What began as one band's desire to honor what would have been the 100th birthday of Jazz legend Count Basie seems to have become an annual event in Carson City, with the second "Basically Basie" festival set to explore the intricacies of that uniquely American art form this weekend.
A partnership that started last year with Mile High Jazz Band director David Bugli's wish to honor Basie with a concert at the Brewery Arts Center grew into a festival of more than a dozen acts, after word of the performance started getting around in the close-knit jazz community.
The show turned into a festival and it was enough of a hit that the BAC, the Mile High Jazz Band and several other contributors are trying it once more.
"During the festival, we handed out evaluation forms and the one thing that kept popping up was: 'Please do this again,'" said Elinor Bugli, David's wife and BAC member.
This year, the festival has grown by nearly 50 percent, with 20 bands scheduled to play from Friday through Sunday (Count Basie's birthday) on two outdoor stages at the BAC buildings on West King Street. With help from local agencies and businesses, and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Nevada Arts Council, the entire event will be free.
West Carson City's Minnesota Street will be closed from Second to King streets for visitors and vendors to mill about at the festival.
New BAC Executive Director John Procaccini said "Basically Basie" is the highlight of BAC events for the summer, when the organization "tend(s) to lay low."
"I think all the partnerships just had a little more synergy this year," Procaccini said of the festival's growth.
The music industry veteran, who took over as head of the nonprofit arts organization this past spring, said the most impressive thing to him about the lineup is the diversity of styles.
It's all one form or another of jazz, he said, but influences ranging from Latin to blues music are apparent in the many performers. That variety shows the evolution of jazz across time and geographic regions, he said.
The festival boasts examples of pretty much all genres, he said, excluding "smooth jazz."
n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.
Basically Basie Jazz Festival
An "intimate stage" will be in the Brewery Arts Center parking lot at 449 W. King St. The headliner stage will be in the BAC Performance Hall parking lot at 511 W. King St.
• 6-6:55 p.m. - Vocal Art Works
• 7-7:55 p.m. - Johnny Hamlin Trio - intimate stage
• 8-10 p.m. - Reno Jazz Orchestra
• Noon-12:40 p.m. - Brad Lund Trio with June Joplin
• 12:45-1:25 p.m. - Red Davidson Trio - intimate stage
• 1:30-2:10 p.m. - Millennium Bugs
• 2:15-2:55 p.m. - Martin & Vargas Trio (Spanish guitar) - intimate stage
• 3-4:10 p.m. - Colin Ross Band
• 4:15-4:45 p.m. - Bob & Stan - intimate stage
• 4:50-5:20 p.m. - Reno Exchange (jazz vocals)
• 5:25-5:55 p.m. - Dave Fritz (jazz guitar) - intimate stage
• 6-7:10 p.m. - 2 Plus
• 7:15-7:55 p.m. - Bobby Joe Holman - intimate stage
• 8-10 p.m. - Bella Voce and Mile High Jazz Band with Sheryl Adams
Sunday, Count Basie's birthday
• 1-1:30 p.m. Susan Olenwine
• 1:30-2 p.m. Kris Landrum
• 2-2:30 p.m. - Bob Greenwood
• 2:30-3:25 - Lisa DeSpain
• 3:30-4:10 p.m. - Phil Jerome Trio - intimate stage
• 4:15-6:10 p.m. - C.H. KYO (jazz & blues)
• 6:15-6:55 p.m. - Harp & Vibes (Colgan & Venuto) - intimate stage
• 7-9 p.m. - Big Swing Band with Buddy Wright