Originally Published: August 20, 2015 7:24 p.m.
It's almost time for Prescott to be the jazz lover's paradise as the Prescott Jazz Summit swings on in, dancing the ragtime through Dixieland. Bopping on Friday through Saturday, Aug. 28-30, this year's summit will have a new venue plus a new musical group along with the other musicians.
This is the 15th year for the Jazz Summit, after starting with a one-day festival in 2000, Festival Director Mike Vax said.
"After that second year of doing it as a one-day, I decided we were going to do it as a three-day. So we did and it's still going," Vax said, noting their ability to keep it going through the recession. "I think part of the reach is, I keep the festival fairly small. I still bring in a lot of fairly world-class musicians and we've managed to keep it going."
And while not much has changed since last year's summit, Vax said a new venue this year is hosting performances along with The Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center and Ruth Street Theater at Prescott High School. The Sunday morning brunch and afternoon concert is going to be at Prescott Lakes, he said.
Another new addition is a group called the Phil Norman Tentet. Vax said he usually hires individual musicians but the group will perform together as well as spread out and perform with other musicians.
The summit's basic demographic is people around 55 and 60 years of age, Vax noted. He also spoke of the festival's important educational outreach.
"One of the things we do with the educational outreach is keep trying to get the younger people so we can build the jazz audience for the future," Vax said. "It's so important to keep the music going. It's a challenge, but we've made it go."
Vax said it's a challenge to produce jazz events in Prescott because the most popular styles in the area are bluegrass, folk and rock. The goal is to get people who haven't heard a whole lot of jazz to come out, he said, adding that every time they do, they talk about how fun it is. The music at the summit is going to range from early traditional New Orleans jazz through bebop and everything in between, including the Big Band era, Vax said.
Attendees to the summit know about the inclusion of world class musicians, Vax said, vowing that the level of musicianship is as high as any other festival in the world.
"I think the people who want to come know that," he said. "They know that no matter what concert they're going to go to, it's going to be top notch all the way through."
The Prescott Jazz Summit will be at The Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center, 117 E. Gurley St., on Friday, Aug. 28; at Ruth Street Theater, Prescott High School, 1050 N. Ruth St., on Saturday, Aug. 29, and at The Club at Prescott Lakes, 315 E. Smoke Tree Lane, on Sunday, Aug. 30.
There is also a reservations-required jam session at Murphy's Restaurant, 201 N. Cortez St., at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 24. To make a reservation, visit or call Murphy's at 928-445-4044
Tickets, available at www.prescottjazz.com, are $170 for a Jazz Summit Patron Ticket, $120 for a Prescott Jazz Summit All Concert Ticket, $30-$50 for The Elks Theatre concert, $40-50 for the Ruth Street Theater evening concert, $30 for the Ruth Street Theater afternoon concert, $15 for The Club at Prescott Lakes afternoon concert, $15 for the wine tasting during the afternoon concert at The Club at Prescott Lakes and $55 for the Jazz Brunch at The Club at Prescott Lakes. The jam session is free with reservation.
Tickets are also available on Tuesday night, Aug. 25, at the Swing Shift Big Band concert on courthouse plaza.
For more information, visit www.prescottjazz.com.
Follow reporter Jason Wheeler on Twitter @PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2037 or at 928-642-5277.