The Jazz & Beyond Carson City Music Festival continues on Friday with three free events — the main one being an 111th birthday bash celebrating Count Basie from 8 to 10 p.m. on the Third Street Stage between Carson and Curry streets.
The festival began in 2004 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of William “Count” Basie. On Friday, Mile High Jazz Band, an 18-member big band, with three vocalists, Cindee LeVal, June Joplin, and Pat Esters, will celebrate his 111th birthday. They will play tunes played by the Basie band, arranged by Basie-band arrangers, and other Basie-era and more contemporary tunes to celebrate his life and influence. The program features ballads, high-powered jazz tunes, and dance music.
Mile High Jazz Band performs throughout the year for community events, fundraisers, dances, receptions, private parties, and in concert, and collaborates with poets in quarterly Jazz & Poetry performances. It plays at Comma Coffee on the second Tuesday of each month. Members include: Saxes — Richard Davis, Randy Seeber, Nick Jacques, Derek Fong, Casey Finnerty; trumpets — Gil Linsley, Scott LeVal, Joi Cerveri, Rich Sheldrew, Bob Masters; trombones — Dean Carter, Don Smaltz, C.J. Birch, Stephanie Reynolds; piano — David Bugli; guitar — Bruce Theriot; bass — Frank Iannetta; drums — Neil Strocchio. For more about the Mile High Jazz Band, go to MileHighJazz.com.
Festivities continue with a performance by the jazz combo Impromptu from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Third Street Stage.
The band features leader Tom Stryker on chromatic harmonica, Jimmy Vermilion on keyboard and vocals, Hal Little on drums, and vocalist Lynne Colvig, presenting jazz favorites, tunes from the Great American Songbook, and some surprises. Hohner Harmonica Endorsee and Consultant Tom Stryker is a past president of SPAH (the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica) and has performed all over the world, as soloist and with symphonies, jazz bands, and combos. Impromptu performs to enthusiastic audiences in Northern Nevada and is a favorite at Jazz & Beyond festivals. For more about Tom Stryker, go to www.tstryker.com.
Carson City Symphony’s STRAZZ youth strings ensemble, directed by Symphony Education Director Sue Jesch, will play from 7:30 to 8 p.m. in the Courtyard at Comma Coffee, 312 S. Carson St. The group features some of the area’s top strings students playing toe-tapping jazz and fiddle tunes. Introduced to jazz at a Jazz Workshop for Strings with the Mile High Jazz Band in 2008, the students formed an ensemble 2009. In 2011, STRAZZ performed for the Nevada Governor’s Arts Award Ceremony in Carson City, at which Sue Jesch was honored for her leadership in Arts Education.
STRAZZ violinists are Gabe Covington, Athena Favero, Rheanna Jackson, Nina Jimenez, Sierra Kraemer, Ethan Lopes, Kacey Lopes, Kaitlyn McDonald, Lissette Rivas, Emma Rosen, Shaylin Segura, Eleanor Sturm, Fox Ventura, and Ojo Ventura. Violist is Nick Rosen. Cellists are Juliet Favero, Kayleigh Remington, and cello instructor Lou Groffman. Bassist is Riley Dunn. Stage manager is Gary Jesch. STRAZZ will perform as a prelude to Starr Nixdorf’s World Dance Open Floor, held the third Friday each month at Comma Coffee. The Aug. 21 World Dance is a benefit for Carson City Symphony’s youth strings programs. All ages are welcome to the free event.
The Aug. 21 performances are part of the Jazz and Beyond Carson City Music Festival, continuing through Aug. 23 in the capital city. The annual festival began in 2004 and features more than 100 performers in over 60 performances; most are admission free. The festival is produced by Mile High Jazz Band Association with support from Carson City, state grants, and private donations. The Carson City Chamber of Commerce recently presented its “Best Annual Event” award for 2015 to the Jazz & Beyond Music Festival. For a detailed festival schedule, call 775-883-4154, or go to JazzCarsonCity.com.