Grammy Nominee Headlines Jazz Week

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A return appearance by popular pianist/vocalist and Grammy nominee Judy Roberts at 6 p.m., Friday, March 19 headlines the first Jazz Week in Payson.

"She does ‘Route 66,' she does Gershwin, she's just all over," local drummer and event organizer Gerry Reynolds said. "She turns the audience upside down."

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Judy Roberts will bring her terrific talents to the Rim country as part of Jazz Week with a performance Friday, March 19.

The Chicago Tribune called Roberts a first-rate jazz singer -- "blessed with an irrepressible musical imagination as well as the technique to give it life."

Jazz Week in Payson opens at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 14, with a concert by pianist Les Czimber.

"His style is just beautiful," Reynolds said. "He's not progressive, not far out. He just has a beautiful, contemporary piano style."

Czimber, a native of Hungary, was singer Al Jarreau's pianist for eight years. He later formed a seven-piece show group that performed in Reno and Lake Tahoe.

Both Roberts and Czimber will perform at Community Presbyterian Church, 800 W. Main Street.

The third major event of Jazz Week in Payson is a performance at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 17, by noted ragtime pianist Mark Allen Jones.

The St. Patrick's Day event will be held at Mad Dawg's & Mel's Restaurant, 202 W. Main Street.

Jazz Week in Payson concludes with a performance by the Payson Jazz Trio from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 20 at Mad Dawg's & Mel's. Reynolds, who will play drums at all three concerts, is a member of that group along with pianist Bob Smolenski and bassist Mike Buskirk.

All the Jazz Week in Payson events are free, but donations to help pay the musicians a modest stipend are welcome.

Reynolds asks that those planning to attend Roberts' or Czimber's concerts call him at (928) 468-1381 to reserve their seats.

"People just need to let me know they're coming so I can get a head count," he said.

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