Check this great lineup.
Eleven world-class bands from New York to California, including the Barnhart-Midiri Quartet, Ellis Island Boys and The Brain Cloud appearing for the first time in Evergreen.
The Fat Babies
After the way this band blew away audiences at last year’s Festival, a return invitation was virtually automatic. Their strange name derives from a Jazz Age expression: “Hotter than a fat baby.” And their sound delivers! The other strange thing about this high-flying group is that they’re all in their twenties and thirties – not a gray hair in sight! They started out in 2010 and have developed an enthusiastic following in the jazz-knowledgeable Windy City, attracting noticeably younger audiences. They’re also quickly being discovered by festivals around the country. When you hear them, you’ll be glad Evergreen made the discovery and is bringing them back. (www.thefatbabies.com)
Carl Sonny Leyland Trio
New Cuyama, CA
Talk about popular demand! One of the most requested groups ever to appear in the Festival, these three mega-talents deliver a range of boogie-woogie, barrelhouse and blues that is certain to have audiences rocking again this year. Each is a genuine star in today’s jazz galaxy, so it’s no surprise that when they get together, the music is over the top! If you’ve never heard them, you’re in for an enormous treat. It’s a genuine pleasure to welcome them back to Evergreen. (www.carlsonnyleyland.com)
Jeff Barnhart is one of the most versatile and entertaining musicians ever to appear in the Festival. His solo piano and vocals delight audiences, and his work with wife Anne on flute is always special. Now add the swingin’ Joe Midiri on reeds and Paul Midiri on percussion, and the result is a totally amazing quartet that is certain to make a huge impression in its Evergreen debut.(www.jeffbarnhart.com) (www.midiribros.com)
Joe Smith and the Spicy Pickles
They made their first appearance in the Festival last year, and audience response made it clear that they simply had to be brought back. Just organized in 2013, the Pickles have gained great popularity, not only among Denver-area swing dancers, but also with audiences from Boston to Seattle. In 2014, their “Movin’ Groovy” captured first place honors in the sixth annual Jazz Dance Film Festival. Their marvelous sound, authentic dress and unbridled energy promise to make them an audience favorite again this year. (www.joesmithandthespicypickles.com)
The Brain Cloud
The Brain Cloud is the brain-child of multi-instrumentalist Dennis Lichtman and vocalist Tamar Korn. The name is from a Bob Wills lyric: “My brain is cloudy, my soul is upside-down… When I get that low-down feeling, I know the blues must be someplace around.” The sound is an incredible take on Western Swing and a whole lot more. Tamar’s voice is reminiscent of an old 78 rpm record, and she brings lively spirit and improvisational freedom to each song – not to mention her jaw-dropping “muted trumpet” and “violin” vocal solos. The band has performed at Lincoln Center and festivals throughout the Northeast, and has enjoyed great success among the thriving swing dance scene in New York City and beyond. You’ll be glad they’ve made it to Evergreen. (www.braincloudwesternswing.com)
Tight Like That
Veteran patrons of the Festival will recognize that the Bogalusa Strutters are back with a new name but the same great sound! The group was originally created especially for the 2013 Festival and was such a big hit that they stayed together to perform throughout Colorado as well as in the 2014 and ‘15 Festivals. Each musician is a major talent, so it’s no surprise that when they’re together, it’s a memorable experience for all. We’re happy they’re joining us again. (www.tightlikethat.com)
Queen City Jazz Band with Wende Harston
This local treasure has been thrilling audiences on both sides of the Atlantic for well over 50 years. Their big New Orleans sound was born in a smoky roadhouse in Lakewood in 1958, and the band has grown to become one of the premier groups anywhere. The musicians have changed over the years, of course, but their commitment to quality continues unwavering. Likewise, Wende Harston is regarded as one of today’s standout jazz vocalists, reminding many of a modern-day Bessie Smith. The band and Wende will again be featured in the Sunday morning gospel service, an annual Festival highlight. It’s always SRO, so plan to get there early! (www.queencityjazzband.com)
Ellis Island Boys
This wonderful quartet makes its home at Disney California Adventure Park, performing regularly on the Paradise Garden bandstand. They’re all veteran top-talents and have truly impressive resumes. Led by Ralf Reynolds on washboard, the group features Nate Ketner on reeds, John Reynolds on guitar and banjo, and longtime Festival favorite Katie Cavera on bass as just “one of the boys.” You can also expect to hear vocals from all four of them, plus other assorted instruments and effects. Just like Disney, they’re all about old-fashioned fun. Enjoy!
With Anne Barnhart on flute and vocals and Jeff Barnhart on piano and vocals, this exceptional duo first performed to great acclaim at the prestigious Sun Valley Jazz Festival in 2001. Since then their schedule has been virtually non-stop, covering six of the seven continents and every imaginable event and venue. Their repertoire ranges from Ragtime to Swing to Broadway with creativity, musical anecdotes and humor making each set a special experience. They last appeared in Evergreen in 2014, and it is a great pleasure to welcome them back. (www.ivoryandgold.net)
Gypsy Swing Revue
Then: a smoky 1930s Paris jazz club featuring Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli and their distinctive violin/guitar gypsy jazz sound. Now: an intimate Festival venue featuring the Gypsy Swing Revue and their spot-on sound of those glorious nights in long-ago Paris. It’s not Dixieland. It’s not Swing. It’s a wonderfully different style that demonstrates again the amazing variety that is jazz. We’re sure that Django and Stephane would say “C’est bon!”
Cali-Co Ragtime Quartet
Jazz traces its roots back to Ragtime, and this outstanding group pays tribute to that historical genre. The wonderfully distinctive syncopated sound was popular in the early 1900s, and it even pre-dates recorded music. Sales of Ragtime sheet music were in the millions back then and included work by such legends as Scott Joplin, Ernest Hogan and even Jelly Roll Morton. Led by the multi-talented Marty Eggers on piano, the quartet features Marty’s wife Virginia Tichenor on drums and piano, Maurie Walker on banjo and Bill Clark on tuba. Historical bonus: Virginia’s father, Trebor Tichenor, was a founding member of the St. Louis Ragtimers in 1961, and they performed in the first Festival in 2001.
Spotlight On Youth
In addition to the above bands, there will be special sets featuring the University of Colorado -Denver Claim Jumpers, the Denver Jazz Club Youth All-Stars and student musicians from the Festival’s annual student clinics.