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For the week of Oct. 20, 1999 through Oct. 26, 1999

Jazz festival swings for 10th anniversary

o20cov2.jpg (20034 bytes)The Duke. The Count. Satchmo. Bix. Their spirits reigned supreme as the 10th annual Sun Valley Swing ‘n’ Dixie Jazz Jamboree played to jammed venues through this past weekend. More than 7,200 wildly enthusiastic jazz fans clapped and danced as some two dozen groups—from big bands to soloists, from this country and abroad—once again recreated a uniquely American art form.

"It’s thriving," said Dave Ruffner, trombonist and leader of the popular Fresno, Calif.-based Blue Street Jazz Band. He noted that more and more young people are "beginning to discover Dixieland." Younger musicians, too, are picking up on the beat, he said.

Maybe, he speculated, it’s because the music recalls an era "of fun…It reflects the times" of a carefree America.

In other words, declared the joyful musician, "it still rocks" and recalls "the wild times of the 20s."

Clockwise upper left: Bob Draga showed why he is one of the best on the "licorice stick" as he soloed at the Opera House; the Blue Street Jazz Band has been playing together for 16 years, prompting the musicians to say, "We’re like family;" the Forever Plaid group performed to a sellout audience Saturday night at the old Ore House building; satin smooth in their interpretation of Duke Ellington’s charts were vocalists Claudette Stone of Dick Johnson’s Mardi Gras Band, left, and Brady McKay Williams of the Wooden Nickel Jass Band; forever young on the sax was Fritzi Hartman, born almost nine decades ago, playing with the Joe Maccarillo trio at the Sun Valley Lodge.


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