Vail Jazz goes swingin’ at The Ritz on March 30 | VailDaily.com

Vail Jazz goes swingin’ at The Ritz on March 30

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Ah, the 1950s — poodle skirts, big bands and unabashed swing dancing in ballrooms. Blast back to the best of the big band era on Friday, March 30, at The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch with Swing! Swing! Swing!

Pianist Tony Gulizia heads up the evening of live music and dancing, performing big band classics from Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, to name just a few.

"It's going to be a great night of American jazz dance music from the big band era," Gulizia said. "I get a lot of comments from folks saying there is no place to go dance in the valley, especially swing dance. You'd be surprised how often couples jump up to dance in a restaurant or bar. They'll have all kinds of space for this event. It'll be a fun night."

In anticipation, local musician Kathy Morrow has been shining her dancing shoes along with some of her students at Avon Recreation Center, where she co-instructs a ballroom dance class of East and West Coast swing, foxtrot, waltz, rumba and cha cha with Scott Hopkins.

“I get a lot of comments from folks saying there is no place to go dance in the valley, especially swing dance. ... They’ll have all kinds of space for this event. It’ll be a fun night.”Tony GuliziaLocal musician

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"We never get the chance to dance to big band music," Morrow said. "I think I was born 50 years too late, but I dream of being part of that scene. It's kind of a bygone era and not easy to bring back, since ballrooms are hard to come by. I love to move, love to dance. Tony can really, really swing. This is a great opportunity."

High-energy set

In addition to Gulizia on piano, the sextet includes his brother Joey Gulizia on drums, Mike Gurciullo on trumpet, Andy Hall on bass, Michael Pujado on percussion and Roger Neumann on saxophone.

The high-energy set list will span the gamut of big band and swing favorites from the 1920s through today. Don't be surprised to hear classics that beg for the Charleston and tunes from jazz giants like Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima and more.

Swing! Swing! Swing! marks the 20th anniversary of Vail Jazz Goes to School, a Vail Jazz educational program that enlightens fourth- and fifth-graders about the art and history of jazz music as well as providing an opportunity to actually play and create music.

Since its inception 20 years ago, Tony Gulizia and members of his sextet have served as faculty for Vail Jazz Goes to School, imparting musical wisdom to roughly 22,000 local boys and girls. The program has served as a springboard for musical studies and professional careers for numerous students.

"I'll bump into kids who are adults now. They'll say, 'I remember you from Vail Jazz Goes to School. You really opened my eyes to music and to how diverse jazz is,'" Gulizia said.

If you go …

What: Swing! Swing! Swing!

Where: The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch.

When: Friday, March 30, 8 p.m.

Cost: $40, VIP tickets are $75.

More information: Free parking and shuttle service is provided. Call 970-434-1168 for reservations. Visit http://www.vailjazz.org.