Swing on down to the Jones House this Friday, for an evening of jazz performances, featuring Swing Guitars and Todd Wright, starting at 5:00 p.m.
Swing Guitars will start the evening at 5:00 p.m., featuring Django Reinhardt-inspired gypsy jazz guitar playing of Andy Page, Jay Brown, and James Schaller, along with bass player Ben McPheron. Reinhardt popularized this style of guitar-led swing music in the 1930s and 1940s, but the music has retained a limited, but devoted, group of practitioners and fans over the decades. There are a host of festivals, events, and recordings dedicated to Reinhardt and this style of jazz guitar.
“The guys in Swing Guitars are all really well versed and diverse musicians, but they came together to form this group to tackle this music specifically,” says concert organizer Mark Freed. Page, who teaches music in the jazz program at Appalachian State University, has even written pieces in Reinhardt’s style, which the band often performs. “They are so passionate about the style, and I think they really wanted a project to devote to swing guitar, instead of dabbling with it in their other respective projects.”
McPheron plays bass with numerous local groups, including Shane Chalke’s BE Jazz Band, Hilltop Riot, and Analog Poets; Brown plays with The Lazybirds and writes and performs as a solo artists; and Page plays with Bafoodus, and also the Todd Wright.
Saxophonist Todd Wright will follow Swing Guitars, performing with Page on guitar and Rick Cline on drums. Wright has been dubbed the High Country’s ambassador of jazz. Wright moved to Boone in the 1980s to get his masters degree in music at Appalachian State. It was around that time he discovered his passion for jazz, and by 1990 he was teaching jazz at the university and hasn’t looked back. Wright and Page are the core jazz music faculty and have helped sustain the High Country jazz scene with regular gigs at Casa Rustica on Thursday nights and Canyons forSunday brunch.
“It’s always great to have Todd and Andy on the Jones House porch for our Friday concerts,” says Freed. “It helps remind everyone that jazz is very much alive and a part of the High Country scene.”
The Summer Concerts at the Jones House are free, and patrons are encouraged to bring their own chair or blanket to sit under the giant maple trees in the front lawn of the community center. Performances take place every Friday at 5:00 p.m. at the Jones House rain or shine. In extreme inclement weather, the concerts are moved inside the Jones House to the Mazie Jones Gallery, which can seat the first 40 patrons on a first-come-first-serve basis. The Jones House is located at 604 W. King St. in downtown Boone.
The 2016 Summer Concerts at the Jones House are produced by The Town of Boone’s Cultural Resources Department and sponsored by the Downtown Boone Development Association, Mast General Store, M-Prints, ECRS, Rosemary Horowitz, Melanie’s Food Fantasy, and Stick Boy Bread Company. For more information about the series, including a complete schedule of performances, please visit the Jones House online at www.joneshouse.org or call 828.268.6280.