If you want to go:
The 19th annual Great Bend Jazz Festival sponsored by the Kiwanis Club will be held March 2 at the Crest Theater, 1905 Lakin Ave. Doors open at 7 p.m. Adult admission is $10, students $5. Call 620-792-3595 for ticket information.
Local big band musicians will share the stage with a Kansas City jazz icon for the 19th annual Great Bend Jazz Festival on Saturday, March 2, at the Crest Theater.
Singer David Basse, with the Joe Cartwright Trio, will be featured at the evening of jazz, along with area musicians in the Prairie Winds All Star Big Band.
“I’m excited to come to Great Bend and play music,” Basse said in a telephone interview. “It’s always fun to sing with a big band.”
Robert Feldt, one of the organizers of the Jazz Festival, said Basse will accompany the The Prairie Winds All Star Big Band on the song “Alright, Okay, You Win.” The band, comprised of area musicians, will also be playing dance band music from the 1940s.
The Crest Theater is located at 1906 Lakin Ave. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Adult admission is $10, students $5. Call 620-792-3595 for ticket information.
Basse, who has been singing professionally since he was 14 years old, met Cartwright and they started working together when he came to Kansas City at age 19. Growing up in Nebraska, his first introduction to music was county, rock and popular music. He spent a couple of years traveling as a young man, then someone told him that Kansas City had the music scene that fit with what he was doing.
“When I got here it was love at first sight,” Basse said. He started exploring the city’s musical history when he first arrived and hasn’t stopped. Along the way then he’s produced and/or recorded 25 albums, including performing with the City Light Orchestra. He had worked with many of the greats of jazz, including Phil Woods and Larry Bunker.
Earlier this month he performed at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts with the Kansas City Symphony. Basse’s latest recording project, expected to drop in the spring, is a tribune to his long-time recording partner, the late Mike Melvoin. The recording celebrates the genius of famed studio musician Melvoin, whose death on Feb. 24, 2012, in Los Angeles followed a long battle with cancer. In 2004 Basse produced Melvoin in the Grammy nominated instrumental album “It‘s Always You.”
Basse’s own resonant voice is considered a signature of Kansas City’s swingin’ jazz and blues sound. After hearing him sing, poet Maya Angeou reportedly told him, “I love the soul that is your voice.”
Basse also appears regularly on PBS and can be heard from 1-4 p.m. Saturdays on Kansas Public Radio in the Kansas City area. He hosts the program “Jazz Scene,” which is broadcast from the University of Kansas at Lawrence and usually can’t be heard west of Salina.
Jazz pianist Cartwright is a graduate of the UMKC Conservatory of Music and currently leads his own duo, trio and quartet. They have produced numerous jazz recordings, worked with many internationally recognized jazz artists, toured overseas, and may be heard on the NPR Jazz Radio Show, “12th Street Jump.”
The Prairie Winds All Star Big Band is made up of jazz musicians from the Golden Belt area, performing the music of 1930s and 1940s dance bands led by Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Jimmy & Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, and Benny Goodman.
The mission of the Great Bend Jazz Festival is to bring quality jazz performers to Great Bend. Jazz Festival Inc. also offers a scholarship to a Great Bend High School student who has participated in instrumental music and plans to attend any college and participate in any kind of instrumental music class.
Major sponsors of the festival are the Kiwanis Club of Great Bend and CPI Qualified Plan Consultants.