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The closing event was a New Orleans-style food and jazz brunch on Sunday, Oct. 13, performed by the Phoenix-based Bad Cactus Brass Band. Several featured spots starred trombonist-vocalist Eddie Chop Chops, a Katrina hurricane refugee who has remained in the Phoenix area. Leader Benjie Messmer pumped out low notes on a sousaphone and Chris Peňa dazzled on piano, with subsequent solos by Elliott Ventimiglia on tenor sax and clarinet, and Dan Blake on trumpet. Drummer Jesse Lee Yarbrough's street-beat tempos prompted a second line parade by some of the 57 brunch patrons. Proceeds from the events will go toward Jazz in AZ educational programs and performances.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.