A kaleidoscopic history of jazz was delivered during three sessions of the 35th annual Paradise Valley Jazz Party, from post-bop, ballads and blues to a swinging recreation of the Quintet of the Hot Club of France.
Peak moments that elicited the most audience response were Lew Tabackin
role, with Arizona guitarist Stan Sorenson alternating rhythm backing and his own inventive solos. Among the legendary upbeat charts were "Lady Be Good" and "Minor Swing," along with the pensive "Nuages." A second set on Sunday featured the combo playing non-Hot Club charts, but in the same style.
Tabackin constantly delivered imaginative solos while dancing to and from the mic, swinging his sax high. Tenor sax balladeer Houston Person
was featured in a solo set of his originals, including "Slappin' the Cakes" and "My Attorney Bernie" but then, in a strange shift from his usual amusing verbiage, played two songs that related to suicide.
Nash, who was born and raised in Phoenix before relocating in 1981 to New York City and subsequently touring the world, continually delivered percussive innovation and melodic moves. In contrast, Miles brought his always-joyous attitude to the kit, approaching each chart as if playing it for the first time. Roger Humphries
, who played piano in a later set that featured Tucson Jazz Institute student Max Goldschmidt performing equally well on trumpet and alto sax.
At the past 34 parties, seating in a hotel ballroom was at cabaret tables with wait-service for food and beverages. Repeat patrons registered two complaints: no socializing between sets or with musicians in the Green Room, which was backstage and inaccessible; and the museum policy of permitting only bottled water in the theater, despite a bar in the lobby. Producer Don Z. Miller said he will return the 36th edition to a hotel setting.