‘High-energy’ jazz opens series
The Basehor Community Library Summer Concerts in the Park are back this year and ready to please the local crowd with a variety of different sounds.
New Vintage Big Band will provide the first night of entertainment from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, June 20, at Basehor City Park, 158th Street and Leavenworth Road. Led by Basehor resident Jack Taylor, New Vintage Big Band has been playing in the Kansas City area since 1991.
"I played in high school and college and after college there was no place to play," Taylor said about starting the band. "I joined other community groups and discovered it was fun enough, but they weren't playing the music I wanted to play. I decided the only way to do that was to do it myself."
Taylor said the band is made up of several trumpets, trombones, saxophones and a full rhythm section including drums, piano, bass and guitar. The group is also made up of a large range of ages and skill levels.
"It can total up to as many as 19 for certain arrangements and as little as 13 to 14 for others," Taylor said. "We'll fill up that gazebo. In fact, I may have guys outside of it in front."
The band rehearses about once a month and has a regular monthly gig at BB's Lawnside BBQ in Kansas City, Mo., on the first Wednesday of the month. Taylor said the band has also just released its first CD "Always and Forever," which will be on sale for $15 Friday night.
"It has been favorably reviewed by jazz critics all over the world," he said.
Guests can expect to hear a few selections from the CD during tomorrow evening's concert, but Taylor said they have a book of about 500 songs to choose from. New Vintage Big Band's repertoire covers big band arrangements from the 1950s and older including classic selections from Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton and Woody Herman orchestras as well as more contemporary selections from artists such as Phil Collins.
"We'll play a cross section Friday night that we sound best with and with outdoor stuff you don't want to play a lot of stuff that's really soft," he said. "We'll probably be pretty high energy."
Assistant library director Jenne Laytham said that while the concerts are free and open to the public, the quality is still top notch. This year's line up also offers a wide variety of music. Other concerts in the series include songwriter and multi instrumentalist Billy Ebeling on July 11 and the blues and bluegrass sounds of Stranger Creek String Band on Aug. 1.
"I think we have a nice mix," Laytham said. "I think people will be surprised at the quality of the concerts."
The whole family is encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets, come early, grab some dinner from the Basehor Veterans of Foreign Wars concession stand at the park and settle in for a night of great music. Laytham said the park is an excellent venue for families because children can play on the playground equipment while parents enjoy the concert.
"It's a nice way for the community to come out and enjoy the city park," she said. "And we're happy to bring it to them."
For more information about the series, visit basehorlibrary.org. To learn more about New Vintage Big Band, contact Taylor at (913) 269-6683 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Web site at bigbandjazz.com.