VAIL - The Vail Jazz Festival presents revered jazz veteran, Junior Mance with his trio for its second-to-last installment of the Jazz @ Vail Square concert series Thursday. The performance gets underway at 6 p.m. at The Arrabelle in Lionshead.
On any given Sunday in New York City, Junior Mance plays at Cafe Loup, an intimate spot in the heart of Greenwich Village that transforms one night a week into a jazz pub, presenting the much-respected artist with select hand-picked jazz musicians in accompaniment. The 83-year-old piano master has held court at Cafe Loup for the past six years, which is almost a stone's throw from the Manhattan apartment where Mance has resided for the past 37 years. He lives just down the block from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music where he taught for 23 years before retiring in 2011.
Mance's career began more than 50 years ago and he has led groups and shared the stage with such greats as Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Lockjaw Davis, Dinah Washington and Cannonball Adderley to name a few. (Adderley is credited with saving Mance's life by arranging an audition with the 36th Army Band before Mance's deployment to the Korean War as a soldier.)
In 1958, Mance joined up with Dizzy Gillespie, who eventually became a major mentor of Mance's.
"Dizzy was my music school," he said. "Once I joined his band, he said, 'Come by anytime,' so I used to walk to his house in Jackson Heights from where I lived in nearby East Elmhurst. ... Man, I was there almost every day, learning stuff about music, about the music business, about everything."
Mance is also an inductee of The International Jazz Hall of Fame.
Jazz @ Vail Square concerts start at 6 p.m. in the Jazz Tent at The Arrabelle in Vail Square. Tickets for preferred seating at the front of the tent are $20 and guarantee concertgoers a spot for the entirety of the performance. Free general admission seating at the back of tent is also available on a first-come, first-served basis.
In addition to the ticketed Thursday night performance, free jazz is offered on Sunday in Vail at Jazz @ The Market. This week will feature Tony G's Jam Session at noon at the market. For more information about the Vail Jazz Festival or the upcoming Labor Day Vail Jazz Party, call 888-824-5526 or visit www.vailjazz.org.