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Vail Jazz Foundation celebrates music in the Labor Day Weekend Party

Wren Wertin

Howard Stone, Vail Jazz Foundation (VJF) founder, said Vail’s jazz festival is able to lure various jazz gods to the Rockies because of its reputation for being committed to perpetuating the art form of jazz. They come because they truly love the music and want to share it. Not only will there be one hard-hitting act after another on the bandstand, there also will be the opportunity to experience jazz the way the music’s pioneers did – in the jam session. Several artists will be performing with each other improv-style over the four-day festival.”You can look at a jam session as a conversation, an exchange of ideas,” Stone said.The VJF has created a program that showcases many types of jazz, including straight-ahead, swing and gospel, among others.Opening the festivities Friday night is the classic Marlena Shaw. She made her debut at Harlem’s Apollo theater when she was 10, but her mother wouldn’t let her hit the road and tour with her trumpeter uncle, Jimmy Burgess. She persevered in a music career. The first female vocalist ever signed by Blue Note Records, she can swing from the energetic blues to mellow ballads.The Clayton Brothers Quintet also is scheduled to perform. They’ve been in town all week teaching at the Vail Jazz Workshop, tailored for 12 of the best high school-aged jazz musicians in the country. John Clayton has been nominated for a Grammy three times. He began studying the bass at 13, and at 19 was the bassist for Henry Mancini’s series, “The Mancini Generaion.” In between performing with his quintet and teaching, he’s also working with Diana Krall.Monty Alexander will play with his trio, including Vail Jazz Workshop alumnus Brandon Owens. Born and raised in Jamaica, Alexander plays both boogie woogie and reggae. He likes tailoring jazz standards to the calypso style.Tickets are still available for all sessions, though they often sell out on the day of the performance. For more information, visit http://www.vailjazz.org or call toll-free (888) VAIL JAM.Schedule of EventsThe 8th Annual Labor Day Weekend PartyAugust 30 – September 2Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & SpaFriday, August 30Opening Evening Session (#1)8:00 p.m. – Marlena Shaw and Her Trio9:05 p.m. – Clayton Brothers Quintet10:10 p.m. – Monty Alexander TrioSaturday, August 31Afternoon Session (#2)1:00 p.m. – Benny Green – Russel Malone Duo2:05 p.m. – Marlena Shaw and Her Trio3:10 p.m. – Clayton Brothers Quintet, with special guest Russell Malone4:15 p.m. – The Vail JAzz All-StarsEvening Session (#3)8:00 p.m. – Monty Alexander Trio9:05 p.m. – Bill Cunliffe, solo piano9:35 p.m. – Benny Green, solo piano10:15 p.m. – Wycliffe Gorden Sextet11:20 p.m. – Rhoda Scott QuartetSunday, September 1Morning Session (#4)10:00 a.m. – Gospel Prayer Meetin’Afternoon Session (#5)1:00 p.m. – Monty Alexander Trio2:05 p.m. – Wycliffe Gorden Sextet3:10 p.m. – Marlena Shaw and Her Trio4:15 p.m. – The Vail Jazz All-StarsEvening Session (#6)8:00 p.m. – Benny Green – Russell Malone Duo with special guests Terell Stafford, John Clayton and Lewis Nash9:05 p.m. – Rhoda Scott Quartet with special guest Victor Goines10:10 p.m. – Monty Alexander Trio11:15 p.m. – Straight Ahead – Wycliffe Gordon, Victor Goines, Marcus Printup, Terell Stafford, Benny Green, Greg Williams and Lewis NashMonday, September 2Afternoon Session (#7)12:00 p.m. – Benny Green – Russell Malone duo12:55 p.m. – Clayton Brothers Quintet with special guests Marcus Printup and Red Holloway1:50 p.m. – Marlena Shaw and Her Trio2:45 p.m. – Rhoda Scott Quartet with special guest Russell Malone3:40 p.m. – Monty Alexander Trio with special guest John Clayton4:35 p.m. – Wycliffe Gorden Sextet with special guests Jeff Clayton and Melvin Sparks


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