Duke Ellington famously said, “By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn’t want your daughter to associate with.” We don’t completely disagree. The Katy/West Houston Jazz Festival celebrates that jazz is also a hallmark of free thinkers and those who can appreciate art without fences.
Featured evening concerts include a Friday performance by the Texas Music Festival Jazz Project, under the direction of Noe Marmolejo, and a Saturday performance by the Brad Leali Sextet. Led by saxophonist and University of North Texas alum Leali, the all-star group includes trumpeter Derrick Gardner, who has worked with giants like Dizzy Gillespie and Tony Bennett. (Gardner’s own compositions show off his talent best, as with the everlasting cartwheel of notes that make up “A Ride to the Other Side.”) There’s also Houston’s own, trombone player Andre Hayward, pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist John Brown and drummer Alvester Garnett. Grammy-nominated vocalist Carla Helmbrecht will also be on hand. (Her rendition of “Be Cool, Be Kind,” from her 2001 CD release of the same name, is just shy of vocal perfection.)
Performances by local jazz ensembles are also on the program for Friday and Saturday with the associated Katy Guitar Festival concerts slated for Saturday. Things start off at 4 p.m. Friday, with Texas Music Festival Jazz Project taking the stage at 7:30 p.m. Start time is 9 a.m. Saturday, with the Brad Leali Sextet performing at 7:30 p.m. Katy High School, 6331 Highway Boulevard. For information, call 281-396-2270 or visit westhoustonjazz.com.
Fri., April 27, 4-9 p.m.; Sat., April 28, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., 2012