This past weekend the Prescott Jazz Summit kept aficionados of the form content for three days. I stopped downtown to visit with an old friend, Joel Goldenthal, who is the executive director of Jazz in Az. He performs as Joel Robin and has played piano behind many newcomers who have become stalwarts. I reminded him that I had seen Margo and Francine Reed perform for probably the first time in Arizona. It was at a big outdoor jazz festival at the Town and Country Shopping Center in Phoenix. The Reeds had just moved to Phoenix from Chicago and came out of the audience in blue jean cutoffs to perform with the Armand Boatman band. They tore the place up! Joel said "that was my first gig in the Valley, too!"
Later he said he met Timothy Johnson, who opened Timothy's Restaurant. Johnson asked Joel what he thought about bringing in some live music. Joel, always looking for gigs, brought in Francine Reed and the place became a reknowned jazz club. Francine, incidentally, is more commonly known these days for performing with Lyle Lovett's band.
I didn't get to hear much of the jazz this weekend but what I heard was spectacular. Mike Vax, who fronted the Stan Kenton bend for years, did a great job in putting it together and bringing in some great artists. Toni Tennille was the headliner but Margo and Blaise Lantana and Joel's wife Delphine Cortez and Dennis Rowland were on hand for the festival, as well as a number of very talented musicians. The BRD and her Beau took in one of the final sessions at the Hassayampa Hotel and she said the jazz was fabulous.
Next year I may have to shell out the money to attend myself.