Batten down the hatches, shut the windows, and open your eyes and ears because it's time for the sixth annual Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival sure to rock this town like never before.
With headliner Mark Pender and his band, who have officially adopted Cherokee as their home away from home, the 2006 Festival promises to be simply superb with new and returning acts during its three-day run Friday through Sunday, January 6-8.
The sweet sounding action begins on Friday, January 6, with a music clinic at Cherokee Middle School conducted by the Jim Oatts Sextet, which includes members of the Des Moines Big Band. The clinic will be conducted completely by the Jim Oatts Sextet, a group of music educators who also perform their music professionally in public. This is the first appearance in Cherokee for Oatts and his band.
The music clinic is free to area high school band directors and their high school music students. Due to space and time limitations, just the first seven schools that respond to participating in the clinic will be accepted.
The always popular Pub Crawls will occur in downtown taverns from 9p.m. to midnight on Friday night, with the Jim Oatts Sextet at the Bullseye Sports Lounge, the Bobby Carson Band at the Brightside Lounge, the Cherokee Jam Band at the VFW Club, and the Northwest Iowa Musicians at the Copper Cup, a non-smoking environment, from 7-10 p.m.
The popular Jam Session featuring all musicians will be hosted from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 7, in "The Gathering Place," the street-level great room in the Cherokee Institute of Performing Arts (CIPA) building at 207 W. Main St.
Admission to the Jam Session is $5 per person for non-musicians (general public).
The Cherokee Jazz & Blues Fesitval centerpiece - the big Saturday night concert - will be held in the Western Iowa Tech Community College Conference Center, with the Blue Band performing from 6:30-7:30 p.m., followed by headliner The Mark Pender Band from 7:30-9 p.m.
Pender, the trumpet player with the Max Weinberg 7, house band of the Late Night With Conan O'Brien Show on NBC, will perform with acclaimed guitarist Glenn Alexander, drummer non-pareil Mo Roberts, and new bass man Paul Frazier, who replaces Kevin Jenkins.
The Saturday concert will be followed by more Pub Crawls, with The Blue Band appearing at the Bullseye Sports Lounge, Blues Messengers playing at the Brightside Lounge, the Hooterville All Stars at Jobies Pastime Lounge, and the Bobby Carson Band at the VFW Club.
The concert admission is $15 per person for the general public. The Pub Crawls each night are $10 per person, a one-time fee that entitles patrons to all Pub Crawl venues that night.
Pender, Alexander, Roberts and Frazier also will participate in the Saturday Pub Crawls, free-lancing their way from venue to venue.
A new entry on the Festival schedule this year is an "Elegant Supper & Jazz Music" event from 6-9 p.m. on Sunday, January 8, featuring the Mark Pender Band. The event will be held in "Macree Hall," the rear wing of the former Garfield Elementary Building at 516 W. Willow St.
Attending this event is by reservation only, and they can be made by calling 225-9908.
Repeat performers this year include the Mark Pender Band from New York City, the Bobby Carson Band from Kansas City, the Hooterville All Stars from the Iowa Lakes area, and the Northwest Iowa Musicians from Sioux City and Northwest Iowa.
Newcomers this year include the Blue Band from Cedar Falls and Des Moines, the Blues Messengers from Lincoln, Neb., and the Jim Oatts Sextet from des Moines.
Some of the Iowa musicians appearing in the 2006 Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival in the heart of Dowtown Cherokee's historic Entertainment & Cultural District have been inducted into the Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Iowa Jazz Hall of Fame, and/or the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame.
Don't miss this January musical extravaganza sure to shorten the long Iowa winter and add some toe-tapping spice to your lives.