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1:20 PM Fri, Sept. 21st

‘Happy music’ coming to the Elks with jazz tribute

Essentials

Where: Prescott Elks Theatre

When: Aug. 26, 7 p.m.

Tickets: $25, $22, and $18 for seniors and 18 and under

Contact: 928-777-1370

Online: prescottelkstheater.com

The Elks Theatre sees a lot of tribute acts, but they’re nearly all classic rock shows.

That’ll change on Friday, Aug. 26, when Mike Vax brings his Great American Jazz Band to the stage.

“Of course, they’ve had so many tributes to rock bands, and we thought, in keeping with the kind of thing they’ve been doing this would be prefect,” Vax said.

Vax, who lived in New Orleans in the 1970s, and led a Dixieland band, has “a real connection with that music.”

He said he’s heard people in Prescott asking for jazz, and decided to stage a jazz-tribute show he called “A Tribute to Louis Armstrong, Al Hirt and the Legacy of New Orleans,” at the Elks.

If you’re not a New Orleans jazz aficionado, you might not realize how many songs you’ll still recognize in this repertoire.

Expect to hear well-known songs like “Hello, Dolly,” “What a Wonderful World,” “Basin Street Blues,” and “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans.”

“Dixieland, or traditional jazz, whichever you want to call it, is such happy music,” Vax said. “People that haven’t heard it before, they just fall in love with it.”

There will be special guest artists: Count Basie vocalist Dennis Rowland, and the vocal duo from Los Angeles, Scott Whitfield and Ginger Berglund.

The Great American Jazz Band and is made up of local favorites: Jack Petersen on guitar and piano, Dave Russell on saxophone and clarinet, Larry Kantor on drums, Selwyn Reams on bass, Scott Whitfield on trombone, and, of course, Vax on trumpet, flugelhorn and cornet.

“Sometimes, people think jazz is far-out, post-bebop stuff, and this music is not far-out,” Vax said, “It’s music that everybody can understand, and it’s music that people will have heard and remember.”

That, he said, is New Orleans jazz: happy, catchy tunes.