Zoot Fest 2011, a fundraising event to benefit the Al Cohn Memorial Jazz Collection and its outreach initiatives, will take place November 13 from noon to 6 p.m. at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. The outreach initiatives include the ESU Jazz Synergy Series and Library Alive Concerts. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the COTA Fund for Young Musicians for COTA CampJazz.
The event honors the lives and music of saxophonists Zoot Sims and Al Cohn, and this year will feature a remembrance of the jazz loft scene in New York City in the late ’50s and early ’60s, including that of Time magazine photographer W. Eugene Smith at 821 Sixth Avenue. Sims and Cohn were frequent visitors to this infamous location in the Village.
Sam Stephenson, author of The Jazz Loft Project book will give a multi-media presentation to kick off the event. Invited guests include several musicians who frequented that and other NYC lofts during that time period: Phil Woods, Bob Dorough, Bill Crow, Lew Tabackin, and Ronnie Free. They will tell their stories about the lofts, and then participate in a “Jazz Jam á la Zoot” hosted by Bill Goodwin, with surprise guests. Finally, the Grammy-nominated COTA Festival Orchestra will close the afternoon in a swinging style with a “Library Alive Big Band Jam,” performing the charts of Al Cohn and other composers and arrangers taken from the music inventory of ESU’s Al Cohn Memorial Jazz Collection.