Throughout this month, Scottsdale has been alive with the sights and sounds of jazz.
To kick off Jazz Appreciation Month, the International Jazz Day AZ Foundation hosted a sold-out evening of jazz at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, where New Orleans-based band The Nayo Jones Experience performed as part of the Center’s On The Lawn! series.
And to round out the month, the foundation will host the Scottsdale Jazz Festival and fundraiser on April 30 at the Hotel Valley Ho.
Taking place on International Jazz Day, the outdoor event boasts a seated dinner and live entertainment by guitarist Mark Whitfield and the Jesse McGuire Trio, as well as Neamen Lyles and Nayo Jones, who happens to be the daughter of foundation founder and Executive Director William “Doc” Jones.
International Jazz Day and month were initiated by the Smithsonian, The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and world-renowned jazz musician Herbie Hancock.
In 2011, Doc Jones led efforts to host the first official International Jazz Day AZ Festival in Phoenix in 2011 and since then, festivals have expanded to include Scottsdale and Mesa.
That same year, the International Jazz Day AZ Foundation nonprofit was founded with a goal of promoting the virtues of jazz in education, economic development and cultural enrichment.
Gov. Doug Ducey then declared April as Arizona Jazz Appreciation Month in 2017.
As part of the Scottsdale Jazz Festival event, money is raised for the International Jazz Day AZ Foundation, with proceeds redistributed to local community organizations that support and develop arts and jazz music programs for youth at risk.
Those groups include the Academy of Excellence, the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center and Doc’s after-school and summer music program, the NextStudent Academy.
The Next Student Academy gives students from kindergarten through college access to music instruments, music lessons, demonstrations by professional musicians, vocal lessons and opportunities to perform on stage.
Doc has brought music programs to more than 10 schools in Maricopa County and provided free music lessons to more than 5,000 students.
Scottsdale Jazz Festival tickets start at $175 for reserved seating, which includes an assigned table seating on the lawn, three drinks and food.
Premier seating, which costs $250 per ticket, is completely sold out. Those tickets included table seating near the stage, five drinks and food.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts recently released an entire slate of upcoming intimate jazz performances.
On Oct. 17, Arturo O’Farrill and The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra will perform with special guests, Villalobos Brothers.
On Nov. 4, saxophonist Branford Marsalis will take the stage, performing both original compositions and jazz and popular classics.
The René Marie Quintet, which combines elements of folk, R&B, classical and country, performs on Nov. 19.
Grammy Award-winning, 18-piece ensemble New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO), joined by acclaimed vocalist and Grammy-nominated artist Cyrille Aimée, then kicks off 2022 with a performance on Jan. 16.
On March 6, Jazz at Lincoln Center presents up-and-coming musicians in “Songs We Love.”
“Bessie, Billie & Nina: Pioneering Women of Jazz” takes place March 26, features three dynamic vocalists backed by an all-female band, and celebrates three iconic women in jazz, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, and Nina Simone.
And finally, Jazz composer-pianist Vijay Iyer takes the stage May 21, 2022; and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars, featuring 14-time Grammy-award winning artist Paquito D’Rivera, perform music of the ‘40s and ‘50s on May 26.
“There truly is something for everyone and even more jazz to be discovered at the Center,” the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts states in a press release.
Tickets for the Center’s jazz events are now on sale.