Summer will swing into action when the free concert series Jazz in the Park kicks off its season Sunday, June 21, from 6-8 p.m. in Ketchum's Rotary Park. The riverside park is on Warm Springs Road across from the Wood River Community YMCA.
Jazz in the Park is somewhat of a follow-up to an Elkhorn concert series called Jazz on the Green, which ended about nine years ago. Will Caldwell, organizer for Ketch'em Alive, another summer outdoor concert series that takes place at Forest Service Park in Ketchum on Tuesdays, took over Jazz in the Park at the request of the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber and Visitors Bureau.
Caldwell said Jazz in the Park attracts a fairly mellow crowd.
"It is a different atmosphere there," he said. "It is more of a listening, as opposed to a dancing, attitude."
The series will start Sunday with the Paul Tillotson Trio, a regular performer at Sun Valley Resort. Caldwell said Tillotson, who plays piano and sings, is a "consummate entertainer, eternal comic and Sun Valley favorite." Tillotson will be joined by Jeff Rew on bass and Josh Kelly on drums.
"I will play jolly, happy jazz music," Tillotson said. "Some horns might make some appearance for [our] animal song because the honkers are such a bunch of animals."
Tillotson said he plans to include some Brazilian percussion with children and will have a box of instruments for kids to play.
"I am like the Pied Piper," he said. "Bring the kids and we'll play."
Later jazz performers include the Sun Valley Latin Jazz Ensemble as well as Alan Pennay and Cheryl Morell.
"Most of the performers are familiar to the locals," Caldwell said. "The outdoor setting is different. It allows them to relax and connect with the music differently than they are used to, say, in the Duchin Room."
A very popular group based in Boise, Kevin Kirk's Onomatopoeia, will also return.
"They're very liberal with the jazz format and fuse it with classical and new-age influences," Caldwell said. "They're very popular."
The series will end July 26 with the Idaho Falls Jazz Big Band, a 17-player ensemble that is making its debut in the Wood River Valley.
This year's concert series is sponsored by the Idaho Jazz Society and Dayle Fowler, along with help from the chamber of commerce.
"I am really excited for this summer's lineup of great musicians," Fowler said. "This is the type of music I love, and I'm thrilled to be able to share it with the community."
Reporter Della Sentilles contributed to this report.
Sabina Dana Plasse: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jazz in the Park
· Paul Tillotson Trio
· Sun Valley Latin Jazz Ensemble
· John Northrup's Jazz Rangers
· Allan Pennay and Cheryl Morell
· Kevin Kirk & Onomatopoeia
Jazz in the Park takes place from 6-8 p.m. at Rotary Park in Ketchum. Picnics are encouraged as well as low-back chairs.