JONESBORO – Arkansas’s oldest public broadcasting station, KASU Radio 91.9 FM of Arkansas State University, will present “Jazz for the Holidays”, Saturday Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m., in downtown Pocahontas, at The Rendezvous Event Center, 106 West Everett Street.
Featured musicians will perform traditional holiday songs with jazzed-up arrangements and improvisational jam sections to create a festive atmosphere for all. Admission price at the door is a $10 suggested donation and $5 for students. The concert has underwriting support from River Bank of Pocahontas and Corning.
Performers include Lisa Ahia (vocals), Joy Sanford (piano), Gary Gazaway (trumpet), and Tim Crouch (fiddle). Special guest musicians are Jay Shepard (guitar), Tom Mason (bass), and John Long (drums).
Vocalist Lisa Ahia began performing in shows with her father Sam Ahia, Hawaii’s premier jazz guitarist and Polynesian entertainer, when she was eight years old. Since that time, she has been performing traditional Hawaiian music and American jazz standards for audiences from Honolulu to Nashville, and now Arkansas.
She is also an accomplished performer on the ukulele, a small Hawaiian guitar, and has been featured as a musician, vocalist and master of ceremonies for some of the major Polynesian shows in Hawaii. Ahia also has a deep love for music of The Great American Songbook, and she has her own original style in that genre.
With great depth and emotion, her lush velvet voice sings the melody and lyrics with her unique interpretation and phrasing. Some of her favorite vocalists are Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McCrae, Shirley Horn, Dinah Washington, Johnny Hartman, Chet Baker, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra. Ahia has recorded and performed with artists including Victor Wooten, Hugo Fattoruso, Toninho Horta, Charles Thomas, Buck Powell, Ernest Vantrease, Erich Avinger and many others.
Pianist Joy Sanford is originally from Hardy and studied at Arkansas State under Myron Myers, a legendary maestro and professor of piano in the music department. Sanford taught band and choir in the Arkansas public school system for 30 years, studied jazz piano at the acclaimed Jamey Abersold Jazz Workshops in Louisville, and has performed with many important musicians and entertainers during her musical career.
She is a resident of Jonesboro and performs for public and private events. Listeners are impressed by her special touch and exceptional mastery of the instrument, and her diverse ability to accompany vocalists and musicians from any musical genre.
Trumpeter, composer and producer Gary Gazaway is originally from Northeast Arkansas, where he was influenced by the region’s rich musical heritage of blues, soul, rockabilly, folk, country and jazz. In 1976, he began working and performing extensively in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Nashville and Hawaii, researching, documenting, and studying the culture, music, and folklore of each community.
Gazaway has recorded or performed with a long list of diverse Latin and American artists including the Machito Orchestra, Israel Lopez (Cachou), Celia Cruz, Airto and Flora Purim, OPA, Jaco Pastorius, Herb Alpert, Steve Winwood, Joe Cocker, The Memphis Horns, Robert Palmer, Delbert McClinton, George Jones, The Commitments, Nnenna Freelon, Victor Wooten, Derek Trucks, and Phish. He has recording credits on more than 25 albums, including five multi-platinum. Gazaway is an alumnus of A-State where he studied media communication and music.
Violinist, mandolin, and guitar virtuoso Tim Crouch is from Strawberry. He has been influenced by the bluegrass sounds of Bill Monroe and Flatt and Scruggs, the western swing of Bob Wills, the country sounds of Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb, the jazz of Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. He has performed and or recorded with George Jones, Dolly Parton, Glen Campbell, Andy Williams, Marty Stuart, The Oak Ridge boys, Charley Pride, Jerry Reed, Mike Snider, The Grand Ole Opry, and many other artists.
Crouch has appeared and performed on televised shows including David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, CBS Early Morning, The Grand Ole Opry Live, Austin City Limits, Hee Haw, Academy Of Country Music Awards, and History of the Grand Ole Opry. He produced Emmy Award-winner and Academy Award-nominee Mare Winningham’s new album “Refuge, Rock, Sublime,” and has recently been recording and touring with Alan Jackson.
For additional information, contact Mike Doyle, KASU station manager, at (870) 972-3486 or through email at mdoyle@AState.edu.
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Story photo: Tim Crouch. Featured photo: Joy Sanford, Lisa Ahia and Gary Gazaway.
This and other news releases also available at: AState.edu/news