Jazz Artists To Gather At Chautauqua For Festival

CHAUTAUQUA – After 15 years of annually providing a venue for musicians to hone their skill and interact with others in the field, Jazz at Chautauqua will return for another season.

The 16th annual Jazz at Chautauqua weekend begins Thursday, Sept. 19, and will run through Sunday, Sept. 22. The event will be held on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution at the Athenaeum Hotel.

The weekend will feature jazz performances and spontaneous sessions by more than 30 of the country’s jazz musicians, who will provide more than 24 hours of standards and music from the American Songbook.

The event, which was formerly presented by the Allegheny Jazz Society, continues the tradition of bringing regional and national jazz artists together in one location to create new opportunities for performers, enthusiasts and aspiring musicians. Joe Boughton, head of the society, created the event many years before it began at Chautauqua Institution in 1997.

According to Rebecca Kilgore, a song stylist from Portland, Ore., who has participated in the program since its inception and spent one year at the former location, the weekend has become a family reunion.

“Chautauqua hires a lot of the same musicians, but some different every year so it does feel new,” Kilgore said. “It’s a family of musicians, and you get to know the people who go year after year – we’ve made great friends.”

Kilgore is an inductee of the Oregon Music Hall of Fame and the Jazz Society of Oregon’s Hall of Fame. She has performed at Carnegie Hall with other musicians such as Michael Feinstein, as well as New York’s Mabel Mercer Cabaret Convention Town Hall and Lincoln Center.Even with a past career worthy of recognition, Kilgore still feels as if the festival provides her with the tools, inspiration and motivation to continue learning.

“I’ve been able to work with so many people that I wouldn’t ordinarily come in contact with being on the West Coast,” Kilgore said. “When I first went there I got to sing with pianist Dave McKenna, who is now deceased, and he is one of the greats. I was younger then, and I was intimidated, but it worked out great because he a very nice man and a wonderful musician – things like that have definitely made me grow.”

This year’s festival will also feature musicians such as: Dan Barrett, trombonist; Howard Alden and Marty Grosz, jazz guitarists; the Faux Frenchmen, classic jazz band; and others.

Barrett has recorded with Buck Clayton and Benny Goodman. He has also played at Carnegie Hall a number of times, which include two tributes to Louis Armstrong.

In addition to providing the services and amenities of the historic Athenaeum Hotel, Chautauqua Institution offers participants access to the grounds and close proximity to Chautauqua Lake.

“The setting is so beautiful,” Kilgore said. “It’s like going into someone’s living room to look at this beautiful view, wonderful food and music – it couldn’t be better.”

In the past two years, the festival has also held workshops. However, due to insufficient interest, the workshops have been discontinued.

All-inclusive packages and single event tickets are available for the event. All-inclusive packages include accommodations, breakfast, lunch and dinner, nightly bar service, admission to all music events and service charges.

Chautauqua Institution is located off Route 394 in Chautauqua. For more information, call the Athenaeum Hotel at 800-821-1881 or visit www.JazzatCHQ.com.