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Jazz Legends and Centennial Birthdays

Saturday, September 23, 2017 @ 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm MST

Tucson to Host Jazz Legends on September 23, 2017 for Benefit Concert Celebrating the Centennial Birthday of Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and Buddy Rich

Jazz Legends LIVE! swings into its sixteenth year on Saturday, September 23rd. This collaborative concert brings jazz greats from around the world for a once in a lifetime creative collaboration, celebrating Tucson’s place in the world of jazz.

Jazz Legends LIVE was founded in 2001 by Al and Marilyn Cook in the backyard of their Oro Valley home. Over the course of its history the event has presented an array of the world’s greatest performing artists, including John Clayton, Wycliffe Gordon, Todd Coolman, Lewis Nash, Grace Kelly, and Corey Wilcox, and the talented lineup scheduled for 2017 is sure to impress jazz fans of all ages.

“Each year the lineup features a collection of truly fantastic jazz talent,” Kate Marquez, SAACA’s Executive Director, says of the event. “In 2017 we’re reaching across genres and styles to continue to strive for the unique sound and experience Jazz Legend attendees have come to expect.”

In addition to its fundraising goals for SAACA’s creative arts therapy programs, Jazz Legends LIVE! seeks to define paths and expand the possibilities for all artists, from emerging and lesser-known musicians, to jazz students and today’s top jazz stars.

The event will be held atThe Lodge at Ventana Canyon, 6200 N. Club House Ln., offering an intimate setting for the concert. All the proceeds raised from the event help SAACA continue to fund Creative Arts Therapy and Arts Education programs in the community.

Concert tickets can be purchased for $65 (middle rows) or $55 (back rows). For an upgraded event experience, a $150 ticket will offer attendees VIP front row concert seating, and a three course dinner prior to the concert featuring live music from the UA Studio Jazz Ensemble. Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 7 p.m.

The 2017 Jazz Legends are:

Lewis Nash, Drums
“Rhythm Is My Business” is the title of his debut recording as a leader, and rhythm is a booming business as far as Lewis Nash is concerned. He is the drummer of choice for an incredible array of artists – from the masters of the music to the hottest young players of today – and is equally in demand as a clinician and educator.

Currently, while he continues to perform and record with a wide variety of artists, Nash leads several of his own exciting groups, from duo to septet. Outside of his many touring and recording accomplishments, thanks to the sponsorship of Sonor drums, Zildjian cymbals, Remo drumheads and Regal Tip drumsticks, Lewis has become a sought after jazz educator. His lectures, clinics and workshops are as much in demand as his bandstand and studio work. Lewis Nash: Rhythm is indeed his business!

Bobby Floyd, Piano
Bobby Floyd’s talent has launched him into a very rewarding career, putting him in demand and making him one of the favorite, first-call pianists/organists for many well known artists. He has traveled the world accompanying Ray Charles on piano and organ. He currently makes guest appearances with some of the most distinguished orchestras, including The Boston Pops, The Rochester Philharmonic, and The Detroit Symphony. He is presently the feature pianist for the world-famous and legendary Count Basie Orchestra. He also tours nationally and internationally as organist for the Grammy Award winning Dr. John.

The prestige associated with Floyd’s worldwide appearances can also be witnessed at home. In his hometown, Columbus Ohio, Bobby is the feature pianist & organist with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Byron Stripling where he has performed with a large number of major artist. He is occasionally featured with The Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and other arts organizations and venues throughout Columbus and Ohio.

Niki Haris, Vocals
Niki Haris, daughter of Grammy nominated jazz pianist Gene Harris, grew up in Middle America, Benton Harbor, Michigan. She was college educated in Southern California. Niki then pursued her singing career in the usual amusement parks and clubs in the California area. This dynamic woman has since gone on to work with a multitude of recording artist ranging from Pop, R&B, to Jazz. Her live performances and recording experience reads like a who¹s who of the music world. With names such as; Ray Charles, David Sanborn, Patrice Rushen, Michael Sembello, Leann Rimes, Michelle Branch, Santana, Kylie Minogue, Luther Vandross, All Saints, Wilton Felder of the Jazz Crusaders, Stanley Turrentine, the Righteous Bros., Julian Lennon, Anita Baker, Mick Jagger, Whitney Houston and Madonna.

Niki continues to share her gifts throughout the years by performing at a multitude of benefits for AIDS, Cancer research as well as Camp Harmony for inner city children. Niki continues to be called upon to lend her inspirational voice by notable speakers such as Mark Victor Hansen ³Chicken soup for the Soul² & Reverend Michael Beckwith (The Secret) She is also a strong supporter for the Music in the Classroom program and RADD, Rockers Against Drunk Driving. She diligently lends her time in serving and is an annual participant in the Season for Non Violence.

Tom Kennedy, Acoustic & Electric Guitar
Tom Kennedy is an accomplished touring and studio musician who ranks as one of the top acoustic and electric bass players in the world. By his late teens, he had already performed with jazz icons such as Freddie Hubbard, James Moody, Nat Adderly, Sonny Stitt, George Russell, Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis. Since then, Tom has performed and recorded with Mike Stern, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Dave Weckl, Michael and Randy Brecker, Al DiMeola, Simon Phillips, Steve Gadd, Frank Gambale, Steve Lukather, David Sanborn, Jeff Lorber, Ricky Lawson, Joe Sample and Harvey Mason, to name a few. Along with a lifelong career as an international touring artist, Tom has released five solo projects to date and has appeared on over 200 recordings.
All the proceeds raised from this unique support SAACA’s Creative Arts Therapy and Arts Education programs in the community.

Jon Faddis, Trumpet
Jon Faddis (born July 24, 1953) is an American jazz trumpet player, conductor, composer, and educator, renowned for both his playing and for his expertise in the field of music education. Upon his first appearance on the scene, he became known for his ability to closely mirror the sound of trumpet icon Dizzy Gillespie, who was his mentor along with Stan Kenton trumpeter Bill Catalano. Jon Faddis possesses a virtually unparalleled range and full command of his instrument, making the practically impossible seem effortless. Time Out New York praises Faddis as “the world’s greatest trumpeter … brash soloistic logic and breathtaking technical acuity.” The Wall Street Journal characterizes Faddis as “prodigious lyrical force.”

2017 Jazz Legends LIVE
When: Saturday, September 23 – 5:30 p.m. dinner, 7 p.m. concert
Where: The Lodge at Ventana Canyon, 6200 N. Club House Ln
Cost: $45/$55 Concert General Admission, $125 VIP Dinner & Concert
Phone: (520) 797-3959

NOTE TO MEDIA: Photos available

About the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance
The Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance (SAACA) is a not-for-profit organization that exists to ensure that, through engagement in arts and culture, our communities produce strong, inspired citizens. SAACA enlists artists, businesses, governments, and individuals to expand artistic and cultural opportunities in their respective communities. To enhance access to the arts and to promote cultural awareness in the communities it serves, SAACA presents large-scale festivals, events and other programs. The Alliance also promotes educational opportunities in the arts and culture for all ages.

For more information about programs and events produced by the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, go to


Saturday, September 23, 2017
5:30 pm - 10:00 pm MST
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Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA)
(520) 797-3959


The Lodge at Ventana Canyon
6200 N. Club House Lane
Tucson, AZ United States
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