Robert Bush 8:35 a.m., May 25
It is traditional for families and loved ones to gather on Thanksgiving. At the same time, music lovers from all across this great country and from abroad will gather at the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center in Mission Valley for the annual San Diego Jazz Fest. For over 30 years, America's Finest City Dixieland Jazz Society has presented internationally recognized musicians and bands at the Festival. This year, over 20 bands will play traditional Dixieland jazz for listeners and dancers, from Wednesday Nov. 21 through Sunday Nov. 25. The style of music developed in New Orleans in the early 20th century is not the only music you will hear during the five days of the festival. The bands will play a variety of styles including Ragtime, Dixieland, Swing, Boogie Woogie and Rockabilly.
The ragtime era is represented by The Heliotrope Ragtime Orchestra of San Diego. This group will entertain the audience with delightful music from the second decade of the 20th century -- one-steps, tangos, rags, waltzes and other danceable melodies.
Another featured performer at the festival is master clarinetist Dave Bennett, a disciple of Benny Goodman. San Diegoan Sue Palmer ("The Queen of Boogie Woogie") will be appearing with her and her Motel Swing Orchestra. Sue and her band have many fans among blues lovers and swing dancers. The High Society Jazz Band is another San Diego group that performs regularly at the festival. They are an entertaining group with a large repertoire, which ranges from Dixieland to Latin and even Rock 'n' Roll.
Several young and talented musicians have been performing at this festival for years, helping to preserve and perpetuate traditional jazz. This new generation of artists is welcomed enthusiastically by the festival patrons. Chloe Feoranzo's appearance on stage, playing her clarinet and sax, stirs up stormy applause, as well the Mission Bay High School Preservationists and the Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band - a very creative and talented group from Los Osos, CA.
The last day of the festival (Sunday, Nov. 25) begins with Gospel music performed by the Night Blooming Jazzmen, an internationally renowned group.
Those who attend the San Diego Jazz Fest for the first time, will probably feel as though they can't wait for next year’s festival -- to savor again the atmosphere of joy and hospitality offered by America's Finest City Dixieland Jazz Society.