[Dixielandjazz] Arizona Classic Jazz Festival

Steve Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Nov 9 16:10:03 PST 2006

Strike up the band for jazz
Geri Koeppel The Arizona Republic Nov. 9, 2006 12:00 AM

Downtown Chandler will be the place to tap your toes or kick up your heels
this weekend as the 17th annual Arizona Classic Jazz Festival rolls into

Bands will strike up Dixieland jazz and swing music at 6 tonight at the
Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort. It runs for four days through the grand
finale at 4 p.m. Sunday and includes 15 acts. "This year we have the lineup
that people look at and go, 'Wow, I have to go to that,' " organizer Helen
Daley said. 
Virginia Keck of Chandler is one fan who has her ticket. "It's just such a
happy place to be," she said. "It's a positive energy feeling when you go. .
. . You can go venue to venue, you can pick and choose who you want to hear
and when you want to hear (them). It's not like a concert where you sit and
listen straight through."

Paul Pietrzak of Gilbert, a jazz fan who moved here from Chicago, has been
to the festival each of the 11 years he's lived in the Valley.
"I look forward to the festival every year," he said.

Another local who will be there is cartoonist Bil Keane (The Family Circus).
He draws the program's cover each year, and the illustration is made into
T-shirts to sell.

"He loves Dixieland jazz," Daley said. "He kind of melds into the crowd and
nobody knows he's there."

People also come from around the nation. Most of the advance tickets sold
were to out-of-state residents, Daley said, and the resort has no more rooms

Many people have favorite bands they follow around to different festivals,
such as Titan Hot Seven. Only one local band - 52nd Street - is on the
schedule, and it also has a national fan base.
"You don't have any 'let's fill a slot' bands," Daley said. "They're all
headliners on their own."

In addition to die-hard jazz fans, this is the place to be for Lindy
Hoppers, a younger set of dancers who will go until 4 a.m., Daley said.
Catch some of the bands for free on the front patio of the resort Friday
through Sunday from late morning until mid-afternoon (times vary; check the
Web site at www.azclassicjazz.org for a full schedule).

People can listen for a while to see if they like it, Daley said

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