Investing in improvisation |

Investing in improvisation

Carolyn Pope
Gary ThorntonRuby Stigers and Cathy Stone.

It’s time to mentally shift from Chopin and Beethoven to Gillespie and Brubeck.

The 14th Vail Jazz Festival is coming to town for the Labor Day Weekend Party, presenting 24 hours of jazz over four days at the Vail Cascade.

It’s the passion of Howard and Cathy Stone, and this year will once again be a truly outstanding collection for anyone who loves the music form. The festival kicks off Friday, Aug. 29 and wraps up on Monday, Sept. 1. Of course, the beloved “Gospel Prayer Meetin'” is at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

The lineup is both impressive and too long to list, so you’ll want to check out the Web site and buy tickets soon.

On July 30, Howard and Cathy hosted “An Evening with Curtis Stigers” to celebrate the 14th annual summer of jazz and raise funds. The evening commenced with a cocktail party at the Arrabelle Hotel on a fabulous patio overlooking Vail Mountain. The crowd dressed jazzy and snazzy, and included many jazz enthusiasts such as two generations of Smileys: Phil and Verna Mae with son David and wife Rachel, Holly and D’Arcy Cole, Lynette Dallas, Doe Browning and local musicians Justin Allison, Walter Scott and Allan Finney with wife Nancy Gage. Other supporters included Becky Hernreich and Rob Le Vine with his father David and his wife Evelyn Pinney, board member Andrea Glass of Alpine Bank and her husband Mike Glass, and Allie Coppeak. Following dinner, Curtis Stigers took the stage and lit up the room with his lyrical vocals and masterful work on the saxophone.

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“Stigers was chosen for the evening because he epitomizes today’s jazz,” said Howard Stone.

Stigers’ career took off in the ’80s when he achieved success as a pop star. Later, his heart brought him back to his jazz roots where he has developed a unique and compelling style that blends traditional jazz with today’s music. Stigers is recognized throughout Europe; he returned from Montreux Jazz Festival, the preeminent European jazz festival, to perform in Vail. For more information on the Vail Jazz Festival or the Vail Jazz Foundation’s educational programs, visit or call (970)479-6146.

Mia Vlaar contributed to this article.

Click on photo galleries at to see more photos from this event.

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