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Jazzoula spotlights Missoula musicians

Jazzoula spotlights Missoula musicians

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Melody Anderson

Vocalist Melody Anderson will be honored at the annual Jazzoula festival this year. At right is pianist Jodi Marshall, another member of the Missoula Jazz and Blues Society Hall of Fame.

Missoula's jazz fans no longer have to fit all their festival-going into a single week.

This year, the University of Montana's Buddy DeFranco Jazz Festival was moved to March to accommodate schedules of the many participating state and regional high school groups.

Jazzoula, which showcases the city's own musicians, used to precede the big festival as an unofficial wind-up to the big DeFranco concerts.

After the date change on campus, organizers opted to hold Jazzoula at its usual time in late April.

The change is a win-win for audiences, said Bruce Micklus, who founded the festival 11 years ago along with the Missoula Jazz and Blues Society.

The former Monday-Saturday combo could be a long haul for the musicians and fans involved.

"That's a heck of a load for jazz fans, especially considering the demographic that seems to be responsive to jazz," he said.

Logistical changes aside, the lineup includes the usual who's-who of the Missoula jazz community.

Pianist Jodi Marshall, vocalist Eden Atwood, reedman Chuck Florence, vocalist Kimberlee Carlson and Ron Meissner Jazz Quartet are all in the lineup.

Former Missoula resident Bob Packwood will perform a selection of solo piano tunes.

This year's Jazz and Blues Society Hall of Fame Award goes to Melody Anderson.

"Her award is much deserved," Micklus said, citing her decades of work in the community as a vocalist and vocal teacher.

At the festival each Tuesday, she's featured a number of her student vocalists for Missoula's Youngest Divas.

In addition to the veteran musicians from the community, younger musicians from the University of Montana jazz program will perform: The Monk Lives combo; Soulja Boyds, fronted by two tenor saxophones with guitar, bass and drums, will play jazz standards plus some modern jazz charts and an original tune; Boydz to Men, a trombone, tenor sax and trumpet front line.

The latter two groups are the Lance Boyd combos from the University of Montana, named after the former longtime director of the UM jazz program.

The concerts will all take place in the community hall of St. Anthony's Church on Tremont Street. As per tradition, they'll decorate the hall to create a comfortable night-club setting open to all ages.

SCHEDULE

Monday, April 20

Rhanda Johnson and Easy Livin'

Boydz to Men featuring Nathan Crawford and Barbara Shinaver

Josh Farmer with Caleb VanGelder and Steve Kalling

Basement Boyz

Tuesday, April 21

UM Monk Lives Combo

Missoula's Youngest Divas

Jodi Marshall with Bill Haffey

Canta Brasil (Magda Chaney, Pedro Marques, Jeff Stickney, Dexter Payne, David Horgan, Beth Lo, Bob Ledbetter

Captain Wilson Conspiracy

Wednesday, April 22

Soulja Boyds

Eden Atwood and Friends

Chuck Florence with Jim Driscoll and Pete Hand

Kimberlee Carlson and Ron Meissner Jazz Quartet

Jazz for Fun with Stephane Gariepy

Thursday, April 23

Joan Zen Sextet

Bob Packwood

Hornin In, the UM Jazz Intruders

Melody Anderson, receiving the Missoula Blues and Jazz Society 2015 Hall of Fame Award

Airmail Special with Chuck Florence, David Horgan, Pete Hand, Jeff Stickney and Dexter Payne

Check Jazzoula on Facebook for possible updates to the lineups.

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