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Yavapai College Trailblazers and Roughriders get toes tappin' at jazz concert

Music evokes reactions from different parts of the body. Hard rock makes people want to bang their heads, and easy listening can put you to sleep. But where jazz is concerned, that music brings a toe-tapping reaction. On Saturday, April 25, the Yavapai College Trailblazers and Roughriders will perform the "Toe-Tapping Jazz: Spring Jazz Concert."

Director Dr. Thomas Sullivan said the concert involves the Roughrider band as well as the trailblazer band and mentioned the difference between the two.

"The Trailblazers are by audition," he said. "And the Roughriders are anybody who wants to play jazz."

Sullivan also said the two bands have been continually practicing as the class meets all year long and has concerts throughout the year.

Starting the concert are the Roughriders, performing "Autumn Leaves," featuring Andy Frost on trumpet and Mike Ritch on drums, "Switch in Time," featuring Brian Carlisle and Bill Bowers on trombone and Sue Monroe on piano, "Witchcraft," featuring Doug Keller on vocals, "Holy Habanero," featuring Don Grice on tenor saxophone, Steve Bolander on trumpet and Bowers on trombone and "Lullaby of the Leaves," featuring Steve Bolander on Trumpet and Monroe on piano.

For the second half, featuring the Trailblazers, the pieces include "Love for Sale," featuring Bud Hitlditch on trumpet, Jeff Weisel on piano and Duane Ewing on Alto Saxophone, "In a Sentimental Mood," featuring David Russell on tenor saxophone, Bowers and Carlisle on trombone, "Deed I Do," featuring Keller on vocals, "Boplicity," featuring Bill West on trumpet and Russell on tenor saxophone,' "The Gypsy," featuring Ewing on alto saxophone, ending off with "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," featuring the saxophone section, made up of Ewing, Russell, Randy Tremper, Frank Lawhead and Ed Jones.

Sullivan said the reason for putting "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" last is because it's the hardest piece, but also called it a fabulous arrangement.

"But instead of the traditional, it flies along at 200 beats per minute," he said. "It's a great closer."

Sullivan spoke highly of the concert's soloists, stating that part of the goal is to not just be able to read music, but improvise. He said that he is most impressed with West, who is 87 years old.

"I was joking with him the other day," Sullivan said. "Somebody said 'gee, wouldn't it be great to play like that when you're 87. I'd like to play like that right now. I don't want to wait until I'm 87."

Bowers is also in his 80s and has been playing trombone for 65 years, Sullivan said.

Sullivan said the music at the concert will be top level college and professional jazz, noting that past performances have seen first place in the Reno Jazz Festival as well as similar recognition in other places.

The concert will be at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, located at 1100 East Sheldon St., starting at 7 p.m. Admission is $7.

- by Jason Wheeler, The Daily Courier

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