Sound of the bayou heads for the hills
Last year, Bob and Mary Noone donated two cars to Hurricane Katrina survivors from New Orleans.This summer, they’re bringing the music of the Big Easy to Glenwood Springs for the 21st season of Summer of Jazz, June 7 through July 26.”Glenwood Springs will be the New Orleans of the Rockies, so dress appropriately,” said Bob, an attorney with the Noone Law Firm and co-founder of the annual summer music event. “We’re having all New Orleans-based groups. It will be eight Wednesdays of revelry.”The Noones leave for Louisiana next Wednesday for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival taking place April 28-30 and May 5-7. They’ll attend a music industry party and live shows to scout New Orleans jazz musicians for Summer of Jazz.”We’re going to the festival’s kickoff party and will be there for the first weekend. We’ll be meeting record executives, agents and musicians to get a good feel for the artists we should be featuring,” Bob said. “We’re taking advantage of the party Wednesday night. We’ll be looking for diamonds in the rough.”
Mary said the idea of a themed season came after Hurricane Katrina hit and she saw the impact the tragedy had on the city’s culture.”This is the first time we’ve done a theme. We feel this is an important theme. That’s the whole premise – after Hurricane Katrina, listening to the musicians and how they were split up and relocated. That’s the music jazz is based on,” she said. “It made me very sad that the bands dispersed. They’re all over the place. We’re afraid that the long-term impact of Katrina’s destruction will extend to the city’s music and culture. We figure the best way to help them is to hire them.”Post-Katrina, the Noones helped a family and a physical therapist in need by donating their automobiles. The Hot Springs Pool and Lodge offered rooms for the Katrina evacuees to stay in as they picked up the cars and drove them back to their home state.”We called an agent in New Orleans and we put the word out with Basin Street Records that we had cars,” Bob said. “In New Orleans, we’re staying with a friend who almost lost his house to a 200-foot pecan tree. He’s one of the fellows who came down to get our old Land Rover. Land Rover Roaring Fork volunteered to fix up the car, and we filled it up with old (Summer of ) Jazz shirts and stickers. The only stipulation was we told him we expect to see half the town walking around with Glenwood Springs Summer of Jazz T-shirts and stickers next week.”The Noones also donated their old Jeep Cherokee to a family affected by the hurricane.”Jimmy’s 66 drained the coolant so it wouldn’t overheat when they were driving it back to New Orleans,” Bob said. “And Jimmy’s family put boxes of food and clothes in there to take back.”
Summer of Jazz’s first act on June 7 features clarinetist Michael White, who is also rebuilding his life after the destructive hurricane.”Evidently he lost everything in Katrina,” Bob said. “He’s bringing with him a trumpeter who is also a vocalist, a banjo player and a stand-up bass player. We just want to keep the New Orleans musicians playing together. It’s an opportunity for them to play and reinstate the musical ties that brought them together before Katrina.”
Through the 21 years of Summer of Jazz, Mary said she and Bob have enjoyed welcoming Cajun acts to Glenwood Springs.”We like when they come early, on Tuesdays. The musicians love when they come – they get to walk around, go rafting,” Mary said. “People will say ‘We saw the musicians at City Market,’ and I ask, ‘How do you know they were musicians?’ They say, ‘Well, they’re wearing yellow linen suits and shades.'”This year, the Noones hope to present a variety of New Orleans jazz to the summer’s audiences.
“The goal is to present eight weeks of distinct forms of jazz,” Bob said. “We want as much original improvisation as possible.”Mary – who said some of the best acts Summer of Jazz has hosted have hailed from New Orleans – agreed.”When we say ‘New Orleans music,’ we’ll have different kinds of music, not just New Orleans jazz street music,” she said.The Noones expect a successful trip down on the Bayou scouting musicians for Summer of Jazz. “We don’t know what we’re going to find, but we’re looking forward to it,” Mary said. “We’d like to form a bond between Glenwood Springs and New Orleans. It’s going to be a real musical adventure.”Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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