Tom Rigney at the Arizona Classic Jazz Festival

Tom Rigney

Helen Daley

The Arizona Commission on the Arts is an important supporter of the Arizona Classic Jazz Society. In February, to assist with 2021 performances, we were the recipient of an $11,000 AZ Organizational Relief Grant, a program developed to provide relief and recovery support to arts and cultural organizations whose primary mission is to produce, present, teach, or serve the arts. A Creative Capacity Grant application has been submitted to help cover this year’s expenses. The ACA motto: “We imagine an Arizona where everyone can participate in and experience the arts.”

ACJS presents monthly programs September through May, including the festival in November. The Arizona Classic Jazz Festival ( or 480-620-3941) will take place Nov. 3-6 at co-sponsor Crowne Plaza Phoenix – Chandler Golf Resort, One San Marcos Place, Chandler, Ariz. Entertainment starts at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3, and continues until 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6. Badges are available for the entire weekend at the discounted rate of $115 until Aug. 15. The price goes to $130 on Aug. 16, and that is also the cost if purchased at the door. Day badges cannot be ordered in advance but are available at the door on the day of the event.

Among the programs presented in November, Tom Rigney from Berkeley, Calif., will let you in on the secret, “How Did I Get Here?” and tickle your funny bone in the process. Imagine you are 24 years old, enrolled in the Harvard Ph.D. Fine Arts program, and have never played a musical instrument. You attend a program of Isaac Stern playing violin and think to yourself, “What if I could do that?” You never return to school, purchase a cheap violin, and become a great violinist. Now also imagine how that was accepted by your father, who happened to be Bill Rigney, a player and then manager of three Major League baseball teams. Imagining all this fits in with the theme of the festival this year: Imagine. Tom Rigney & Flambeau will also entertain you during seven sets at ACJF.

Tom’s bio ( admits: “There is no question that Rigney has become one of the premier blues and roots music violinists in the world, and continues to be a prolific composer of powerfully compelling music for the violin, music whose influences come from an extremely wide range of musical styles within the broad boundaries of American Roots Music. As a composer, as a violinist, as a band leader, Tom Rigney is a true American original.” With Flambeau, you’ll be entertained by “fiery Cajun and zydeco two-steps, low-down blues, funky New Orleans grooves, and heartbreakingly beautiful ballads and waltzes,” many written by Tom, and all danceable.