Do you enjoy great jazz, and big band swing music? If you do, then you need to consider spending a summer weekend in the Colorado Rockies, at the 10th anniversary of the Evergreen Jazz Festival, July 29 to 31.
I invite you to join me at 2 p.m. March 6 in the gallery of the Hays Public Library to learn about this festival, its intimate venues and 70 hours of live world-class jazz, performed by 12 outstanding music groups and soloists.
I'll play some great jazz from my dozen albums of festival music, featuring the Carl Sonny Leland Trio of "Dang Good Boogie," authentic recreation of the big band swing era as played by the Hot Tomatoes Dance Orchestra, and the After Midnight Jazz Band, re-creating the sound of the Benny Goodman Sextet. Vocalist Joni Janak and the Centerpiece Jazz Quartet provide swinging and sultry jazz harmony.
Lastly, you'll listen to the sixth decade Queen City Jazz Band, with vocalist Wende Harston getting you ready for the outstanding Sunday morning gospel service.
This 2011 Festival features Denver's Hot Tomatoes Dance Orchestra, Centerpiece Jazz, Gypsy Swing Revue, After Midnight, Celebration and the Queen City Jazz Bands.
The nation's jazz is represented by the San Francisco Yerba Bueno Stompers, New Orleans' John Royen Quartet, Kansas City Rain Dogs, Chicago's Don Stiernberg Quartet, and Philadelphia's Independence Hall Jazz Band.
San Diego's jazz vocalist Deejha Mane will perform with several festival bands. Young jazz musicians will be presented by Colorado's the Jazz Cookers and the Denver Jazz Club All-Stars.
I'll talk about the festival venues:
* Elks Lodge ballroom for seating, dancing and stage musicians, and their outdoor patio where bands are accompanied by cool mountain breezes.
* The Evergreen Christian Church, next door, with incredible acoustics, comfortable pew seating, and stage area for the musicians.
* The Evergreen log Lake House juts out into Evergreen Lake, and dancing is encouraged.
* The Little Bear saloon and restaurant, formerly the Red Ram, hosted Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman and the Glenn Miller bands during the late 1960s, and early 70s -- check out the rafters?
Free bus shuttle service runs every 20 minutes, connecting the venues.
I'll discuss special discounted ticket prices, and housing for the festival happening July 29 through 31 -- maybe even a bus trip?
Come join me March 6, and let's talk, listen to good jazz and visit about the Evergreen Jazz Festival.
Harry Watts, Hays, is a member of the Generations Advisory Group.