VAIL - The 18th annual Vail Jazz Festival presents its marquis event, the Labor Day Weekend Vail Jazz Party beginning this evening at the final Jazz at Vail Square concert. The performance features the Clayton Brothers Sextet and the Vail Jazz All-Stars. The event gets underway at 6 p.m. in the Jazz Tent at The Arrabelle in Lionshead. A five-day celebration of jazz, the Vail Jazz Party features 30 hours of music at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort and in the Jazz Tent today through Monday.The Vail Jazz All-Stars showcase 12 of the nation's most gifted high school-aged musicians participating in the 10-day intensive Vail Jazz Workshop, a unique learning environment that has fostered nearly 200 jazz musicians in its 17-year history. Workshop director John Clayton, along with other members of the Clayton Brothers Sextet mentor the group in an intimate setting with an emphasis on creating and playing music by ear. The Vail Jazz All-Stars perform for free at 6 p.m. tonight and again on Saturday and Sunday. Both performances are held at noon in the Jazz Tent and both are complimentary.Taking the stage at 7:10 p.m. the Clayton Brothers Sextet is led by Grammy-winning bassist, composer, arranger and conductor, John Clayton and composer and saxophonist, Jeff Clayton. The family duo proves that sibling blood can carry an unimpeded flow of pure creativity. Founded originally as a quintet in 1977, the Grammy-nominated ensemble's paths would sometimes diverge, but the brothers continued to share a common musical vision that drew them back together. The brothers place a strong emphasis on sharing what they know and are dedicated jazz educators who travel extensively to participate in workshops and music clinics around the world. The Clayton Brothers have been named by Jazz Educators of the Year by JazzTimes. The Clayton Brothers Sextet is rounded out by in-demand jazz musicians Terell Stafford on trumpet, Bill Cunliffe on piano, Wycliffe Gordon on trombone and Lewis Nash on drums. All four instrumentalists additionally serving as instructors and mentors for the Vail Jazz All-Star protgs.In addition to tonight's performance, John Clayton will present a multimedia tribute to legendary bassist Ray Brown, who served as a mentor to Clayton himself before Brown's death in 2002. Tickets to the Jazz at Vail Square performance and the Labor Day Weekend Vail Jazz Party are available by calling 888-VAIL-JAM (888-824-5526). More information, in-depth artist information and schedules are available at www.vailjazz.org.
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