Monday, December 28, 2009

Tucson: TJS Embraces the New Year with Great Jazz, Great Food, Great Dancing and more


From: Tucson Jazz Society []
Sent: Monday, December 28, 2009 9:02 AM
Subject: TJS Embraces the New Year with Great Jazz, Great Food, Great Dancing and more


JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa — Thursday, December 31, 7pm


There’s more to the Tucson Jazz Society’s New Year’s Eve All-Stars Gala than extraordinary music by a stage full of Grammy winners and nominees. That $189 ticket also includes an elegant four-course dinner served in a grand ball room with two dance floors (providing more room to really get down) so you can more fully appreciate two complete jazz concerts followed by more dancing after midnight to hit recordings requested by the audience. To give a rousing welcome to the New Year everyone will receive a complimentary champagne toast and party favors.

Want more? Having a ticket to the Gala also qualifies you to stay overnight at Starr Pass with a special room rate of $119. That’s much less than a traffic ticket for overly enthusiastic driving to get back home.

Buy your tickets early for prime seat selection at

Tucson jazz artists don’t take a back seat to anyone!

by Chuck Graham

Hey, wait a minute. This New Year’s Eve bash to greet a new decade isn’t just about letting ourselves be wowed by a bunch of out-of-towners. Tucson has some pretty good talent that can play really big onstage, yielding no quarter to our visiting guest artists. 

This year’s gala features not only two dance floors but also two concerts. The second concert will feature the Jazz All-Stars, but the first concert is a showcase for Tucson's Triple Threat Divas and vocalist Joe Bourne. Musical director and pianist Jeff Haskell will provide the accompaniment, working with Matt Mitchell, guitar, Rick Peron, trumpet, Jack Wood, bass, and Pete Swan, drums. 

In the Triple Threat Divas – Julie Anne, Crystal Stark, and Katherine Byrnes – you actually get four-shows-in- one. Each of these ladies is a unique soloist in her own right. When they start singing together, particularly on arrangements reminiscent of the Andrews Sisters, the magic blossoms.

Julie Anne sings for her love of classic jazz, paying tribute to the contributions of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Julie London and Peggy Lee. Her resume includes gigs at Ventana Canyon Resort, McMahon’s Steak House, Starr Pass Resort, Westward Look Resort and the DesertView Performing Arts Center at SaddleBrook. As a recording artist, the statuesque singer’s 2007 CD, “Hey, Daddy!” was chosen one of the top 25 independent label releases of the year by On the academic side she has a degree in music education from the UA. 

Crystal Stark, with her bright eyes and magnetic smile, found fame as one of 44 finalists in the fifth season of TV’s popular “American Idol.” The high finish led to appearances on shows hosted by Jay Leno, Regis and Kelly, Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen Degeneres. Stark graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in vocal music education. She stays busy working with Pete Swan’s Trio and a jazz/funk/soul quintet. She also believes in using her talent for a Christian ministry in music, serving as music director for her church, as well as teaching voice and piano lessons in her home studio. 

Katherine Byrnes was the second vocalist to be signed to Park Avenue Records at the UA. She also has a music degree from the university. Not content just to sing, Byrnes stretches out her acting chops, as well, taking roles in the musicals at Gaslight Theatre. Most recently she appeared in a production staged by Chamber Music Plus Southwest presenting the music of George and Ira Gershwin. 

Joe Bourne is a one-man show, literally. After enjoying a lengthy singing career in Europe, opening for such touring American acts as Natalie Cole, the Manhattans, the Pointer Sisters and Dionne Warwick, Bourne retired to Tucson with his wife Flory. Here in the Old Pueblo, Bourne works with all sizes of combos, big bands and symphony orchestras. Appearing frequently in concert at the area’s resorts, Bourne is well- known for his tribute shows celebrating the music of Nat King Cole, Lou Rawls and Sammy Davis Jr. Basically, this stylish entertainer can fit into any kind of musical setting that calls for a classy crooner. 

Proof that today’s jazz will have an audience tomorrow is provided by the Tucson Jazz Institute, a private school with more than 250 students learning to play America’s most original music. The institute’s leading big band will open the New Year’s Eve Jazz All-Stars Gala. In past performances opening TJS concerts, the TJI gang was genuinely smokin’. These players may be young but they are used to winning awards in student jazz band competitions at festivals in Fullerton, California, and northern Arizona.


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