I had the privilege to attend the Jazzed Up Big Band show in the Roof Garden on Tuesday evening. It was an evening of great music performed by a large band of incredible musicians.
Each Tuesday this summer 16 to 17 musicians gather to play jazz in a free concert for all of us to enjoy. These instrumentalists come from: Brookings, Marion, Vermillion and Sioux Falls in South Dakota; Minnetonka and Worthington in Minnesota; as well as Storm Lake and Spirit Lake to jam together. It was obvious they enjoyed challenging each other to give their best performance on each number throughout the evening.
For the Lakes Area residents, the band had local ties. Rick Ayres from Spirit Lake is the managing director of the band. Credit for the smoothness with which this massive event came together goes to Ayres. Brian Moore lives in Minnetonka, Minnesota, but is a Milford native. He is also one of the best baritone sax players in the Midwest.
It is a well-balanced group of performers. None of the sections (trumpets, saxes, trombones, rhythm) try to outshine another. Rather, they compliment each other; providing a wonderful sound and beat for us to savor.
I particularly enjoyed each time a musician cut loose on his solo portion of a number, giving us the best of his abilities.
The evening started with Count Basie and continued on through Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, etc.
We in the audience couldn’t help tap our toes when they played a Roger Newman arrangement of one of Count Basie’s hits. Some of my favorites from the evening were “Easy To Love,” “You Don’t Love Me Anymore,” “Rainy Day” and “Fly Me To The Moon.” Joel Shotwell was incredible on sax, Ken Hoyne masterful on trombone and Steve Smith amazing on keyboards. The usually forgotten bass guitar was featured in one number, and Mike Anderson shone in his opportunity to stroke those strings.
Many people have donated to fund this summer concert series, and they were acknowledged in the colorful program handed out to everyone. Because of the generosity of the sponsors and dedication of the musicians, every Tuesday night the Jazzed Up Big Band performs this summer is free to the public. What a great opportunity for Lakes Area residents and visitors to relax in air-conditioned comfort, grab a beverage at the bar, and enjoy some of the most outstanding musicians of the upper Midwest as they entertain us. I am so glad I went, and I plan to return as often as possible.