36th annual Paradise Valley Jazz Party on March 23-24
will bring acclaimed musicians from across the nation
The 36th annual Paradise Valley Jazz Party, one of the longest running jazz events in the world, will feature top-level musicians from across the nation on Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24, to perform at the Scottsdale Hilton Resort in Scottsdale, AZ.
The weekend party was started in 1978 by Don Z. Miller and his late wife, Sue. During the past 35 years, the events have featured hundreds of the most legendary jazz artists in the world. The format features 30- and 45-minutes sets featuring an “A-team” of national and regional jazz musicians in various combinations of organized jam sessions, said Miller. Seating is at reserved cocktail tables in the Sonoran Ballroom of the Scottsdale Hilton Resort, 6333 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale AZ 85032. Tickets are $100 for both days, or $55 per daily session. For more information and hotel reservations, go to paradisevalleyjazz.com or call 480-948-7993.
Performing Saturday night and all of Sunday will be the trio of pianist Shelly Berg, bassist John Clayton and drummer Akira Tana, saxophonist Houston Person, trumpeter Warren Vaché and guitarist Bruce Forman. The Saturday sessions also will feature trombonist Harry Watters, flutist Joe Corral, guitarist Stan Sorenson and pianist Beth Lederman. The Sunday sets from 1 to 6 p.m. will open with the Arizona State University Jazz Band, and then feature trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, pianist Nick Manson, drummers John Lewis, bassists Dwight Kilian and Chris Finet, and 18-year-old multi-instrumentalist Max Goldschmid, who won three awards in Downbeat magazine’s 2012 student jazz musicians competition.
The party’s annual tradition of celebrating a guest of honor continues, and this year it is Kocour, director of the jazz studies program at Arizona State University since 2004. He will join the honor roster that has included Joe Williams, Milt Hinton. Pee Wee Erwin, Clark Terry, Al Grey, Ray Brown, Herb Ellis and many more.
Kocour is a solo pianist and accompanist who formerly headed the jazz studies program at Northwestern University in Illinois. He has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Harris, James Moody, Eddie Daniels, Randy Brecker, Benny Golson, Ira Sullivan, Carl Fontana, Dewey Redman, Lew Tabackin, and the Chicago Symphony. His recorded work as a studio musician includes soundtracks to two major motion pictures, and numerous television commercials. He has eight works published by Warner Brothers, which include collections of original compositions and arrangements for piano. He has performed at venues around the world and has been a guest on Marian McPartland's internationally syndicated NPR program "Piano Jazz." An ASU associate professor, Kocour was awarded the Herberger College of Fine Arts Distinguished Teacher Award for the academic year 2004-2005.
Previous parties have featured performances by stars such as vocalist-pianist Diana Krall and singer Joe Williams; congero Poncho Sanchez; trumpeters Roy Eldridge, Clark Terry and Red Rodney; saxophonists Benny Carter, Zoot Sims and Bud Shank; pianists-vocalists Jay “Hootie” McShann and Dave Frishberg; drummers Bobby Rosengarden and Grady Tate; bassists Milt Hinton and Major Holley; guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli; pianist Dick Hyman; and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans.