4 reasons to attend Vail Jazz Gala | VailDaily.com

4 reasons to attend Vail Jazz Gala

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The annual Vail Jazz Gala lands at The Sebastian in Vail on Monday night, July 9. With the 10-week Vail Jazz Festival currently underway, culminating with the Vail Jazz Party taking place Aug. 30 to Sept. 3, here's four reasons to attend the nonprofit's biggest fundraiser of the year.

1. Dinner with a Brazilian musical performance

The annual Vail Jazz Gala is the organization's most significant fundraiser and also an opportunity to catch highly acclaimed vocalist Carol Bach-Y-Rita and indulge in a classy evening of cocktails, appetizers and a gourmet meal. In the words of Vail Jazz founder Howard Stone, Bach-Y-Rita (whose fascinating Catalan name is a reason enough to pique your interest) is "a singer who really presents the song, putting it out there in a way that totally draws you in." In one of the unique pairings that is characteristic of the Vail Jazz Festival's musical chemistry, the singer will be accompanied by long-time favorite pianist Bill Cunliffe along with Vail Jazz Workshop alumni, Hitomi Oba and Jon Challoner for a passionate program of "infectious Brazilian rhythms," including one-of-a-kind interpretations of the Brazilian Songbook, Bossa Nova, Samba and Choro.

2. Secure more free live music

In addition to the Vail Jazz Gala and the slew of ticketed live performances throughout the year, Vail Jazz delivers free performances from noon to 3 p.m. every Sunday all summer at the Vail Farmers' Market & Art Show, featuring a variety of regional artists ranging from energetic salsa ensembles to locally beloved piano-playing songstresses (Kathy Morrow). There's also local piano-drum duo BLT joined by a guest artist at 8 p.m. every Sunday at The Remedy in Vail's Four Seasons. Also, The Riverwalk Backyard Amphitheater in Edwards is alive with music every Friday evening throughout the summer with free regional artists whose styles go well beyond jazz — including funk, bluegrass, soul and R&B.

3. Help inspire the future of jazz

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Going against the myth that jazz is a style for old timers, young prodigies all over the country and world are still dedicating their free time — all of it — to creating and playing music. This summer's Vail Jazz at Vail Square lineup features a number of rising national and international stars younger than the age of 30. It also includes the winners of the prestigious Vail Jazz Workshop, a group of 12 teenagers selected from more than 140 applicants across the country, after a thoughtful and difficult vetting process. The workshop culminates with live performances during the Vail Jazz Labor Day Weekend Party.

Also, every year, local piano icon Tony Gulizia and fellow musical educators make the rounds through every elementary school in the valley for Jazz Goes to School, a four-part education program that guides fifth-graders through the history of American jazz, where and how it falls into the international music almanac. They learn not only how to play instruments but also master the 12-bar blues and are even writing their own songs by the final session. Gulizia and his team also provide an interactive crash course (a distinctly harmonious crash, that is) in jazz dynamics for younger children during the free Sunday morning Jammin' Jazz programs throughout July in Vail.

All told, Vail Jazz instills the art (and in many cases, the passion) of music to more than 2,000 young minds every year.

4. Partake in Vail Valley tradition

The Vail Jazz Festival has been part of the Vail Valley for 24 years, with beginnings of a one-off event in which Howard Stone invited a collection of prominent jazz musicians to convene together over Labor Day weekend. The summer festival has grown to include more than 70 performances throughout the year — many of which are free. The Vail Jazz Winter Series keeps things going throughout the year.

Vail Jazz Gala

When: Monday, July 9, 5:30 p.m.

Where: The Sebastian in Vail.

Vocalist Carol Bach-y-Rita is joined by pianist Bill Cunliffe and Vail Jazz Workshop alumni Jon Challoner and Hitomi Oba for a lively evening of Brazilian rhythms — Bossa nova, Samba, Choro and more. Cocktails, appetizers and silent auction begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. and performance at 8:30 p.m. Individual tickets are $250, and a table for eight is $2,000. All proceeds benefit Vail Jazz educational programs. For tickets or more information, visit vailjazz.org or call 970-479-6146.