All that jazz |

All that jazz

Ted AlvarezVail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

Tony Gulizia knows jazz – and this Friday, after years of musical service to the valley, the Eagle Valley county commissioners along with the Vail Town Council will declare Aug. 31 Tony Gulizia day.”I’m so honored they’re honoring me,” he says. “I’m looking forward to it and doing the opening night festivities for the Vail Jazz Festival. I’ve got friends coming from many states, and I’m honored as can be, I’ll tell you that. Everybody that is coming (to the festival) is amazing.” Tony Gulizia and Friends kick off the festival this Friday (his day) at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa ballroom at 8 p.m., but the valleys’ own music man was kind enough to guide us through some highlights of the 13-year strong jazz showcase. But he’s the first to admit you’d be a fool to miss anything.”Everyone is world-class, no doubt about that,” he says. “Even the musicians who play everywhere around the world love the intimate setting at the Cascade. They’ve done a remarkable job bringing this quality of talent in a fabulous jazz setting.”The Clayton Brothers QuintetFri. 10:20 p.m.; Sun. 3:20 p.m.Saxophonist Jeff Clayton, bassist John Clayton, pianist Bill Cunliffe and trumpeter Terell Stafford round out a powerhouse jazz quartet with several Grammy nominations between them.”They’re our resident jazz educators that’ve been coming for years; they run the educational program, and they’re are a fabulous group to see live,” Gulizia says. “They hung with us at Kelly Liken, and they are all not only fabulous musicians and educators but the nicest people to meet. Seeing the Clayton Brothers is always a highlight.”

Tony MonacoSat. 2:20 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.; Mon. 3:30 p.m.Tony Monaco specializes in playing jazz organ, and his disc “Master Chops T” climbed into the top 10 on national jazz charts. He was voted a top player in 2005, 2006 and 2007 Downbeat Critics’ and Readers’ polls.”He’s a fabulous Hammond B-3 player,” Gulizia says. “He’s back by popular demand and many requests, including me. He’s a fabulous live performer and the live stuff he’ll do will blow your mind.”Taylor Eigsti TrioFri. 9:10 p.m.; Sat. noon and midnight; Mon. noonThe Grammy-nominated Taylor Eigsti is only 22, but he stands like a giant in the field of jazz piano by incorporating elements of post-bop, funk and soul. He currently performs with his trio and the famous Brubeck Brothers quartet.”How can I forget him – I’m kind of scared s—less around this unbelievable 22-year-old player,” Gulizia says. “That cat – when you hear him play you’d swear he’s twice as old to have those chops and ideas. Man, can he play. He’ll get things started Friday night after we play; I’m a little nervous. I’m glad I’m not following him.”

Paul BollenbackSat. 2:20 p.m. and midnight; Sun. 10:25 p.m.; Mon. 2:20 p.m. and 4:40 p.m.The jazz and rock-bred Bollenback gained a taste for the exotic while growing up in New Delhi. This eclecticism is reflected in his influences, which include Carlos Santana, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Kenny Burrell, Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and Jimi Hendrix.”Paul Bollenback is just a fabulous player,” Gulizia says. “Seeing a guitarist as varied and interesting as him in such an intimate setting is just going to be fantastic.”Matt Wilson and Arts and CraftsSun. 2:10 p.m.; Sun. 11:35 p.m.; Mon. 2:20 p.m. and 4:40 p.m.Star drummer Matt Wilson gained massive success both on his own and with his own quartet and Arts and Crafts. For the last four years, Wilson has been voted #1 Rising Star Drummer by the Downbeat International Critics Poll.”Matt Wilson’s a superb drummer, and now he’s bringing his ensemble,” Gulizia says. “From what I’ve heard just on their recordings, it should be a definite highlight.”

Supreme spontaneityGulizia can pick highlights when forced, but he admits the biggest reason not to miss any show is the chance of a spontaneous jazz-jam. With such a varied range of top-tier jazz talent all in one place, almost any artist might show up to another’s set just to throw ideas around and improvise in the spirit of jazz.”One night the Clayton Brothers will hold it down by themselves, the next night it’ll be the Claytons with Matt Wilson and then Tony Monaco will show up,” he says. “Everyone will get into jam situations, and that’s so exciting to see. The spontaneity is supreme.”Arts & Entertainment writer Ted Alvarez can be reached at 748-2939 or Daily, Vail, Colorado

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