The Payson Jazz Trio, featuring Bob Smolenski on piano, Mike Buskirk on bass and Gerry Reynolds on drums, with special guest, John Darst on guitar, will perform at the Jan. 11 Payson Friends of Jazz and Community Presbyterian Church jazz concert. The program starts at 2 p.m. at the church, which is located at 800 W. Main St. in Payson.
The monthly Sunday jazz concerts at the Community Presbyterian Church continue in 2009 after seven successful years of performances. Hosted by the church and supported by The Payson Friends of Jazz, this event brings outstanding professional musicians from across the country to Payson each month.
With a nod to the surprisingly diverse hometown talent, the 2009 series opens featuring several local talented musicians.
John Darst, a gifted guitarist, is our guest this month, and he will be featured on a number of tunes. Employed by Northland Pioneer College in Show Low, Darst finds time to exercise his passion for jazz guitar by playing regularly in coffee houses and at private parties in that area, as well as coming to sit-in and jam in Payson.
Pianist Bob Smolenski, a resident of Geronimo Estates, returned to his keyboard after retiring from a busy insurance practice. As a piano student of Valley professional Beth Lederman, Smolenski has become a very accomplished jazz piano player, and he leads the Payson Jazz Trio.
Many know that the Payson Unified School District has an outstanding music program.
Mike Buskirk, the PJT bass player, is a PUSD music teacher and a mainstay in the program. A multi-talented musician, Mike plays an array of instruments, from hand bells to bass trombone, as well as string bass in the trio.
Many know drummer Gerry Reynolds as the coordinator of the monthly jazz performances. He co-founded the PJT with Bob and Mike, a group that is currently playing at the Strawberry Lodge on Saturday evenings.
He has also played in the Valley for eight years in the Pita Jungle Restaurant jazz trio, where he performs with other professional vocalists and instrumentalists who sit-in to jam with the band.
Jazz performances at the Community Presbyterian Church are organized by the Payson Friends of Jazz, the founding group of volunteers whose mission is to keep jazz alive in the Rim Country.
Each event is supported solely by the donations received. Therefore, it is requested that a donation of $5 or more be made at the door.
Refreshments will be served.
Contact Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to let us know that you are coming.