The Riverside Jazz Party, hosted by Jeff and Carol Loehr, took place over the weekend of June 3-5, 2016 in Boise, Idaho. In the words of Jeff Loehr, “In an era of only seeing festivals close their doors, it is virtually unheard of to see something brand new birthed. It really was the most remarkable 3 days of music that I have witnessed in the 28 years I have been a part of this music scene.”
A week after the jazz party, Jeff wrote, “Both Carol and I hope you are still enjoying the afterglow of the wonderful music last weekend. We are grateful for each and every one of you who came to kick off this new event with us, and how excited we are at the response we have had.
“We also recorded all the sessions in the event they could ever be engineered onto CD or MP3.
“In truth, the Jazz Party was the most fun and the best music Carol and I have enjoyed in decades. We are glad you were there too. Who knows, maybe in 30 years we can say we have attended them all!!
“As to the next Jazz Party, we will have a meeting with the Riverside soon. After we have set the date we will contact you about tickets for next year before they are released to the general public. Please be ready to let us know how many spots you would like to reserve, as we expect the next Riverside Jazz Party Weekend to sell out well in advance.”
What follows are the testimonials of musicians and attendees of the Riverside Jazz Party:
Terry Meyers: “I’m usually on the road leading the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. However, this past week-end I had the good fortune to be one of the musicians taking part in this inaugural event at the beautiful Riverside Hotel in Boise. Speaking as one of the players, I must say I had an incredibly great time. The facilities, the organizers, the audience, the sound techs, and the other players were wonderful. Rest assured, if I’m ever invited to play this event again, I’ll do every thing possible to take part. I’m pretty sure this is the opinion you would get from any of my fellow performers.* “I certainly hope this is the beginning of a long running tradition.”
Bob Leary: “Just a note to say how much I enjoyed playing for Jeff and Carol at the Riverside Hotel this past weekend in Boise, Idaho. The hotel itself is beautiful and the venue, called Sapphire, is a lovely throwback to an upscale ’50’s-style jazz room. We musicians were made to feel comfortable and welcome, and good jazz and laughs were had by all. I’d love to return any time I’m invited back.”
Charlie Bertini: “I have just returned home from performing at the Riverside Jazz Party in Boise, ID. The party was organized by Carol and Jeff Loehr of the Sun Valley Jazz & Music Festival.
“This event was spectacular on every level. The Riverside Hotel is a unique and magnificent place with a perfect room for listening to music called the Sapphire Room. The sound inside was crystal clear for all instruments and vocals and the sight lines were excellent from any table. I’m sure you can get the list of performers, but it was a very diverse group and made for some really fun small groups and creative ensembles.
“All the sets went as scheduled and there were only a couple of minutes between set ups for each group. The atmosphere in the Sapphire Room was intimate and fun for both the audience and the musicians. Very little sound reinforcement was needed, adding to that intimacy.
“There were all types of music: Straight ahead jazz, Dixieland, New Orleans rhythm and blues, solo piano, Gospel, duos, vocals, banjo sets, and even a Preservation Hall type set with the horns sitting down. The finale on Sunday included all the musicians and vocalists and had a gospel theme, ending with Down By the Riverside in honor of the name of the hotel.
“The hotel was clean, elegant and classy. The food was outstanding and there is even a winery on the property. The hotel features live music in their lobby and restaurants 365 days a year! There is also a long river walk on the property where guests can walk, jog or just sit and enjoy the Boise River.
“I hope that the Loehrs and the Riverside Hotel plan to continue this Jazz Party, as it was a success for everyone who attended.”
Melinda and Phil Sander: “It was a great party and a wonderful venue for such an event. [The] small stage allowed for smooth and rapid movement between band leaders and artists. We realize airfare in an out of Boise is ridiculously expensive which adds to the cost of bringing top quality stars like Yve Evans or Charlie Bertini. We hope if it is continued in the future, sponsorships might be invited to get the ticket cost down. Perhaps Idaho’s Arts Commission could be a participant.”
Greg Varlotta: “I’m one of the musicians who participated in the Jazz party at the Riverside Hotel in Boise this year.
“First, Jeff and Carol Loehr did a wonderful job of organizing this event. I know it must have been a huge undertaking to get everything together, and they did a fantastic job. Though this is my first ever jazz party, I’ve been to numerous jazz festivals, and I know how many unforeseen issues there can be, and I was really amazed at how smoothly the entire weekend ran.
“The Sapphire room is a beautiful venue, giving off a vibe that really speaks to early jazz. The acoustics of the room really make it a musicians dream. The room is the perfect size to present an event such as this. Very intimate, yet big enough to accommodate two dance floors and a full bar!
“Because of the great lineup of musicians, the audiences were treated to a huge variety of jazz tunes from all the different eras; early traditional, big band swing, bebop, gospel, all the way up to rhythm and blues of the ’50s and even present day songs. I heard songs even I haven’t heard before, and I was playing them!
“Every one of the guests I spoke with had a wonderful time, as did all the musicians. In all, I would say without a doubt it was a huge success. Thank you to Jeff and Carol, and congratulations on a great weekend!”
Yve Evans: “I have been ruminating over that weekend for several days now…and no matter which way you cut it…The Jazz Party at the Riverside was MARVELOUS. The line-up was STELLAR, the sound and staging were wonderful, the musical content was varied and interesting, the Sapphire Room was the IDEAL ambient venue, and the schedule was tight and productive.
“From a musician’s point of view…WE were traveled, housed, fed and kept out of trouble with our busy schedules…but no so much as to exhaust us…a plus. (I assure you this was appreciated.) Plus…the bottom line? WE HAD BIG FUN with zero EGO-flexing. A giant exhale.
“It struck me as a moment in time where we were able the be present and share our journeys with each other…not dwelling in our past, but bringing every lesson and victory to the stage and lovingly sharing it with our audiences through the music.
“Did I say WE HAD BIG FUN?!? It reminds me of what festivals ‘looked like’ in the beginning…just saying.
“Thank you for including me…the opportunity was cherished.”
For information about events hosted by the Loehrs please visit: www.sunvalleyjazz.com