Clarinetist Extraordinaire Headlines Jazzaffair

“Jazz for the Generations…A Family Affair” themes the 42nd annual Jazzaffair in Three Rivers, April 10 – 12, featuring 14 bands from seven states sponsored by Sierra Traditional Jazz Club. Jazzaffair is the longest-running traditional jazz festival west of the Mississippi.

The spotlight is shared by Three Rivers’ own nationally acclaimed High Sierra Jazz Band and Bob Draga, Key Largo, FL. Draga is arguably one of the most popular and talented jazz musicians in the country. His quick wit and story-telling ability provides entertainment along with his clarinet renditions.

Music lovers will hear traditional Dixieland jazz (New Orleans music), ragtime, blues, zydeco, Cajun, swing-Motown and even an occasional cowboy song, plus Gospel music on Sunday morning at several venues, including the Presbyterian Church.

In keeping with the theme, on the entertainment side, there are two youthful groups: The Reedley River Rats, a very professional sounding traditional jazz band from Reedley High School and  Kylie Castro and Friends from Santa Barbara. These young people are the products, in part, of contributions and scholarships to Jazz Camp from the Sierra Traditional Jazz Club. Proceeds from the Jazzaffair go toward scholarships.

The balance of the band line-up for the Festival reads like the who’s-who of the Nation’s traditional jazz musicians including Bob Draga and Friends, Florida; Cornet Chop Suey, St. Louis, MO; High Street Band, Boise, ID; Jerry Krahn Quartet, Nashville, TN; Wally’s Warehouse Waifs, MI and Titan Hot Seven, whose musicians live in several states.

From California, in addition to the host, High Sierra Jazz Band, are Au Brothers/Howard Miyata, Sacramento; Blue Street Jazz Band, Fresno; Flip Oakes Quartet, Oceanside; Night Blooming Jazzmen, Claremont and Tom Rigney and Flambeau, Berkeley.

Bands will be playing in four venues: Lions Club Roping Arena; St. Anthony’s Retreat; Memorial Building and the tent in the Memorial Building parking lot.

Also in keeping with the theme, Jazz Club President Stan Huddleston says, “Bring your children of any age and their tickets will be half-price. Of course, kids under 12 are free with their parents along.”

Ticket prices are 3-day, all event, $95; Friday, April 10, $25; Saturday, April 11, $45 and Sunday, April 12, $25. For information, visit Tickets available on-sites at the door.

On Thursday night, April 9, the Lions Club holds a Recognition Dinner, $15, and Jazz Jam, 5 pm at the Arena. The Jazz Jam follows the Lions Barbecue and recognition ceremony and is free.

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