Vacaville Jazz Festival returns after 3 years – The Vacaville Reporter

jazz is back

While the genre itself has never died out – it is performed at events and in schools as frequently today as it was in its heyday in the mid-20th century – there has been a notable absence in recent years. The Vacaville Jazz Festival, hosted by the Vacaville Jazz Society, has been canceled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not this year. Once again, the Nut Tree Plaza Breezeway and other venues will be filled with free-flowing polyrhythms and the sounds of saxophones, pianos, double basses and other instruments as the festival marks its return in September.

VJS President Ken Stout said it feels good to be able to get the event back on its feet after a three-year hiatus.

“We tried every year but kept getting postponed because of the pandemic,” he said. “Last year we came very close but had to pull out at the last minute but we are all looking forward to making sure it moves forward this time. Were excited.”

Student bands, military ensembles, veteran artists and even some vocal ensembles will lure audiences with a variety of genres including bebop, Latin jazz, funk, gospel, swing, blues and more.

The festival will be preceded by a fundraiser on September 11th at Måkse Restaurant at 555 Main St., where people can hear jazz music from 1pm to 4pm by the likes of Delbert Bump and the American River College’s Angels Vocal Ensemble. Proceeds benefit the Jazz Festival and VJS Jazz Camp and reservations can be made at Makserestaurant.com.

The festival officially kicks off on September 16th in Town Square Plaza with performances by the Alive Music Combo from 6pm to 7pm and Jazz Students from the Live Music Center from 7pm to 9:30pm

After that, concertgoers can head to Måkse for the first of three nightly after-hours jam sessions, this time featuring James Malone and Brette Alana Stout, Ken’s daughter, from 6pm to 9pm. These sessions, the elder Stout said, will also give other jazz musicians a chance to take part in the main entertainment on Måkse’s new stage.

“Any musician is welcome to sing along,” he said. “People have the opportunity to play with the rhythm section and meet other musicians.”

The next day, Nut Tree hosts festivities, with several sets highlighting the musical talents of the local youth. On the main stage between China Stix and the Jelly Belly Store, Vanden High School Jazz Ensemble performs from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., Vacaville High School Jazz Ensemble performs from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Nacho and Dollar Menu will perform from 1:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., Delbert Bumps NEVO from 2:45 p.m. to 3:55 p.m., the Vacaville Jazz Society’s Jazz Camp All Stars from 5:15 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Alive Music Orchestra from 6:10 p.m. to 8:10 p.m

The Alive Music Orchestra also pays homage to Don Kidder and Nick U’Ren, two longtime residents of Vacaville, retired Air Force lieutenant colonels and VJS founders who died in October. With his sons, Kidder formed the barbershop quartet Kidder and Sons Inc. and they remained active for 50 years, even appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1971. These sons – Aaron, Scott and Todd – will perform a song in tribute to their father.

“I played with Don at the Fiesta (Days) Parade for many, many years,” Stout said. “We really miss him. He’s really been an inspiration to many of us in creating this Vacaville Jazz Festival.”

Stout also said U’Ren was “instrumental in making this jazz festival a reality”. Ron George and Tina Benedict will also perform during the tribute.

The Peet’s Coffee Terrace will feature performances by the Darlyn Pearl Group from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., the Dixon High School Jazz Band from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., and a performance to be determined by a Vacaville Unified school district ensemble from 2:45 p.m until 3:45 p.m

Meanwhile, the band They Might Be Girls will perform from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Mike Williams & Friends from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., and the Daycee Haven Quartet from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., all near Panera Bread.

Over on the second main stage near the Nut Tree Railroad, the Vallejo Community Ensemble will be performing from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., Will C. Wood High School’s Sylvan Singers from 10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., ARC’s Angels Vocal Ensemble from 12:15 p.m to 1:00 p.m. and Brette Alana and Friends from 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. The J. Harrison B Band, led by Stan Johnson, and the 2nd Planet Band, led by Clarence Williams, will lead the Nut Tree’s Saturday performances from 3:55 p.m. to 5:10 p.m. and 8:10 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. respectively .

Bob Nadler & Friends will lead the after hour jam session in Måkse from 6pm to 9pm

On Sunday there will be a tribute to the military with performances by Bob Nadler & Friends at 11am, the Sac City Little Big Band at 1pm and the Alive Music Orchestra at 3pm at the Nut Tree Breezeway. There will also be a tribute to prisoners of war and missing soldiers hosted by Pastor Frank Salamone of Cornerstone Community Church, who is also leader of the Alive Music Orchestra. This begins at 5:30 p.m. and will be followed by a performance by the VJS Jazz Camp All-Stars.

The grand finale will be performed by the Commanders Jazz Ensemble, a subset of Travis Air Force Base’s Band of the Golden West, conducted by Senior Airman Nattie McKay.

Sunday’s after hour jam session will be conducted by Delbert Bump from 4pm to 7pm

According to Stout, people have missed getting out into the community for the past two years, and the jazz festival will be an opportunity to enjoy music performed primarily by local residents. Since VJS is a non-profit organization, he said everyone donates their time to make the festival a reality.

“When you see these musicians out there, they don’t get paid,” he said. “They all donate their time. That’s the difference between us and other jazz festivals that make more profit. We are a non-profit organization and everyone donates their time to make this happen.”

Next year, Stout said, the festival will go beyond jazz to include other genres like rock, folk, orchestra and more.

“We’re going to have a whole range of different styles next year,” he said. “It’s going to be a really great change.”

The festival is free. Nut Tree Plaza is located at 1661 E. Monte Vista Ave. For more information or ways to donate, visit Vacajazzsociety.org/?page_id=2843.

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