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click to enlarge Al Eberhardt of the Changing Times Big Band. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Al Eberhardt of the Changing Times Big Band.

The musicians in this town could be classified as a loose bunch, floating from gig to gig, incestuously jamming in basements and bars, indiscriminately partnering with drummers and bassists. It's no wonder somebody showed up to bring order to this lawless scene.

When the Pikes Peak Jazz and Swing Society formed 17 years ago as a meeting and jam session at the Raintree Inn, its goals were to foster and support local jazz and to provide an environment in which musicians could play and talk shop once a month.

Since that fateful evening, PPJASS has become a near phenomenon, dishing out scholarships to promising musicians, hosting the annual free Jazz in the Parks concert series, and bringing in internationally known jazz musicians for concerts. They've also added live jazz to a brace of yearly arts events, working with the city to support live music and, in 1996, the Society established the Alice Award, named for vocalist Alice Cardozo. The coveted award is given to a talented, experienced local musician who has that touch of elegance and style that PPJASS simply describes as "class."

The Alice Award will be given this Sunday afternoon at the Society's birthday party with Al Eberhardt and the Changing Times Big Band. As with all PPJASS Second Sunday events, the public is welcome to come eat, drink, dance and be merry with this wonderful, respected and much appreciated local institution. Admission is $5 to $7 at the door. Call 632-8719.

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