Annual Jazz Festival Set For Friday At Jamestown Community College

Buffalo Music Hall of Famers, the Bar-room Buzzards, are set to perform during Jamestown Community College’s annual JazzFest.

The event is set for 7:30 in Scharmann Theatre on Friday night. Tickets to JazzFest are $5 for the general public, $3 for students and seniors, and $2 for Faculty Student Association members.

The Bar-room Buzzards, formed in 1966, still includes one of its original members. The Bar-room Buzzards feature four players, including:Paul Preston, clarinet, soprano saxophone, vocals and original member; Lew Custode, trumpet, cornet and vocals; Paul Zapalowski, bass and tuba; Warren Stirzinger, guitar and banjo.

According to Custode, the event will serve as a perfect opportunity to bring the group’s act to a new venue as well as to a young audience.

“I’ve heard that the theater is beautiful, and that the concerts there are well-attended – so we’re looking forward to it,” Custode said. “I think interacting with a young audience is key here. Jazz itself was always considered fringe music, even when it was popular in the 1950s. It is an American artform, and is something that is very important to our culture because it originated here – it would be a total sin if it died out and no one paid attention to it.”

The Bar-room Buzzards generally perform traditional jazz, and some of the tunes they will play at Jamestown Community College will go back to the early days of the artform, Custode said. The group will perform tunes that originated in the early 1900s all the way up to Broadway. Preston, the original Bar-room Buzzard, will be featured on a soprano-saxophone solo piece called “Georgia Cabin.” The performance will also include a piece, “Buddy Bolden Blues,” which pays homage to Buddy Bolden. Bolden was a New Orleans trumpetman who pre-dates Louis Armstrong.

The quartet will be joined by trombonist Peter Pepke, whose extensive career includes playing with the Von Brothers Circus Band in the 1950s as well as being named “Pennsylvania’s Jazz Man of the Year” in 2006 by the International Musicians’ Union. Pepke is greatly looking forward to the opportunity to perform with the Bar-room Buzzards because he has admired the group for many years.

“It’s a great honor because they have a tremendous reputation – they are very good and I always look forward to playing with them,” Pepke said. “I think the JazzFest is great, because it gets young people interested in this kind of music. …You don’t hear jazz music on the radio, and you don’t see it on television. So, these young people, unless they are studying music, don’t know what it is. It’s happy music, it’s sad music, but it’s also the only artform that America has originated – it’s very important that they get exposed to it.”

Ralph “Razz” Rasmusson, jazz professor at Jamestown Community College, agrees that it’s integral to expose young people to jazz.

“Giving our students and the community the opportunity to hear traditional jazz played by five master players is a rare opportunity,” Rasmusson said. “It’s going to give students and the community the chance to hear where the roots of jazz came from, and even contemporary music features improvisation – it’s a very important occasion.”

The event will be held at Jamestown Community College’s Scharmann Theatre, which is located at 525 Falconer St. in Jamestown.

For more information call the box office at 338-1187 or visit