Welcome to Jazz About Town! Monthly installments will be covering a wide variety of jazz related topics. We plan to keep you informed about the music’s colorful history, the lives of its important creators, composers and performers and information about recordings. We will periodically list local and regional jazz events with special emphasis on our own nationally acclaimed Roswell Jazz Festival and its student educational component, the RJF School of Jazz.
April is national Jazz Appreciation Month. In celebration of this occasion, Pecos Valley Jazz and Arts Festival, Inc., dba Roswell Jazz Festival, has scheduled an exciting fundraising concert. The concert is scheduled to be held for 2 p.m. On April 29 at the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, 409 East College Boulevard. Doors open at 1 p.m.
Featured concert artist will be jazz pianist Carl Sonny Leyland from Los Angeles. Leyland, a great traditional jazz pianist and showman, was a sensation at the 2017 Roswell Jazz Festival last October.
Leyland was born and raised on the south doast of England, growing up close to the city of Southampton. As a child, he was drawn to the American music which he heard on LP records his father would play. It was here that he developed an appreciation for Dixieland jazz, the rock & roll of the 1950s and the country music of Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams. At age 15, Leyland discovered boogie woogie when he heard a school friend working through a written arrangement of a tune called “JD’s Boogie Woogie.” Captivated by the sound of the repeating eight-to-the-bar left hand pattern, Leyland was inspired to go to the piano and begin on a path that would become his life’s purpose. Initially influenced by boogie woogie greats Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson and Meade “Lux” Lewis, Leyland went on to fully explore the piano blues genre, becoming an authority on early and obscure styles such as those played by Cow Cow Davenport, Little Brother Montgomery, Montana Taylor and Speckled Red, to name a few.
A silent auction will be offered with proceeds going to help support the funding for the 2018 Roswell Jazz Festival, which will be held Oct. 17 to 21. Tax deductible donations of auction items as well as funding gifts are sincerely appreciated.
The concert is being sponsored in part by Xcel Energy and festival patrons Mr. and Mrs. Mike Wilson.
Seating is general admission and tickets will be on sale beginning April 1 at the Anderson Museum. For more information, call Michael Francis, RJF artistic director, at 505 359-4876 or visit roswelljazz.org.