The Festival Roundup December 2023

TUCSON JAZZ FESTIVAL (Tucson, AZ) – Jan. 12-20

A week-long, city-wide event with individually ticketed concerts at the historic Fox and Rialto theaters, as well as TCC Music Hall and Club Congress, with some free outdoor events around town. Acts of interest to TST readers include: Emmet Cohen Trio, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Trombone Shorty, Diego Figueiredo with Ken Peplowski, The Black Market Trust, Howard Alden, and several others scheduled for a Jazz Jam set.

Ticket pricing, festival schedule, and lodging information may be found at the festival website: tucsonjazzfestival.org; (520) 989-0720.

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30th Annual EAGLES AND IVORIES MUSIC FEST (Muscatine, IA) – Jan. 18-21

The 30th Annual Eagles & Ivories Music Fest is staged in Muscatine, Iowa, at four different locations. A free eagle watch takes place Saturday morning at Pearl City Station in Riverfront Park. The music will be performed by Ivory &Gold® featuring Jeff and Anne Barnhart, Adam Swanson, Martin Spitznagel, David Bennett, Josh Duffee, Jim Radloff, the Mad Creek Mudcats, and the Locust Street Boys.
An entire four-day concert package costs $70; individual event admissions range from $5 to $20; children ages 16 and younger are admitted free to all events; for more information and tickets: muscatineartscouncil.org; (563) 263-9978; [email protected].

NORTH CAROLINA JAZZ FESTIVAL (Wilmington, NC) – Feb. 1-4

Wilmington gives a warm welcome to all of the jazz lovers attending our 43rd North Carolina Jazz Festival. NCJF will fill your evenings with exciting performances by some of the greatest traditional jazz musicians from around the globe. All evening concerts begin at 7:30 pm and held at the Hotel Ballast ballroom.

Thursday night, our Special Event night, is when we feature different styles of jazz. This year we will open with The Port City Trio, a Wilmington based group that is well known in the area for the Jewell Family’s tradition of playing jazz, blues and pop styles of music. Our main event for the evening will be The Emmet Cohen Trio. The evening’s music will come to a close with some of our weekend All-Stars in a Traditional Jazz Jam.

UpBeat Records

Friday and Saturday Nights we will continue our celebration with 15 All-Star musicians playing in the traditional seven sets of six or seven players, each set with a different leader. You will see/hear many of our favorite NCJF musicians plus new additions to our lineup. Invited musicians include: Adrian Cunningham, Alvin Atkinson, Bruce Harris, Chuck Redd, Dion Tucker, Herman Burney, Jonathan Russell, Ken Peplowski, Lucy Yeghiazaryan, Nate Najar, and Rossano Sportiello.

Patron Brunch: On Saturday from 10:30 until 2 pm we treat our patrons to a musical brunch, when all of our All-star musicians play for their pleasure while everyone enjoys a delicious brunch. During the last hour we have a “jam” when the patrons who are musicians have the opportunity to play with the All-stars. Fun for all!

For more information visit www.ncjazzfestival.org, call 910-399-6536 or email [email protected].

SOUNDS OF MARDI GRAS (Fresno, CA) – Feb. 8-11

The 40th edition of the Sounds of Mardi Gras in Fresno kicks off at the Doubletree by Hilton with a Thursday evening pre-party. The schedule picks up Friday with a themed parade, followed by the annual coronation of the Festival King and Queen, a Friday night swing dance, and a Saturday Night Mardi Gras Dance Party. Festivities include a Parasol Parade and Masquerade and Costume Parade in the grand tradition of Mardi Gras. This year one parade has an “Cruising to Carnaval Ports” theme.

Invited bands for 2024 include: Alpha Rhythm Kings, Groovus, Black Market Trust, Gino and the Lone Gunmen, Dave Stuckey and the Hot House Gang, Tom Rigney and Flambeau, Gator Nation Collaboration, We 3 + 1, Bob Schulz Frisco Jazz Band, Yosemite Jazz Band, CJ’s Open jams, Reedley River Rats, and Jan Sutherland.

San Diego

Special festival room rates at the Fresno Double Tree by Hilton are available. For more information you can call Linda (209) 534-1924 or visit www.fresnodixie.com.

TEAGARDEN JAZZ FESTIVAL for Young Musicians (Sacramento, CA) Feb. 10

The joy of New Orleans-style jazz is at the heart of this scholastic combo festival, which is dedicated to fostering a better appreciation of this classic American art form. Each year, scores of young musicians gather at the annual Teagarden Jazz Festival (formerly named Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival) for experiences that take their musical skills to the next level. Don’t miss the Closing Concert featuring the Teagarden Jazz Festival All-Star Clinicians Band with guest artist Adrian Cunningham.

General admission to the Jazz Festival for the public is $15 (students are admitted at no charge) and is valid all day. Tickets will be sold onsite. For band registration and tickets, call Patricia Jones at the SacJEF office: (916) 571-5533 or email: [email protected]; write PO Box 661763, Sacramento 95866; or visit the festival website: TeagardenJazzfestival.org.

CHARLES H. TEMPLETON RAGTIME & JAZZ FESTIVAL (Starkville, MS) – Feb. 22-24

The 18th Annual Charles H. Templeton Ragtime and Jazz Festival & the Gatsby Gala will be held at the Mississippi State University campus at Starkville from Thursday, February 22nd through Saturday, February 24th. The Templeton Festival is the only one of its kind in the southeast that brings world-renowned artists and entertainers to campus to perform throughout the weekend, sharing their insights and love of ragtime, jazz, and blues music. Scheduled musicians include Louis Ford, Neville Dickie, and The Sweet & Hot Quartet (Jeff Barnhart, Anne Barnhart, T.J. Müller and Josh Duffee). The business of music in the ragtime era will be the focus of multi-media lectures. For more information visit https://festival.library.msstate.edu/

SAN DIEGO JAZZ PARTY (Del Mar, CA) Feb. 23-25, 2024

The 32nd annual San Diego Jazz Party is set to take place in Del Mar, Calif., 20 miles north of San Diego.

Performers at the 2024 Jazz Party will be Dan BarrettDanny Coots, Duke  Heitger, Evan ArntzenKen PeplowskiJohn AllredJon-Erik Kellso, Houston Person, Lisa Booth, Vinny Raniolo, Harry AllenChuck ReddRichard Simon, Peter Washington, Rossano Sportiello, Jason Wanner, Josh Collazo, Lizzy (of the Triggermen), Sam Rocha, and Yve Evans.

Purchase passes on www.sandiegojazzparty.com or order by telephone (619) 787-8792; or write San Diego Jazz Party, 1632 Hillstone Avenue, Escondido, CA 92029-4332.

42nd annual JAZZ BASH BY THE BAY (Monterey, CA) March 1-3, 2024

The 42nd annual Jazz Bash By the Bay Monterey takes place March 3-5, 2023, in the beautiful Conference Center and Portola Hotel & Spa with eight venues.

Invited bands for 2024 include: Blue Stree, Brass Nickels, Bye Bye Blues Boys Band, Carl Sonny Leyland Trio, Chris Bradley and Friends, Crescent Katz, Dawn Lambeth Sextet, Ivory and Gold, Pacific Brass, Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, San Lyon, Seattle Trad, Tom Hook and the Terrier Bros., Tom Rigney and Flambeau, Warehouse Reunion, Holland Coots Jazz Quintet, Groovus, Sweet and Hot Quartet, El Dorado Jazz Band, and the Yve Evans Trio.

Artists include: Paolo Alderighi, Clint Baker, Riley Baker, Jeff Barnhart, Dan Barrett, Dave Bennett, Marc Caporone, Katie Cavera, Danny Coots, Ryan Daniele, Bob Draga, Josh Duffee, Eddie Erickson, Brian Holland, TJ Muller, John Otto, Steve Pikal, Andy Schum, Hal Smith, Dave Stuckey, and Stephanie Trick.

Badges can be ordered by phone at 831-754-8786 or 888-349-6879. More information online at jazzbashmonterey.com; Jazz Bash by the Bay, 177 Webster St., #206, Monterey, CA 93940.

JAZZ PENSACOLA JAZZFEST (Pensacola, FL) – April 6-7

The 41st Annual Pensacola JazzFest will be April 6-7, 2024, at Seville Square in historic downtown Pensacola. The schedule and headliners will be announced soon.

As always, JazzFest is a free and celebrates America’s unique musical art form, jazz. The event is produced with assistance from a variety of corporate sponsors and community organizations. Jazz Pensacola volunteers also work yearlong to present Pensacola JazzFest as their annual gift to the community. We sincerely thank our individual and corporate donors for their essential support.

With its beautiful live oaks and historic surroundings, Seville Square and the gazebo stage offer a perfect springtime setting for Pensacola JazzFest.

In addition to a great music lineup, food by Vendors, wine/beer, soft drinks, arts and crafts and jazz merchandise are available—including JazzFest posters and a variety of jazzy shirts and memorabilia. All jazz merchandise sales help support the festival and keep it free for loyal fans. www.jazzpensacola.com.

FRENCH QUARTER FESTIVAL (New Orleans, LA) – April 11-14

More than 20 stages throughout the French Quarter celebrate local music and represent every genre from traditional and contemporary jazz to R&B, New Orleans funk, brass bands, folk, gospel, Latin, Zydeco, classical, cabaret, and international. Traditional jazz fans will find nearly every artist of interest to them currently active in the city and discover new favorites.

New Orleans restaurants serve food and beverages in Jackson Square, the Jazz Museum at the Mint, JAX Brewery, and Woldenberg Riverfront Park during French Quarter Festival weekend. The French Quarter Festival has been consistently voted “favorite festival,” “favorite food festival,” and “favorite event open to the public” by locals. Schedule and map available at frenchquarterfest.org.

JAZZAFFAIR (Three Rivers, CA) April 12-14

The 49th annual Jazzaffair, hosted by the Sierra Traditional Jazz Club, takes place at three venues in Three Rivers: the Lions Club Arena, the Memorial Building, and St. Anthony’s Retreat.

Bands will include the Sierra Stompers, the Blue Street Jazz Band, Gino and the Lone Gunmen, Dave Bennett Quartet, Carl Sonny Leyland’s Boogie Woogie Boys, Tom Rigney and Flambeau, St. John’s Riverboat Jazz Band, Katie Cavera and the Lost Boys, Holland & Coots Quintet, and introducing Nathan Tokunaga Fearless Five.

Visit the Sierra Traditional Jazz Club online and download the order form: www.threeriversjazzaffair.com S.T.J.C., PO Box 712, Three Rivers, CA 93271. Call or text Jazzaffair Director: Linda McKee Amaral at (559) 303-5193

ZEHNDER’S RAGTIME FESTIVAL (Frankenmuth, MI) – April 24-26

Zehnder’s Annual Ragtime Festival featuring the pride of Michigan, pianist Bob Milne, will be staged at Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth, 730 S. Main St., in the colorful city nicknamed Little Bavaria. Also called “Muth” for short, the city is located in Saginaw County, in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, about 22 miles south of Lake Huron. Events include Lunch Concerts on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Vaudeville Night on Thursday, and Friday Night Festival Grand Finale.

By the way, Zehnder’s serves a world-famous chicken dinner along with tantalizing breads and pastries. Performers for 2024 included Bob Milne along with Jeff and Anne Barnhart, Bill Edwards, Terry Parrish, Andrew Ratajczak, Dave Majchrzak, and Bill Edwards.

Ticket prices for individual events range from $34 to $70. Reservations are required for lunch, brunch, and all dinner concerts. For more info or reservations call (844) 288-1484; or visit zehnders.com.

50th WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP OLD-TIME PIANO PLAYING CONTEST & FESTIVAL (Oxford, MS) – May 23-26

Every year over Memorial Day weekend in Oxford, Mississippi, the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest is held to provide an opportunity for pianists to compete and learn in a stimulating atmosphere and to educate people about old-time piano music written prior to 1940.

Through the years, the contest has provided more than $60,000 in prize money to more than 500 piano players from across the United States and from five foreign countries. Players in 2020 will compete in three divisions—Regular, Junior & Senior—as they vie for over $6,000 plus trophies—as well as the New Rag Contest, where aspiring composers present their original tunes.

A variety of other activities include workshops, guest artist performances, silent movies, an old-time sing-along, a double-decker bus tour of historic Oxford, and after-hours events every night on the Oxford Square.

For more information, write: Old Time Piano Contest, 350 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; [email protected]; telephone 662-801-2251; oldtimepianocontest.com.

Joe Bebco is the Associate Editor of The Syncopated Times and Webmaster of SyncopatedTimes.com

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