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Jazz and Blues Festival ready to rock Jan. 8-10

Monday, November 30, 2009

Popular Cherokee 'party' celebrates 10th Anniversary

The plans for the 10th annual Cherokee Jazz and Blues Festival have now been set, with the immensely-popular event taking place on Friday Jan. 8 through Sun. Jan. 10, 2010.

And this year will feature the return, after a few years' absence, of one of the favorite entertainers from past Cherokee Festivals, New York City trumpeter Mark Pender and his band. The gifted, colorful Pender plays trumpet and guitar for the Max Weinberg 7, the house band for the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien on NBC.

The main events at this year's Festival will include Pub Crawls on Friday and Saturday nights, a Jam Session on Saturday afternoon, and concerts on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

The Student Music Clinic, to be conducted again this year by the Jim Oatts Quintet, will be at the Cherokee Middle School on Friday, January 15 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Festival musicians this year include The Mark Pender Band, Kevin Mahogany Trio, Kelly Richey Band, The Hatchlings Band, Glenn Alexander Trio, Something Underground, Northwest Iowa Musicians, Buffalo Ridge Band and Friends, and the Cherokee Washington High School Jazz Band.

You can also check things out at the newly-refurbished website, www.cherokeejazzbluesfestival.com.

The headliner for the Saturday evening concert will once again be Mark Pender and his Mark Pender Band. This will be the sixth time that Mark Pender has performed in the Festival. Pender is originally from Kansas City, Missouri, as were most of the musicians who performed here in the first Cherokee Jazz Festival in January, 1992.

Among those Kansas City musicians in January, 1992 was Kevin Mahogany, a jazz vocalist still early in his career. Mahogany sang beautifully throughout that first Festival, and organizers have tried to get him to return, but he was off to other places as he pursued his career. He will be the featured headliner of the Sunday afternoon concert at the Cherokee Community Center from 4-6 p.m. Sunday, January 10, 2010.

In addition to the two headliners, other special performers include the Cherokee Washington High School Jazz Band led by Paul McEntaffer, Band Director. The students are looking forward to being the very first high school jazz band to be the opening act for Pender's Saturday night concert at Western Iowa Tech Community College.

Also new to the Festival will be Kelly Richey and her Kelly Richey Band. Kelly Richey has been described by one critic as "Steve Ray Vaughn trapped in a woman's body with Janis Joplin screaming to get out." Kelly Richey is a blues-based rock virtuoso. Her proficiency with the guitar has earned her

comparisons to Jimi Hendrix and a place on stage with blues legends Albert King and Lonnie Mack.

Built on unforgettable and explosive live performances, the Kelly Richey Band has developed an almost cult-like following. In addition to Kelly Richey, the band includes Shane Frye on drums and Jimmy Valdez on bass, each

accomplished musicians in their own right. The Kelly Richey Band tours extensively, bringing their electric live experience to venues throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Also new to the Festival is the group named Buffalo Ridge Band & Friends. The band includes musicians who have performed in previous Festivals, and some who will be making their Festival debut.

Leading the group are Jimmy Davis (guitar and vocals), Steve Alingh (keyboards), Don Demers (bass), and Dave Hinners (Drums). During the pub crawl Saturday night, these talented and experienced musicians will be joined onstage by musician friends who will perform along with the band.

Kicking off the 10th Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival will again be the Northwest Iowa Musicians, an extraordinarily talented group of musicians who will perform during the Friday night early shift pub crawl at the Copper Cup from 7-10 p.m. This group includes veteran CJBF jazz musicians Eddie Dunn (bass), Ray Guntren (guitar), Joey Gulizia (drums), Steve Smith (keyboards), Pete Hittle (trumpet), Dave Napier (flute, saxophone), and Jeff Guntren (saxophone).

Returning to the Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival on the occasion of the 10th Annual are Jaisson Taylor and The Hatchlings Band, a group of outstanding blues and jazz musicians from Kansas City, Missouri. Jaisson and The Hatchlings Band are very popular with audiences in the Festival, and will again perform in the Friday and Saturday night pub crawls, and will also host the popular jam session at The Gathering Place Saturday afternoon in the traditional Kansas City style that encourages participation by all musicians present.

Glenn Alexander, amazing New York City guitar player, will perform during the Friday night pub crawl as the leader of a trio, and the next night he will perform as a member of the Mark Pender Band during the Saturday night concert!

In addition to his many performances around the U.S., Alexander is Head of Jazz Studies at Sarah Lawrence College, and also serves on the faculty at the New School University in New York City.

Another treat for area music fans is the return of Something Underground to the Festival. The Denver, Colorado-based trio of Seth and Josh Larson and Trevor Mariotti combines rock, funk, blues, reggae, and folk music while making their unique sound. The group has become very popular with Festival audiences, and will energize any venue in which they perform!

For the second year in a row, the Music Clinic will occur one week after the Festival. The Music Clinic will be at Cherokee Middle School on Friday, January 15, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The instructors will be Jim Oatts and colleagues from Des Moines and Central Iowa.

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