The Roaring Fork Jazz Party |

The Roaring Fork Jazz Party

Classic jazz connoisseurs like their jazz “straight-ahead.”

And that is why the sounds of Cole Porter, John Coltrane, Gershwin, and Duke Ellington filled the halls of the Hotel Colorado Saturday, Oct. 28, and Sunday, Oct. 29.

Walt Smith started the annual event in 1974 in his backyard with 40 people. This year the show brought more than 100 people to Glenwood from Vail, Grand Junction and Aspen.

Event organizer Connie McCrudden said that the music stems from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. “It’s from that old era, it’s just such beautiful music, and we are trying to keep it alive,” she said.

Trombonist Al Hermann explained why jazz is different from other kinds of music. “It pervades yours soul,” he said. “Your heart has to participate in it.” Hermann said that playing jazz requires a greater level of performance than playing other forms of music.

“It’s a higher art than symphonic music.” He said.

It also requires a great deal of improvisation among the musicians. “They play off each other … Walt has picked up a great deal of talent,” Said Rolly Fischer. “This is some of the best jazz in the state.”

The musical lineup included a mix of eight local and out-of-town musicians.

Hermann, a physicist, prefers playing jazz to his day job.

“It’s instant gratification,” he said.

Walt Smith and Friends performs live jazz every Tuesday night at the Buffalo Valley.

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