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News Release – Chandler, AZ – Nov. 14, 2006
 

blue mallets

   

Three Jazz Leaders from Top Traditional Bands
and JOHN COCUZZI Named “JAZZ AMBASSADORS”
at Recent Arizona Classic Jazz Festival
in Renowned San Marcos Resort

CHANDLER, AZ — Pieter Meijers, Jim Ritter, and Frank Mesich, leaders of the High Sierra and Buck Creek Jazz Bands, respectively, were created “Jazz Ambassadors” for 2007 by World Jazz Recording impresario Barker Hickox at ACJS’ Jazz Weekend on November 9th to 12th, 2006.

Leader and reed player, Pieter Meijers, obviously surprised by his blue wind breaker with its Jazz Ambassador emblem thereon, “quipped” that it was obvious the honor was bestowed on him because of his band’s top selling performance of ACJS’ 2005 CD, recorded at last year’s November Festival, which included four cuts by his Jazz Band!

When Buck Creek’s leaders Ritter and Mesich were accorded their “Jazz Ambassador” jackets, Hickox allowed that the Virginia based Buck Creek Jazz Band had been among his favorite Jazz Groups for over 25 years. (He personally had underwritten Buck Creek’s recent appearance at this 2006 Event.)

Also awarded a “Jazz Ambassador” blue wind cover was pianist-vibraphonist-vocalist (and drummer) JOHN COCUZZI, who has performed on six CDs released by Arizona Cactus World Jazz Recordings. “Embraceable You,” released in March of this year, is a Twin Piano recording with Coccuzi and John Sheridan thereon, with four great vocals by “J.C.”! (His other five CDs on this label are with a Quintet/Sextet on which he plays “vibes” and on four of them, John also has jazz greats Allan Vaché and John Sheridan playing clarinet and piano, respectively.)

At this year’s 2006 November Jazz Festival, the ACWJ label recorded eight groups for over 18 hours of live traditional jazz. Producer Hickox says his first CD “John Cocuzzi, Live!…in Cactus Country” will be release in mid-January, and another CD “Top Jazz Bands in the Desert – 2006” will be available in mid-February! (Two additional CD Jazz recordings are expected to be released in April and May, with more of this past weekend’s recorded music thereon.)

Of special note is that the net proceeds from all CD sales by ACJS goes to their Jazz Youth programs which support local high school jazz groups and sends promising jazz players to jazz camps every summer.

Cocuzzi, Ritter and Mesich, and Pieter Meijers join other Jazz Ambassadors so honored in late September at the Summit Jazz Festival in Denver, namely Jim Cullum, noted band leader/coronetist; Jeff Barnhart, band leader/pianist; and Juanita Greenwood, Summit Jazz Festival’s well-known jazz events Director from “the Mile High City”.

 

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