Surfer boy Tom Hazzard grew up in Southern California dreaming about jazz, getting his hands on Dixieland jazz records—a collection that would number over 7,000, slipping into jazz nightclubs to catch artists of their day like Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, and Buddy Bolden. When he was older and living in Boise, ID, Hazzard dreamed about putting on a jazz festival full of his favorites, lots of Dixieland, a marching band tribute, big bands, swing dancers. It’d be a five-day party in the midst of the Sun Valley mountains.
In 1989, Hazzard, his lady love Barbara Jean, and Sun Valley Company General Manager Wally Huffman realized the dream, scheduling the first Sun Valley Swing ‘n’ Dixie Jazz Jamboree during the slowest weekend of the year for the area, hoping the crowds would come.
They did, from every state in the union and parts outside. Today, the Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree is still going strong, as the Hazzard’s daughter Carol and husband Jeff take over. The Jamboree is still a five-day bustling party, with 180 musicians performing 260 shows, bringing in crowds of 5,000 to 6,000 to the Sun Valley Resort—investment well spent. “The festival is our largest and most popular single event,” said Huffman, former Sun Valley Resort manager. “We fill the resort for a week. What’s more, the in-town accommodations, stores, restaurants, and other facilities in Ketchum do tremendous business, so it’s an economic boom, as well as a crowd favorite.”
“All the bands want to play in Sun Valley,” said trombonist Bill Allred, of Bill Allred’s Orlando, FL Classic Jazz Band. “Things are perfect here – the venues, appreciative fans, accommodations – everything, not to mention a spectacular setting in these gorgeous mountains. An invitation to come here is a prized possession in our industry.”
Jazz lovers will find the same party atmosphere at this year’s Jamboree, October 16-20. Besides the live concerts, all-star big band bashes, Hazzard’s marching band salute, Classical Renegades—classical musicians doing jazz, and an end-of-week jazz review, the Jamboree will also offer attendees free dance lessons, plenty of opportunities to participate in dance competitions for beginners, amateurs, and over 50 in swing and the Lindy, movie Wednesday at the Opera House, and a jazz worship service.
Call (877) 478-5277 for info.