Bravo! Vail begins 26th season |

Bravo! Vail begins 26th season

Justin McCarty |
Justin Q. McCarty |

VAIL — The blues serenade broke through with soul on the opening night of Bravo! Vail’s 26th season Friday evening — supported by jazz giants Wycliffe Gordon, trombonist, and trumpeter Byron Stripling.

The Bravo! Vail Jazz Foundation compilation sounded off with “Hits From Golden Age of Jazz.” Pops conductor Jeff Tyzik led the Dallas Symphony Orchestra through every riveting riff — brass melodies triumphant on the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater stage.

“This is where we bring in the ‘I am walking down the street in New York, get out of my way kinda blues,’” Tyzik announced before a Miles Davis rendition. “This is an in-your-face kinda blues.”

Presented in partnership with the Vail Jazz Foundation, “Hits from the Golden Age of Jazz” showcased music made immortal by America’s jazz legends. The summer stage came alive with songs such as Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher,” Memphis Slim’s “Every Day I Have the Blues,” Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunisia,” and Louis Armstrong standards such as “Basin Street Blues,” as well as arrangements by Tyzik that showcase the orchestra’s lush dynamic sounds, precision and tight harmonies.

The music was moving and the weather pristine, as the crowds gathered after an afternoon shower at the open-air venue.

“I try to come every other season,” said local resident Darcy Buster. “It’s the greatest way to relax, and I just think it’s amazing that we have this venue. It’s such a small town, and it is unbelievable that we host this kind of music. We are so fortunate to have people who are willing to sponsor this event, year after year.”

Veteran Bravo! piano tuner Reid Schaefer, of Denver, said he has been tuning pianos for 22 years with Bravo! Vail.

“The main draws are the orchestras and these pronounced shows at the Gerry Ford,” Schaefer said. “They are really loved by people, and Bravo! brings in world-renowned orchestras — they are big time stuff.”

Schaefer said he thinks the future of Bravo! is definitely bright.

“The main thing I see is that the quality keeps getting better and better,” he said. “Bravo! keeps upping-the-ante year after year, and brings in all these great players. [Artistic director] Anne Marie McDermott is very innovative and has a nice, fresh approach—on top of being a great piano player and a wonderful person to work with.”

Tyzik said on stage that the blues is truly the foundation for all jazz, as well as pop music as we know it.

“‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Rock Around The Clock’ — everybody should realize that these came out of the blues,” Tyzik said.

Bravo! Vail’s 26th season runs from June 28 through Aug. 3, featuring residencies by the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

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