With two music events and a clinic for children, the Quad Cities Jazz Festival promises to brighten your Memorial Day weekend with spectacular music from nine stellar acts.
The Quad Cities Jazz Fest runs Thursday through Saturday and includes singer Marilyn Maye, saxophonist Kim Park, the Southwest Missouri Jazz Band, trombonist Paul McKee, trumpet player Manny Lopez, pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Jim Widner, drummer Jim Ekloff, and guitarist Rick Haydon.
The festival starts on Thursday at Friendly House in Davenport with the free "Jazz in the Neighborhood" workshop for grade-school and junior-high students. "The Concert" will be held Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Augustana College's Centennial Hall, featuring all the performers from this year's festival. Tickets are $15 at the door. The festival closes on Saturday with the "Jazz & Cocktails" party at 6 p.m. in the Four Points by Sheraton ballroom. The festival lineup, except for the Southwest Missouri Jazz Band, will perform in different combinations, and tickets are $20 at the door.
• Fronting the festival will be jazz vocalist extraordinaire Marilyn Maye, known for many appearances on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and her collection of ballads The Lamp Is Low. She is a recipient of the Jazz Heritage award.
• Ken Park is the son of John Park, the legendary alto saxophonist, and Kim followed in his father's footsteps with the sax but also plays the flute and piano. He has performed with acts including Stan Kenton, Clark Terry, Louis Bellson, Stan Getz, Jack Sheldon, George Benson, and Mel Torme.
• The Southwest Missouri Jazz Bands is one of 18 student bands that Jerry Hoover oversees at Southwest Missouri State University, and one of a handful he personally directs.
• Tromobonist Paul McKee is not only a renowned performer but also a composer whose works have been recorded by musicians worldwide. His latest recording, Gallery, features guest performances by Carl Fontana, Bobby Shew, Tim Ries, and Ron Stout.
• Local trumpet luminary Manny Lopez has performed in orchestras supporting Bob Hope, Ray Charles, and Johnny Mathis, and he served as musical director of the Louis Bellson Jazz Festival from 1994 through 1997.
• The prolific pianist Mulgrew Miller is one of the most in-demand session players around, and he's appeared on nearly 400 recordings. He forged long-term relationships with legends such as Woody Shaw, Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Benny Golson, Johnny Griffin, and Tony Williams.
• Bassist Jim Widner is well-regarded for his clinic skills and has served as bassist for Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, and the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
• Iowa native Jim Ekloff has been the drummer for the Des Moines Big Band for more than four decades, and he's performed with festival participant Maye in Las Vegas.
• Guitarist Rick Haydon is professor of music at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and has been playing professionally for more than three decades.