Pin It

On The Scene 

by Clint Burgess

This year's Dixieland Jazz Festival brought Dixieland devotees out in droves. It was a mob scene inside the Masonic Temple on Riverside: musicians bustling their way through the vaulted corridors, vendors with all kinds of memorabilia ... and then there was me, the only guy under 60. There was so much blue hair, I thought for a moment that I had stumbled into a punk rock show.

If you ever have the chance to attend this festival or any other event at the Masonic Temple, you must go, you must see. The architecture is outrageous, the d & eacute;cor and woodwork is intriguing and the musty smell of decades past hangs heavy in the air. I caught my first Dixieland act in the Blue Room, where the performer, Scott Kirby, was whipping the seniors into a frenzy with his Scott Joplin ragtime tunes on the piano. Kirby's adeptness on the keys was impressive. I was already gaining greater appreciation for the ragtime movement.

One source of confusion was the groups' labeling of themselves as jazz bands, when really they were focusing only on a fraction of jazz as a whole, the Dixieland era. But that was all right. I was still entertained and educated. Which brings me to the Evergreen Classic Jazz Band, a seven-piece ensemble tackling classic renditions of Dixieland tunes. The band's players included a doctor, a commercial airline pilot and a college professor. The brassy, get-up-and-jump feel of the music was enough to get the show-goers out of their seats for a spin around the dance floor. Believe me, there is life after retirement.

The final group that I caught was Jean Kittrel and the St. Louis Rivermen. These guys really shook things up. In the jazz tradition, after the entire ensemble developed a theme, things got interesting: each player then took a turn soloing. And that' s just where this collection of fine musicians shined. Each member turned in technically sound yet imaginative solos -- each intertwining smoothly with the next without missing a beat. One festival attendee, 91-year-old Art Chevigny, was thoroughly impressed with "Red" Lehr, the Sousaphone player (big horn, looks like a tuba). "Keep an eye on that guy," he enthused. "He made me cry last year."

The majority of the acts became repetitive after awhile, but that didn't seem to stop the crowd from getting out on the dance floor to shake their hips (replaced or the ones God gave them). The mood was light, the music was grand, and this year's Dixieland Jazz Festival was another one for the aged... uh, I mean ages.

Publication date: 06/19/03
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Defending North Idaho
  • Defending North Idaho

    Why Heather Scott must go
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • How's That For Respect?
  • How's That For Respect?

    Trail Mix: Trump's respectful groping allegations and WA's minimum wage raise
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Accidents All Over
  • Accidents All Over

    This Congress is perhaps the least productive and worst reviewed since the Civil War; will anybody pay for that?
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Spokane Artist Trading Card Swap

Spokane Artist Trading Card Swap @ Boots Bakery & Lounge

Last Wednesday of every month

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Clint Burgess

  • The Word Made Fresh

    & & by Luke Baumgarten and Clint Burgess & & & r & It's gotta be tough to do publicity for Christian rock. The evangelical idea that the secular world is the devil's domain - that it's the fiery gauntlet you have to navigate to get your eternal reward - turns
    • Sep 21, 2005
  • Summer Adventure - NW Fishing

    Fishing is a way to absorb the natural surroundings of the region we call home, to commune with the spirits of generations gone before who dropped their lines the same way we do today. Besides, it's
    • Jul 13, 2005
  • Honda Gets Tough

    As a rule, certain car companies are known for specific models and typically excel at what they do within a specific type of vehicle. For example, Dodge is known for its trucks, Toyota for its sedans, Mazda for its sports cars and so fort
    • Jul 6, 2005
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • The Do-Over

    After failing to pass a bus service tax hike last year, Spokane Transit Authority has a plan to get you to vote for it again
    • Oct 6, 2016
  • Pants on Fire

    U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers can't see the forest for the trees when it comes to climate change
    • Oct 6, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


green zone


trail mix

Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • A Persistent Life
  • A Persistent Life

    Scott Reed won more cases than he lost in life, and the beauty of the Coeur d'Alene area has been the beneficiary
    • May 27, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation