Originally Published: December 15, 2016 8:41 p.m.
For the 22nd year in a row, Milt Cannon will be hosting a special event in celebration of his birthday, the Prescott Jazz Society and the Canon Academy of Performing Arts.
The event takes place Sunday, Dec. 18, at the Tis Art Center and Gallery, 105 S. Cortez St., in Prescott. It will feature a dinner, live jazz performances and dancing. The doors open at 3 p.m., dinner starts at 4 p.m. and the show/dance party goes from 5 to 7 p.m.
The featured musicians will be vocalists Sherry Roberson and Don Cunningham, drummer Leslie Daniels, Hammond organist Royce Murray and saxophonist Milt Cannon.
“The dynamic grouping of these world-class award-winning musicians/entertainers will amaze and soothe even the hardest-hearted non-fan of jazz,” Canon said.
Cunningham has performed around the world with some of the greats of the jazz genre and currently lives in Las Vegas.
The vocal scat master has now performed at Milt’s annual celebration four or five times and said he believes in what Milt has been trying to do in the Prescott area all of these years, which is to keep true jazz alive.
“[Milt’s] goal is to spread jazz and love to as many people as he can,” Cunningham said.
Having been in the business for 65 years, Cunningham said people like himself and Milt are some of the very few traditional jazz performers of their time left.
“Most all of the guys that I knew and played with are gone,” Cunningham said. “We’re talking about Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and people like that.”
In other words, it might be worth catching a taste of what they have to offer before they’re gone as well, Cunningham said.
This year’s event will have a new feature as well.
The Prescott Jazz Society has invited 20 military couples as guests of honor.
This is an extension of the society’s Redshirtfriday/Hero’s Honor Project, which supports veterans through rallies, redshirt circle of friend’s parties and sale of Redshirtfriday T-shirts.
“It only seemed logical that veterans would be invited as guests of honor,” Cannon said.
To make a reservation for the event, call 928-237-7908. The price to attend is $35 and includes dinner and the show. Tickets also will be available at the door.