For more than 40 years, the High Sierra Jazz Band has been going strong, playing locally and abroad and hosting the Three Rivers JazzAffair. This year, the band and Sierra Traditional Jazz Club members want to make it a family affair, the weekend of April 10-12.
“We’d like to get people to bring their children and grandchildren,” said Rusty Crain, Jazzaffair director. “The music we’ve been playing is popular with older people, but when younger people hear it, they like it. They just hadn’t been exposed to it yet.”
The theme is not only with attendees, but with participating bands, as well.
A long-time participant band has been the Reedley River Rats, composed of Reedley High School students from freshman to seniors. The members change from year to year, but the band continues to perform and be a key participant in the JazzAffair.
For the first time, Kylie Castro, granddaughter of High Sierra Jazz Band drummer Charlie Castro, will perform with her own group, a trio comprising of a pianist, stand-up bass and Castro singing vocals. She has joined in the fun before, but this is the first time she’s headlining an act.
There will be a dozen or so other bands, gathered from around the country, performing their own variety of jazz, throughout the weekend in different venues along the Three Rivers corridor including the host, High Sierra Jazz Band. Other bands include the New Orleans-influenced Au Brothers, Coronet Shop Suey, named after a Louie Armstrong composition and the jazz-marching band sounds of the High Street Jazz Band.
The weekend kicks off Friday mid-afternoon and lasts through 5pm, Sunday. Visitors come from throughout the Western states and beyond come to spend the weekend listening to jazz. All motels fill up, as does the RV facility at the fairgrounds. But there is always room for more local enthusiasts, Crane said.
“We’re hoping for good weather and would like to see more local people come,” he said.
With a one-day ticket, or a three-day pass, one only needs to park once and hitch a ride provided by JazzAffair to visit one of the four different stages with participating artists. Each has their own unique sound and variety of music. Refreshments are available at all venues.
With the desire for family participation, children and grandchildren tickets are half price when attending with parents or grandparents, although children under 12 get in free. Regularly priced three-day tickets are $95; Friday or Sunday one-day tickets are $25 and Saturday tickets are $45. A Three Rivers Lions Club kick-off dinner will be held on Thursday, April 9 at 5pm with food and music for $15.
For more information contact Rusty Crain, 559-561-4549 or visit jazzaffair.ihoststudio.com.