Originally Published: August 24, 2017 9:24 p.m.
With a nod to the days when “Big Bands were king,” the 17th annual Prescott Jazz Summit will breathe new life into the iconic sounds of Glenn Miller, Count Basie and others.
The three-day festival will take place Friday, Aug. 25, through Sunday, Aug. 27, and will take in varied venues, including downtown Prescott’s Elks Theatre, Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, the Club at Prescott Lakes, and Murphy’s Restaurant.
A packed schedule of performances and workshops will lead up to the Saturday, Aug. 26, evening gala, which will feature a 19-piece Big Band, performing “From Glenn Miller to Count Basie and Beyond” on the stage of the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center.
California-based jazz vocalist and trombonist Scott Whitfield will perform along with his wife, singer Ginger Berglund. Whitfield sees the Saturday night performance as a chance to combine the classic with the new.
“When jazz was the popular music of the day, the Big Bands were king,” said Whitfield, noting that it was the music from that time that attracted many of today’s performers to jazz.
Still, Whitfield said the performance would not be merely revisiting the past. “We’re going to breathe new life into it,” he said. “We’ll be cooking up our own flavors, and it’ll be a fun time.”
Michael Grady, marketing and communications specialist for Yavapai College, says the Saturday-night gala would bring out “all the big guns” among the festival’s jazz performers. “We’re excited to have them,” he said, noting that the gala would kick off the Performing Arts Center’s fall schedule.
The performance will run from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $29 and $39, and $10 for students. “There are still good seats available,” Grady said. The Performing Arts Center is located at 1100 E. Sheldon, Prescott. Tickets are available on the center’s website, ycpac.com.
Along with the Aug. 26 evening gala and daytime workshops, other Summit features include:
• Friday, Aug. 25 – “An Evening at the Roxy – Featuring the music of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and All That Jazz” at the Elks Theatre, 117 E. Gurley St. #15, Prescott. Mike Vax, Summit co-founder and festival director, said the performance would pay tribute to the Roxy Theater, where many of the jazz greats performed through the years. Tickets – $35 for opera boxes; $25 for adults; $22 for seniors over 65; and $18 for 18 and younger – are available at prescottelkstheater.com.
• Aug. 27 – Afternoon concert and lunch buffet at the Club at Prescott Lakes, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 for lunch buffet and concert, or $25 for concert only, and are available at prescottjazz.com, or by calling Kristy at 928-277-1576. Also on Aug. 27, an evening jam session will take place at Murphy’s from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – no charge, but diners are asked to make reservations with Murphy’s directly, 928-445-4044.
More information is available on the Jazz Summit’s website at prescottjazz.com.