The 2022 Scottsdale Jazz Festival, on the evening of April 30, brought a new kind of excitement to downtown Scottsdale. A variety of jazz types from Latin, New Orleans, blues and other styles filled the outdoor air in the Scottsdale Civic Center.
Highlighting the evening was Richard Elliot and Rick Braun, each seasoned showmen with their own individual signature sounds, who performed together as “RnR.” They played off of one another excitingly well and had the audience on their feet dancing.
The electrifying voice of Nayo Jones of the Nayo Jones Experience provided a vocal style of jazz for the evening, and local trumpeter Jesse McGuire enthralled the audience with his unique and nationally recognized rendition of the national anthem.
The event was a sellout, attracting a large, diverse audience to Scottsdale. People without tickets had to be turned away at the entrance, according to the release. Attendees included national visitors from the east and west of Arizona as well as from Mexico.
As such it met one of the goals of the City of Scottsdale, namely to extend the shoulder period of tourism following spring training. Further, the audience consisted of many people who seldom, if ever, visit Scottsdale.
Jazz again demonstrated that this uniquely American form of music brings people of all types together. It was an economically, linguistically, and ethnically diverse audience ranging from people young and old.
Another goal of the festival was to provide support for young people by encouraging them to learn, play and enjoy jazz. Preceding the formal opening of the event at 3:15 p.m. the Molina 32nd Street All-Star Youth Jazz Band from Phoenix Country Day School performed their final gig for the year.
While this was not the first Scottsdale Jazz Festival, it was by far the most successful. The 2020 event had to be canceled due to the onslaught of the pandemic, and in 2021 the event welcomed just a few people, as people began to feel comfortable mingling again. However, this year’s event was ten times the size of last year’s and set a threshold for an even larger event in 2023, according to the release.
Important to the community, this event was a grass-root organized one and it was not a commercial, for-profit group that made it happen in Scottsdale. Led by William “Doc” Jones, the organizing team consisted of jeweler Alfredo Molina for financial and moral support, and for attracting a VIP audience; Andrew Birgensmith for all production details; 602 AZ Multimedia for national and local promotion; and Doc as the recruiter of the jazz bands for the program.
The success of the event is also attributed to the support of the cities of Paradise Valley, Tempe as well as Scottsdale. The three mayors agreed that having an event centered in Scottsdale will attract visitors to all three cities. They actively promoted the event and participated in selected events.
Low-cost, general admission tickets were made possible by the sponsorship of the City of Scottsdale, the Arizona Office of Tourism VAI Grant, Molina Fine Jewelers, Crescent Crown, Constellation Distribution, B&B Development and Construction, The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa, and many others.
The Scottsdale Jazz Festival concluded International Jazz Appreciation Month in the area. The Valley began the celebration of the month with an official kick-off at Tempe Jazz Day at the Tempe Center for the Arts on April 8.
This was followed by Jazz at Lunch on April 20 on the lawn of the Arizona State Capitol, and on the evening of April 29, the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa held a Kierland After Dark Premiere party of jazz.
Plans are underway for meeting the other goal of this event: to make it an annual event as International Jazz Day will be celebrated in April 2023 with an even bigger event than this year.
The city and the festival organizers will have more room for the event as the extensive renovation of the Scottsdale Civic Center will have been completed.
“I believe we can make it ten times more successful than this year,” Doc Jones, the lead event organizer stated in the release.
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