John Austria builds a community through music

Jazz pianist and teacher John Austria is humble. So humble, that to this day he assumes he was accepted into the 2001 Vail Jazz Workshop by fluke: “I think I may have been a second choice…someone dropped out and I was accepted.” Given his solid grounding in music, starting at an early age, and his … Continued

Miles Mosley has made waves since Vail Jazz Workshop days

A pioneer participant in the workshop, 25 years later Mosley is one of America’s top upright bass players Over the last 25 years, nearly 300 teenage musicians have been transformed by the Vail Jazz Workshop; a large majority have gone on to become professional musicians. This is one of their stories. At age 16, Miles … Continued

Grammy-nominated trombonist sealed musical fate in Vail

Jeffery Miller’s Vail Jazz Workshop experience still serves him six years later Over the last 25 years, nearly 300 teenage musicians have been transformed by the Vail Jazz Workshop; a large majority have gone on to become professional musicians. This is one of their stories. Raised by his grandmother in New Orleans, taking up the … Continued

Howard Stone: The Party

When Vail Jazz presents its 25th annual Vail Jazz Party over the Labor Day Weekend, it will continue a Colorado jazz tradition that is 56 years-old and was nurtured right here in Vail. The story begins in 1963 when Dick Gibson, a Denver investment banker, and his wife Maddie, gathered 10 jazz musicians and 200-plus … Continued

Howard Stone: Afro-Cuban Jazz and Politics

Previously I have written about the differences between Afro-Cuban jazz and American jazz and examined the reasons why the descendants of the same African ancestors, living only 90 miles apart in the New World, created two distinctively different forms of jazz. I concluded that that the outcome was predictable considering that each group’s music evolved … Continued

Howard Stone: I Did It My Way

The Academy Award-winning documentary film, Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013) explores the careers and lives of a number of rock/pop “backup” singers. These very talented women backed up Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, Sting, Stevie Wonder and other iconic rock/pop performers, but while the public may have known their voices, they were largely anonymous, performing while … Continued

Howard Stone: The Jezebel of Jazz

This year is the centennial of the birth of Anita O’Day (Anita Belle Colton), a daring jazz vocalist who developed her own style and created a vast body of innovative vocals while being tagged “The Jezebel of Jazz,” for her nonconformist ways. At mid-20th century, she was considered to be one of the top female … Continued

Howard Stone: New Orleans Piano

If you were to ask most jazz fans what instrument most epitomizes New Orleans jazz, the trumpet would most likely be the answer. Actually, it should be the cornet, which Louis Armstrong and other early New Orleans jazzmen initially played, switching to the trumpet later. Another answer might be the trombone, most famously played in … Continued

Howard Stone: Jazz and The Movies

The 1927 film, The Jazz Singer, was the first feature-length (not a short) “talkie” (a film with synchronized speech, singing, instrumental score and sound effects). While the title suggests that it was about a jazz crooner, the story is about a young man who wants to sing pop music instead of following in his father’s … Continued