Four hour-long episodes of a locally-produced film program of Colorado Blues and Jazz artists recorded live in performance will screen over four Wednesday evenings at the McNichols Civic Center Building! Each unique episode of Blue Roots Denver, co-produced by bandleader James Speiser and KUVO's Erik Troe, will be preceded by a live performance by one of the groups featured in that week's film presentation.
Fifty world class jazz artists and 12 of the best high school players in the nation make up the Vail Jazz Party, in its 20th year this Labor Day weekend. But the party is only the culmination of a year round effort, says Robin Litt, executive director of the Vail Jazz Foundation.
"We're a 12-week long festival, and I'm not sure there are many like that," said Litt, who's justifiably proud of the 45 performances they put together. But wait - there's more.
Only 12 slots exist at the annual Vail Jazz Workshop. For this year's class, a committee had to pare down a record number of applicants - 130 of them - so that Workshop director / bassist John Clayton and his faculty could select the finalists. Clayton visited "First Take with Lando and Chavis" to talk about his own jazz education and the climate at this year's 10-day jazz intensive.
"These are 12 of the top high school players in the nation," said Clayton. "It blows our mind how much vocabulary and insight they have at such a young age."
More than the sum of his film work – most notably the critically acclaimed Hunger, Shame, and 12 Years A Slave – the British-born Steve McQueen is also a distinguished visual artist. His works include sculpture, photography and video art.