Most folks throw down the hardest on their 21st birthdays, but don't tell that to the people at The Pikes Peak Jazz and Swing Society. They're set to go all out for their 20th, planning the largest party in the organization's history.
The party is so big, in fact, that it won't fit into a whole day. The 23-band birthday gala event comprises nearly 100 local musicians, performing on three stages at the LeBaron Hotel on Jan. 8 and 9. Saturday's lineup, running from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m., will consist of 13 groups and a full dinner. The Swing Connection will provide the big band dance headline on Saturday evening, preceded by the Just in Time Band. Before that, it's the John Turner Quintet, Bruce Pennington Trio with John Teamer, and Ken Kassover. The Springs City Jazz Band, Jana Lee and Sidework with Alan Joseph, and Mango fan Django Quartet hold the late afternoon slots. Promises with Mark Raphael, the Ken Janzen and Flores Brothers Trio, and the George Fiedler Trio will warm up the stages early in the day. The whole thing gets started with the Jerry and Ken show and Sundance with Mark Rose and Tom Taylor.
"We've got such a diverse set of mainstream, modern and traditional music," said PPJASS president Lenny Mazel, "from solo piano, duet, trio, quartet, seven- to nine-member bands, and full big band with 18 pieces."
Sunday's extension of the PPJASS birthday bash will get kickin' at 1 p.m., but will run only until 6 p.m. Sunday's ticket includes a cheese and fruit display along with birthday cake. Tom O, Boyle, Jorica, and Wayne Hoey & All That Jazz will get the party going, with the Eddie Jones Quintet, the Broadmoor Tavern Orchestra, and Tune Town to follow. After that, it's The Changing Times Reunion Quartet, the Marv Smith Quartet, and the Ken Miller Trio with Lila Mori. The big band finale for the weekend will feature the Springs Contemporary Jazz Big Band.
If you haven't heard enough jazz and swing by then and your legs still have some juice in them, then too bad -- wait another 20 years.
"It's very exciting to us that 35 people could informally get together (symbolically at the same location, then the Raintree Inn) and start a volunteer organization 20 years ago that has now grown to 600 members," said Mazel. "Who even knew that there were 100 local jazz musicians in the Springs?"
The Pikes Peak Jazz and Swing Society will need a week or two to recover from their music hangover, but don't expect them to be gone long. The nonprofit club presents Second Sunday Jazz Affairs every month from 2 to 5 p.m. at Castaways, and during the warm summer months, the PPJASS puts on Jazz in the Parks concerts. Special events and large concerts featuring national and international musicians also occasionally pop up, so keep your ears open.
-- Matthew Schniper capsule Pikes Peak Jazz and Swing Society 20th Birthday Celebration
Le Baron Hotel, 314 W. Bijou St.
Saturday, Jan. 8, 1-10 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 9, 1-6 p.m.
$35 Saturday, $20 Sunday, or $45 for both days
For tickets call Maureen at 685-9451.
For more info visit www.ppjass.org.