Jazzoula: Five nights of great jazz

Missoula jazz artists perform April 18-22 during the 12th annual event

New & Notable
Drummer Ed Stalling receives the Blues & Jazz Society Hall of Fame Award
Drummer Ed Stalling receives the Blues & Jazz Society Hall of Fame AwardPhoto © Ken Stolz/MT Images

The 12th annual Jazzoula features four nights of great instrumental and vocal jazz April 18-21 at St. Anthony’s Parish.  Four or five bands, including UM Jazz Program combos, perform at 6:30 p.m. each night in a relaxed night-club setting.

Among the highlights this year is a tribute to the music of Sarah Vaughan and Wes Montgomery by singer Kimberlee Carlson with Ron Meissner on guitar on Tuesday; and the popular Canta Brasil, returning with bossa nova, samba, choro, and more on Wednesday.

Two percussionists will be honored with the 2016 Missoula Blues and Jazz Society Hall of Fame award: Bob LedBetter, the UM percussion professor and leader of the Islander Steel Band, on Wednesday, and drummer Ed Stalling on Thursday in a performance with the Basement Boyz.

The UM Jazz Combo opens the festival at 6:30 p.m. Monday, followed by Missoula’s Youngest Divas (Melody Anderson’s talented voice students); the Jim Driscoll Trio with Pete Hand and Ed Stalling (Ed will be honored with a Hall of Fame award Thursday); Eden Atwood and Craig Hall; and Josh Farmer.

Tuesday opens with the UM Jazz Combo (a different UM jazz group each night), followed by a solo set by pianist Bob Packwood; Triple Sec, with Bill Haffey clarinet; the Chuck Florence Quartet; and Before the Door, featuring Charlie Welty.

Canta Brasil, featuring vocalist Magda Chaney, leads Wednesday’s selection, followed by the UM Combo, Jodi Marshall (Montana’s Grande Dame of jazz piano), the Bob LedBetter Quartet, along with the 2016 Missoula Blues and Jazz Society award presentation to percussionist LedBetter, and the Van Gelder Trio.

Following another UM Jazz Combo opener on Thursday, performers include Melody Anderson, vocals; Captain Wilson Conspiracy; and the Basement Boyz, with the 2016 Missoula Blues and Jazz Society Hall of Fame award going to drummer Ed Stalling.

The festival opens Friday with Owen Ross, guitar, and continues with Kimberlee Carlson and Ron Meissner presenting “Wes and Sarah,” a tribute to Sarah Vaughn and Wes Montgomery; David Morgenroth, solo piano; the Joan Zen Band; and First Name Basis, featuring Matt Austin.

Tickets are $10-$12 or $20-$25 for a four-night pass; call 543-3129. For the complete schedule visit Facebook.