By Jesse Bertel

Experience the first concert in the 2024 series of jazz music exploration and celebrate love through jazz. The Prescott Jazz Summit and Under the Elk Productions bring a Valentine’s Day concert, “The Jazz Journey Series: Jazz in the Key of Love,” to the Crystal Hall of the Elks Performing Arts Center, 117 E. Gurley St., Prescott, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17.

The Prescott Jazz Summit All-Star Combo players are Mike Vax on trumpet, Tony Vacca on saxophone and flute, Rick Schmidt on guitar, Selwyn Reams on bass, and Ken French on drums.

Music from such greats as Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Doris Day, The Beatles, David Gates and Bread, Sidney Bechet, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mandel, and many others, will bring familiar love songs to you, in the “Key of Jazz.”

“What I try to do is pick stuff that I know the band will be comfortable with and that the audience will like,” Vax said. “A lot of it has to do with tunes that a lot of the audience members will recognize, especially ones like this. When we’re doing some other stuff, then we may be doing some material that maybe they wouldn’t recognize as much. But for a show like this, I like to have stuff that’s recognizable.”

Musicians and singers from around Arizona join together to present evenings that will include not only the music, but historical facts and anecdotes about the music and the musicians who have performed America’s true art form for over 100 years.

“What I’ll do is I’ll talk about each tune and I’ll talk about the original recording and who recorded it and maybe any subsequent recordings that are important or anything like that,” Vax said. “One I know we will do is Si Tu Vois Ma Mere. Sidney Bechet was visiting one of his friends who was dying here, so he said, ‘If you see my mother tell her I love her.’ It’s a beautiful tune. So, that’s one we will do for sure.”

For older audience members, the selection of songs will bring back memories.

“Let’s face it, most of the audience is older,” Vax said. “We’re getting younger people, but a lot of the audience is older. So, when you do a show like this and you do tunes that people recognize, it’s going to take them back to their youth a little bit.”

Beer, wine and other beverages are available for purchase. Parties of four or six will be given their own table (as available). Larger and smaller parties may be combined or divided to accommodate all the guests. All seating will be assigned prior to entry.

Should you have needs for special accommodations, email info@etpac.org. For more information about the Prescott Jazz Summit, visit www.prescottjazzsummit.net.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit www.prescottelkstheatre.org, or call 928-756-2844.

Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Facebook @ JesseBertel, email him at jbertel@prescottaz.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.

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