While the High Country might be most well-known for bluegrass and old-time mountain music, there is no shortage of other musical genres abound in the region. Friday night will feature some of the area’s best jazz artists, as the 2017 Summer Concerts at the Jones House continues its series with the annual Jazzfest, including performances by Swing Guitars, Shane Chalke and BE Jazz, and Todd Wright.
“We have had a lot of fun featuring a dedicated jazz evening for the past several years,” says concert organizer, Mark Freed. “It is not the only night we have jazz on the porch, but it is one week that we dedicate solely to jazz.”
Starting the festivities at 5:00 p.m. will be Swing Guitars, featuring the gypsy-inspired, Django Reinhardt style guitar playing of Andy Page, Jim Schaller, and Jay Brown, along with bass player Ben McPheron. The group came together about a decade ago as an outlet for the musicians to play the specific style and repertoire made famous by the legendary Reinhardt. While it is considered part of the jazz genre, this swing guitar style is a particular niche that requires other similarly-trained musicians to play.
“I don’t think there are a ton of opportunities for musicians who play this style to get together with others, and it is certainly a special opportunity for music fans in the High Country to get an earful of this stuff,” Freed says. “And, while all of these guys are regulars in the local live music scene, they only get together under the Swing Guitars project on limited occasions.”
Shane Chalke and BE Jazz will follow Swing Guitars, bringing their unique blend of area jazz enthusiasts, led by Chalke on trumpet. Chalke moved to the area several years ago, and he immediately started to create a jazz scene near his home in Banner Elk. Through regular weekly performances, Shane developed a cadre of local jazz musicians, and he has been keeping the scene going in Banner Elk and around the area. While the group features a rotating cast of musicians, some of the regular participants include McPheron on bass, Jim Fleri on keyboard, and Rob Falvo on vibraphones.
Todd Wright will wrap up the evening with his saxophone-led trio. Wright is the Director of Jazz Studies at Appalachian State University, and he has been one of the leading proponents of jazz in the High Country for more than two decades. Wright is frequently scene performing in the area with fellow ASU jazz instructor, Andy Page, including a Sunday jazz brunch the two have been playing for many years.
“Todd and Andy are the heart and soul of jazz in the Boone area, and we are always thankful to have these talented guys on the Jones House porch,” Freed adds.
The Summer Concerts at the Jones House are free and open to the public. Concerts are held every Friday in June, July, and August, starting at 5:00 p.m., and they are held rain or shine. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own chairs or blankets to enjoy the music from the Jones House lawn. Alcoholic beverages are permitted on the Jones House property, if patrons are of legal age and bring their own beverages. No open containers are allowed beyond the Jones House property. Friendly pets are permitted on leash.
The 2017 Summer Concerts at the Jones House sponsors include the Downtown Boone Development Association, Mast General Store, MPrints, Melanie’s, Stick Boy Bread Co, Rosemary Horowitz, and Burton Moomaw Acupuncture.
For more information about the series, including a complete schedule, please visit www.joneshouse.org or call 828.268.6280.