Jazz musician to perform on courthouse plaza

Professional jazz trumpeter Mike Vax will play a free outdoor concert with the Prescott High School jazz bands at 7 p.m. Thursday on the courthouse plaza.

The California resident is a guest of Prescott High School band director Dan Bradstreet.

"(Vax) reinforces all the things we are working toward in our jazz program," Bradstreet said. "It's great for the students to work with somebody of his caliber."

The concert will include a variety of familiar jazz styles, as well as some original Vax selections, including "Vax Attacks" and "Vax Report." One of his signature selections is a beautiful rendition of "What a Wonderful World."

Vax, former lead trumpet with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, has performed on more than 50 albums, including 15 under his own name. His performances have included appearances with Clark Terry, Buddy DeFranco, Barbara McNair, Art Pepper, Anita O'Day, The Four Freshmen, The Glenn Miller and Jimmy Dorsey orchestras and the U.S. Navy Show Band.

Curently, Vax leads several of his own groups, including the New Oakland Jazz Orchestra, The Mike Vax Big Band and the Great American Jazz Band.

During the past 30 years, Vax has conducted workshops and concerts in more than 1,500 high schools, colleges and universities around the world, including working with the Music in the Bradshaws Camp conducted in Prescott each summer.

The award-winning Prescott High School jazz bands are composed of almost 40 young musicians who rehearse daily.

The Jazz 3-4 Band recently was among three bands named as "Best of the Festival" at the Northern Arizona University Jazz Festival, where more than 50 groups participated.

At the recent State High School Jazz Festival in Tempe, the Jazz 3-4 Band was one of only a handful of bands to receive a Superior rating in the two-day event.

Sponsor of the event, the Prescott Parks and Recreation Department, encourage attendees to bring a blanket or lawn chair to the plaza and enjoy the first concert of the summer season.