Extra special Arizona Classic Jazz Festival

Helen Daley

The Arizona Classic Jazz Festival will be November 5-8 and its purpose is to bring first class bands to Arizona to present the traditional jazz and swing music made famous during the first half of the 1900s. Festivals are an important venue for presenting this original American art form and keeping live music live. Our kind of music might be referred to by many names: Ragtime is recognized as the parent of all the styles that followed; classic includes traditional, Dixieland, New Orleans-style, Chicago-style, Kansas City-style, West Coast-style, and Hot; all evolving into Swing in the 1930s.

In addition to all the early 20th Century music, festivalgoers will also be entertained by jazz revival music and stories.

Grand Dominion Jazz Band will present “New Orleans Hot Jazz Revival of the ‘40s and ‘50s” that encompassed a lot of soul, rhythm and dynamic ensemble playing described as harmonic, good old music. Queen City Jazz Band’s “Evolution of the Groove” explores jazz rhythm from Ragtime through New Orleans street beat, early Dixieland, Chicago and New York Swing, Dixieland and Swing era small combo style, ending with late 1940s mainstream. The grand finale on Sunday will be High Sierra Jazz Band’s “Traditional Jazz Revival, 1935 – 1950 in the USA and Europe.”

The bands will be the following: All Stars from around the world; Blue Street Jazz Band (CA and New Orleans), Cocuzzi Courtet (CA), Cornet Chop Suey (St. Louis, MO), Dan Reed’s Dixieland Hotshots (Sun City West, AZ), 52nd Street Jazz Band (Mesa, AZ), Grand Dominion Jazz Band (U.S. and Canada), High Sierra Jazz Band (Three Rivers, CA), Queen City Jazz Band (Denver, CO), Slide and Strings (Tucson, AZ), Sun City Stomperz (Sun City, AZ), Tom Hook with his Terrier Brothers and vocalist Brady McKay (New Orleans and CA), Wildcat Jazz Band (Tucson, AZ), and Wolverine Jazz Band (Boston, MA). Local band KANDU will play one rock ‘n roll set on Saturday.

ACJS was awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the arts (NEA) to support the educational aspects of the Festival and its Jazz Youth Program which includes in-school live music programs. The NEA is the federal agency that supports and funds the arts to give all Americans the opportunity to experience creativity and participate in the arts. The Arizona Classic Jazz Society 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. The ACA grant was $2,000. The City of Chandler Event Sponsorship Funding Program awarded a grant in the amount of $500. Their program is designed to assist local non-profit organizations in presenting events that serve the public and promote Chandler.

For details regarding the Arizona Classic Jazz Society/Festival go to azclassicjazz.org or call 480-620-3941.