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All-Stars play jazz standards

It’s not governor’s mansion, but this Tuesday, the Spotted Frog Bookstore will do.

Last September, the Park City High School Jazz All-Star Band members played before Utah’s first lady, Mary Kaye Huntsman, as part of the school’s Varsity Jazz Ensemble, the first high school group to win the coveted Governor’s Mansion Artist Award, which honors outstanding achievement in the Utah arts.

The ensemble qualified for statewide competition at a 10-band regional festival last Wednesday.

The director of the group, David S. Halliday, also teaches the Park City Jazz Foundation’s Jazz Hang with his father, professor David Roy Halliday, a jazz historian. This Tuesday, the Hallidays will interrupt the regular structure of their educational appreciation series to present the award-winning musicians to at the Spotted Frog.

Halliday says the group will play jazz standards from "The Girl from Ipanema," the song made famous by Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz, to Frank Sinatra’s "Night and Day."

Halliday is a professional saxophone player seeking a master’s degree in musical composition at the University of Utah. He began teaching at the high school in August under a one-year contract to fill in for Chris Taylor, who is on sabbatical this year.

Halliday stresses that he handpicked the All-Star Band members from the ensemble, based on not only talent, but on qualities he deems essential in the music industry.

"Before I came here, I was making my living as a musician and a producer and I can tell you much of what makes or breaks your success as a musician is not really music related, it’s personality related are you on time? Do you get along with people?" he claims. "Part of the reason I selected these students to be All-Stars is that they are exceptional people."

The performance will feature sophomore Ben Corrigan on drums and his brother Jack, a junior, on bass, junior Craig Carazo on keyboards, and senior Charlie Carr on trumpet.

Jazz music is complex, Halliday says, but he calls his All-Star Band "wise beyond their years."

The origins of the music is the fusion of the aural tradition West Africans brought with them to the United States at the turn of the 20th century and the intricate harmonies of European classical music, he explained. An understanding of these roots of the genre is key to fully appreciating the music, Halliday says.

"Classical musicians improvised, but it was unlike the West African tradition where nothing was written down," he explained. "The uniqueness of jazz is that you’ve got the complex harmony, but you also have this aural tradition which relies on the character in the sounds of the instruments."

Jazz Hang is part of the Park City Jazz Foundation’s mission to bring more music education into communities, in addition to live music, according to the foundation’s development director Julie Hooker.

"We’re famous for putting on our [summer] festival, but along with the festival, we have these education programs which are truly extraordinary," she stressed. "Jazz does things that other musical education can’t do for kids."

As an English teacher at Park City’s Winter School and a long-time elementary school teacher, Hooker notes the improvisational techniques inherent in jazz, once mastered, can also be applied to other academic fields.

"When you play jazz music, there’s not just one answer," she explained. "When kids figure out that there’s more than one right answer, they will bring that knowledge to the science classroom, the English classroom and the social science classroom Once kids are able to improvise with a musical instrument, they can improvise across the curriculum."

Hooker expects the performance Tuesday will draw a crowd of 30, including many from the Jazz Foundation.

Spotted Frog Bookstore owner Karen Dallett says the Jazz Hang series is slowly picking up and she welcomes the sound of live music to her store.

"Like anything it’s been slow to get started, and so much here gets going word of mouth," she notes. "But we’re really hoping that they continue with it add more of a musical component."

Jazz Hang meets on the last Tuesday of each month at The Spotted Frog Bookstore. This Tuesday’s special concert is a free event open to the public.

The series continues next month, with the history of jazz in the 1920s. For details about pricing for the regularly scheduled Jazz Hang series, visit http://www.parkcityjazz.org .


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