Nearing the end of its international tour, Three Rivers’ own High Sierra Jazz Band is back home to gear up for a holiday performance at the Veterans Memorial Building in Three Rivers on December 21.
The High Sierra Jazz Band was formed in 1976 and has seen only a few changes in its long history. Of the six original band members, four still remain active members in the band.
Led by Pieter Meijers and his clarinet, the band’s hard-driving West Coast sound is bolstered by the clean alpine air of Three Rivers. The band’s continued success is a combination of experience, a book full of fine tunes and Meijers’ dedicated leadership.
After gaining national recognition with the release of its first album in 1977, newspapers started praising the band’s sound. According to George Brand, editor of the San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune at the time, “Three Rivers, a hamlet in the Sierra Nevada foothills, is not a likely spot in which to find a Dixieland jazz group whose two-beat rhythm is as freewheeling as a rollercoaster on greased rails, yet as precise as a mathematician’s mind, but that’s where you’ll find the High Sierra Jazz Band in a fashion that compares favorably with jazz hall sounds in San Francisco, Chicago or New Orleans.”
Since then, the band has been rated by an American Rag readers’ poll as the second most popular traditional jazz band ever, just behind the Turk Murphy Band and ahead of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The band’s live performances and 27 albums have brought the art of traditional jazz to music enthusiasts all over the world.
The holiday performance is open to the public and starts at 2pm. Tickets are $10 at the door of the Veterans Memorial Building in Three Rivers. For more information, call 561-4549.