Bernice Fortin Chesi is an unabashed jazz fan and her must-sees are all locally grown.
“The Pete Swan Quartet is by far the top jazz scene in Tucson,” she says.
“I can explain my passion for them in jazz terms: They connect and inspire amazing sounds from each other. You just have to be a true jazz lover to get it.”
The band plays at Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort from 6-9 on Friday and Sunday nights, and 5:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday nights at Sullivan’s Steakhouse. In addition to Swan, the quartet consists of Bruce Winston, Angelo Versace and Scott Black. That’s like a list of who’s-who in jazz — and their reputations extend far beyond Tucson. Check out what else is going on with the quartet at peteswan.com.
Chesi also frequents the Lookout Tucson Jazz Series at the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa, and she especially hits it when Cynthia Hilts performs tunes from the Great Amerian Songbook. She’ll be doing that Sept. 19. “Cynthia has a passionate old and new jazz style going on,” says Chesi. “She writes, composes original new music and nails the standards. Amazing pianist and vocalist.”
And when the Tucson Jazz Institute Ellington Band takes the stage Nov. 9, Chesi will be there. The award-winning band, made up of high school students who are serious about the music, “are our jazz at our up-and-coming best,” she says. “It blows me away how these teenagers have learned to love and be passionate about old-school jazz. They feel it, get it, and play it like old souls.” Check out the TJI’s website for more information on the band and the school: tucsonjazzinstitute.org. (DesertView Performing Arts Center).
Any jazz lover would have “Take Me to the River Live! Celebrating the Music of New Orleans” as a gotta-go-no-matter-what concert. The group, here Oct. 8, is made up of all-stars, including The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Ivan Neville, Ian Neville, and Walter “Wolfman” Washington. (Fox Tucson Theater)
Chanteuse Ann Hampton Callaway is a staggeringly good jazz singer, but she pays tribute to Linda Ronstadt when she performs the Linda Ronstadt Songbook Oct. 26. The Tony-nominated Callaway, who recently relocated to Tucson from New York, has a new CD coming out Oct. 19, “Jazz Goes to the Movies.” She is a spellbinding performer. Check out what else she has going on at annhamptoncallaway.com. (Fox Tucson)