Jazz festival celebrates Count Basie
Carson City will host a three-day jazz festival celebrating the life and work of Count Basie that will include big-band concerts, jazz combos, a piano summit, jam sessions, talks and a special exhibit on Count Basie and the role of jazz in American life. Count Basie would have turned 100 on Saturday.
“This project started with the idea of the Mile High Jazz Band presenting a single concert on Basie’s 100th birthday,” said David Bugli, event co-producer. “When we realized how much jazz talent there is in the area, we expanded the scope to include two more days, more events, more groups, and more soloists. By offering all events free to the public we hope to educate everyone about the rich heritage of jazz and encourage them to partake of these riches.”
“Basie at 100” performances by, among others, the Reno Jazz Orchestra and the Mile High Jazz Band will take place on Carson City’s mobile stage Friday through Sunday. The stage will be set up on Minnesota Street at the Brewery Arts Center. The street will close to vehicle traffic to accommodate the pedestrians, musicians and audience.
The Reno Jazz Orchestra plays Friday from 7:30-9:30 p.m. There will be concerts Saturday from noon to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday 1-6 p.m.
Count Basie was incredibly influential in the jazz world during the swing era. His direct style of playing piano was highly focused on the blues, relying on simple melodic phrases. In 1936 Basie founded the Count Basie Orchestra, which featured players like Lester Young and Jo Jones. The Count Basie Orchestra became one of the most popular jazz ensembles in the world, with global hits like “One O’clock Jump” and “Jumpin’ at the Woodside.” His legacy can still be heard today in modern jazz.
“Basie at 100” is presented by the Mile High Jazz Band Association and the Brewery Arts Center. Sponsors include the Musicians Performance Fund, Carson City Redevelopment Authority, For the Love of Jazz, Maytan Music Centers and the KUNR. The festival is funded in part by grants from the Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
All events are free and open to the public. In case of rain the events will be moved indoors to the Brewery Arts Center Performance Hall, 511 W. King Street.
For more information call (775) 687-7410 or 1-800-Nevada-1, or visit http://www.visitcarsoncity.com.