The schedule for the 2009 Cherokee Jazz and Blues Festival was recently announced. Starting on Friday, Jan. 2 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. the Northwest Iowa Musicians will be kicking off the festival by playing at The Copper Cup.
The Pub Crawls will from 9 p.m. to midnight with The Eric Klotz Trio at Corvo's, The David Zollo Trio will be performing at the Cherokee Bowl's Blue Room Lounge, Something Underground will be performing at The Other Place, and Tom Gary Blues Band will be performing at The Gathering Place.
The festival will continue on Saturday, Jan. 3 with the Jam Session from noon to 3 p.m. at The Gathering Place, and The David Zollo Trio will be hosting this event. Local musicians are welcome to sign up for this event.
The Cherokee Jazz and Blues Festival Main Concert will be held at Western Iowa Tech Community College's Conference Center starting at 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, with this year's headliner Kelley Hunt, blues pianist with opening act The Erick Hovey Band.
Pub Crawls on Saturday are from 9 p.m. to midnight and the Erick Hovey Band will be performing at the VFW Club, Something Underground will be performing at the Cherokee Bowl's Blue Room Lounge, The David Zollo Trio will be performing at The Other Place, and Eric Klotz Trio will be at The Gathering Place.
On Sunday, Jan 4 the Brunch Buffet will begin at 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Gathering Place, featuring once again, Kelley Hunt.
The Jim Oatts Quintet Student Music Clinic will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Cherokee Middle School on Friday, Jan. 16. This event is free to area high school band directors and their high school music students. Due to space and time limitations, the event is only accepting the first five schools who indicate they want to participate in the music clinic.
Info about the music clinic contact Paul McEntaffer, Band director,
Washington High School, 600 W. Bluff St. Cherokee, IA 51012 or call 225-6755. Tickets for the Cherokee Jazz and Blues Festival are available at Cherokee Chamber of Commerce, 225-6414; The Copper Cup, 225-5287; and State Farm Insurance, 225-5747.
As stated earlier, Kelley Hunt will be this year's festival's featured act. In some ways Roots R&B/Americana singer/songwriter/piano player/guitarist Kelley Hunt is a rarity and a challenge to the music industry's penchant for easy artist definitions -- a woman who has muscled her way onto the scene on her own terms with an identity steeped in blues/roots/Gospel traditions and a refreshing originality. She makes music with its righteous roots intact that also crosses boundaries, has an open-minded, exploratory attitude and takes on social and political issues. Together with a commanding, passionate stage presence and superior skills as a vocalist, piano player and songwriter, she has earned the respect of critics and fans across North America and Europe.
Born in Kansas City, Hunt's love for her craft was fine tuned listening to early blues, R&B, roots rock, jazz and Gospel influences -- artists like Ruth Brown, Mahalia Jackson, Billie Holiday, Ann Peebles, Ray Charles, Dinah Washington, Aretha Franklin, Charles Brown, Wanda Jackson and a cross section of the New Orleans/St. Louis/KC piano traditions of Professor Longhair, Toots Washington, Johnnie Johnson and Kansas City masters Jay McShann and Mary Lou Williams among others.
Before that came the sound of her mother singing jazz and blues - her first musical memories - and the influence of her New Orleans Gospel singer grandmother. Reminders of these very traditional influences are evident in Kelley's live performances and recordings but the lyrics, soul and passion are all her own. Her career path so far has been a story of fierce independence, incredible will, unassailable cred as a blistering live performer and hard-won accomplishment.
Hunt's world has not been short on substantive, impressive critical praise, including a fresh swell of kudos for the new generation of music unveiled on her new 88 RECORDS release MERCY (May '08 EER0804, her 4th commercial release): "Kelley Hunt resides among those bluesy, soulful piano players who write great songs." "...the main attraction here is Hunt, whose rich, soulful voice is an instrument in and of itself, with a toughness that shines on cuts like "You Got To Be The Vessel." "Her piano playing and songwriting also function at the highest levels." "Emerald City" is a brilliant political statement…" -VINTAGE GUITAR. "… Her fourth release "MERCY" shifts the focus to her songwriting skills and immense voice." "...a superb live performer, immediately drawing you to the power of her music and her voice... " -ELMORE. "Surprises don't often crop up on the well-trodden blues circuit. So welcome Kelley Hunt. This Kansan is a full-blown phenomenon: Powerhouse singer, hardboogieing pianist, polished songwriter…" -MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE. "…the freshest slant on classic R&B you're likely to hear these days. She's a tough woman who makes a hip and burly sound." - WESTWORD Denver.