The year 2007 marked the beginning of In-School Jazz Programs for the Arizona Classic Jazz Society. The programs, usually directed by the society's vice-president, bandleader Joe Hopkins, also have included members of Wally's Warehouse Waifs who performed at San Tan Elementary, Higley High School, Coronado Elementary, Power Ranch Elementary, Cortena Elementary, Williamsfield High School and the Higley Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 5 and 6, and at Weinberg Elementary, Hartford Sylvia Encinas Elementary and Hancock Elementary on Nov. 7 and 8. All the schools are in the Chandler area. These highly successful programs were also sponsored by the San Marcos Resort where the band had performed for the Arizona Jazz Society's 2007 Festival. Our friends at the ACJS are to be sincerely congratulated for renewing these school programs through the Bev Moyer Memorial Education Fund.
In the meantime, jazz continues at the San Marcos Resort on a regular basis with the Joe Hopkins Trio at Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The brunch price is $19.95.
The Good Time Jazz Band under the direction of Cheryl Thurston, has been the Sunday feature at the San Tan Brewing Company at 8 South San Marcos Place, Chandler, from 5-8 p.m. Cheryl, with her smaller group, continues to appear at LJ's Pizza, 1028 E. Main St., Mesa, on Wednesday afternoon/evenings, 4:30-7 p.m.
The Joe Hopkins Quartet still performs regularly at the Chances Are Restaurant, 7570 E. 6th. Ave., Scottsdale, from 6-10 p.m. on Sundays.
And, the Swingtime Jazz Quartet is at Scottsdale's American Legion #44, 7145 E. 2nd St., (one block west of Scottsdale Road} from 6-9 p.m. This group has been there for more than four years.
The Grand Queen of Ragtime, Mimi Blais, will be in the Valley of the Sun on Feb. 23-24 for Ragtyme-Jazztyme Society concerts at Jack and Phyllis Wells' home on Saturday and at the West Valley Arts Society on Sunday. Both locations are open to the public, but reservations are required for the Wells' home concert and are suggested for the West Valley Concert. Call (480) 348-3702 or (480) 951-8339 to make reservations and get directions. These concerts mark Mimi's first visit to our Valley and record attendances are expected.
We're happy to report that traditional jazz and ragtime activities are reviving in the Tucson area. Meg Graf is scheduled for a private party in January, then comes to Phoenix for the Ragtyme-Jazztyme Society's Gathering on Jan. 20. Mimi Blais will be in Green Valley the week after her Valley of the Sun engagements. For details, contact the Tucson Jazz Society offices at (520) 903-1265 or.www.tucsonjazz.org.
The Chandler Center for the Arts (4800-782-2680) will feature the Duke Ellington Orchestra in concert on March 15 at 8 p.m. and a 1940s' musical, "In The Mood," will be presented March 29 at 8 p.m. You can purchase tickets online at www.ChandlerCenter.org. The Center has weekly performances, many of which will be of interest to those who prefer early American music, jazz or otherwise. Use your phone or computer to obtain full schedules.
We'll soon be reporting on Sherry Petta, a North Scottsdale resident who was recently named "Jazz Artist of the Year" at the 17th Annual Los Angeles Music Awards on Nov. 28, 2007, where she performed her own original song, "Waiting." We're waiting for her 2008 schedule and will follow up with dates and places where we all can see and hear her talents.
Please send your news to me at Rlynn@extremezone.com. And, till next time, keep jazzin'!