show music.

St. Louis Stompers: Neolithic Swing. Highlights transitional bands and swing giants such as Dorsey, Goodman, Bunny Berigan, Waller, Coleman Hawkins, Whiteman, etc., during the late 1920s to mid-1930s.

Sentimental Breeze: Swing through World War II. You will hear songs by many of the artists of the Swing Era. The musicians’ strike taking place from 1942 to 1944 did not include singers, so many of them experienced a rise in popularity.

Stephanie Trick and Paolo Alderighi (with Danny Coots and Sam Rocha): Erroll Garner. Erroll Louis Garner (1921-1977) was a jazz pianist and composer. His great musical memory was demonstrated by the fact that he never learned to read music but could play by ear almost anything he ever heard.

There will be a lot of variety from the following bands:

Sun City Stomperz: songs introduced 1923 to 1924

We 3 + 1: Swing from the 1930s through the 1950s

Wildcat Jazz Band: It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)

Wolverine Jazz Band: Swing in all styles

Stephanie Trick, Paolo Alderighi, and Nicole Pesce (We 3 + 1), three of the fantastic pianists appearing at the festival, will headline a fundraiser for the Arizona Classic Jazz Society at Ravenscroft Hall in Scottsdale on Sunday, Oct. 29, at 3 p.m. Go to theravenscroft.com for ticket information.