Paradise Valley Jazz Party

Mar 23 - Mar 24, 2013

By Patricia Myers

The 36th annual Paradise Valley Jazz Party, one of the longest running jazz events in the world, will feature top-level musicians from across the nation on Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24, to perform at the Scottsdale Hilton Resort.

The weekend party was started in 1978 by Don Z. Miller and his late wife, Sue. During the past 35 years, the events have featured hundreds of the most legendary jazz artists in the world. The format features 30- and 45-minutes sets featuring an “A-team” of national and regional jazz musicians in various combinations of organized jam sessions, said Miller, 81.

Seating is at reserved cocktail tables in the Sonoran Ballroom of the Scottsdale Hilton Resort, 6333 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale AZ 85250. Tickets are $100 for both days, or $55 per daily session. For more information and hotel reservations, go to or call 480-948-7993.

Performing 7-11 p.m. Saturday will be the trio of pianist Shelly Berg, bassist John Clayton and drummer Akira Tana, also saxophonist Houston Person, trumpeter Warren Vaché, guitarists Bruce Forman and Stan Sorenson, trombonist Harry Watters, flutist Joe Corral and pianists Michael Kocour and Beth Lederman.

The 1-6 p.m. Sunday sets will open with the Arizona State University Jazz Band and again will feature Berg, Clayton, Tana, Person, Vaché, Forman and Kocour, plus performances by trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, bassists Dwight Kilian and Chris Finet, pianist Nick Manson, drummer John Lewis and 18-year-old multi-instrumentalist Max Goldschmid from Tucson.

The party’s annual tradition of celebrating a guest of honor continues, and this year it is Michael Kocour, director of the jazz studies program at Arizona State University since 2004. He is a solo pianist and accompanist who formerly headed the jazz studies program at Northwestern University in Illinois. His recorded work as a studio musician includes soundtracks to two major motion pictures and numerous television commercials. He has eight works published by Warner Brothers, including original compositions and arrangements for piano. He has been a guest on Marian McPartland's internationally syndicated NPR program "Piano Jazz." An ASU associate professor, he was awarded the Herberger College of Fine Arts Distinguished Teacher Award for the academic year 2004-2005.

Scottsdale Hilton Resort - Sonoran Ballroom, cabaret seating

Scottsdale AZ 85250

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