This season’s last hurrah is Sunday, Aug. 6
A concert featuring the son of jazz legend Mel Torme along with a premiere of a commissioned piece highlight the final performance in this year’s Salzer Gordon Jazz in the Park.
The La Crosse Jazz Orchestra will be joined by two other ensembles to bring jazz to La Crosse’s Riverside Park from 5-9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6.
The Orchestra will premiere its first commissioned work. Band patrons Bill and Anita Doering commissioned noted composer Robert Lussier to write an original work — a power house version of Joshua Redman’s “Cat Battles.”
Headlining this year’s Jazz in the Park “Jazz Party” is singer Steven March Torme, son of jazz legend Mel Torme and stepson of actor/entertainer Hal March. Torme plans to perform a wide variety of music from some of his favorite artists, from Rodgers & Hart and Hammerstein to Stevie Wonder and The Beatles. Torme is excited for the audience to see the show and is apt to put a new spin on familiar favorites.
“I love throwing in a musical left turn or two, something the ear isn’t expecting in a song that’s been heard thousands of times,” he says. “That’s the fun challenge of singing standards for me, injecting my musical personality into a classic song that needs no help, and sharing that with an audience.” Humor and storytelling are another big part of the show. Torme appears with the La Crosse Jazz Orchestra starting at 7:15 p.m.
The first group to perform at 5 p.m. is the “Coulee Region All Star High School Jazz Band.” The ensemble, directed by Jim Knutson, has become a summer favorite and a welcome holdover from the La Crosse Jazz Festival. The band will perform a varied program of big band jazz.
United Kingdom bassist Michael Janisch’s “Paradigm Shift” Jazz Quintet will perform at 6 p.m. Based in London for the past several years, American-born Janisch is known for his versatility, full-toned sounds and passion for playing time and groove with authenticity and dedication, no matter the context. Janisch produces for his own record label, “Whirlwind,” and has released four albums of his own music on that label. Four noted musicians from New York and Minneapolis will join him for the performance.
As a special treat, NYC pianist Dave Marck will present a special short set of jazz standards in anticipation of his annual fall show on Viterbo’s Main Stage.