Zoot Fest 2014


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Jazz enthusiasts, get ready for a day of listening pleasure! Tickets are now on sale for East Stroudsburg University's fourth annual Zoot Fest, a day of jazz music honoring legends Al Cohn and Zoot Sims. Zoot Fest will take place from noon to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 9, 2014 at the Innovation Center, located at 562 Independence Road in East Stroudsburg, with proceeds to benefit the university's Al Cohn Memorial Jazz Collection (ACMJC) as well as other initiatives to benefit jazz education and preservation in the Pocono region. Seating for this event is limited and tickets are now on sale at $50 per person ($25 per ESU student with valid identification), which includes the program, lunch and refreshments.

Zoot Fest festivities will include performances and panel discussions relative to a variety of jazz musicians, offering insight into the history of jazz and the diversity in the genre's music. According to this year's organizer and professional musician Matthew Vashlishan, D.M.A., Zoot Fest will kick off with a performance by the Patrick McGee group, a band comprised of “young lions" budding on the music scene. Their performance will be followed by a lecture and open panel discussion about Al Cohn and Zoot Sims, and a luncheon for all attendees.

The afternoon will kick off with a jam session for musicians led by drummer Bill Goodwin, leading into the main performance, a musical tribute celebrating the life of jazz great Zoot Sims performed by: Larry McKenna, tenor saxophone; Bill Mays, piano; Steve Gilmore, bass; and Tom Whaley, drums. Zoot Fest will close with a re-creation of the music from “Al Cohn and the Natural Seven" featuring: Warren Vache, trumpet; Lew Tabackin, tenor saxophone; John Mosca, trombone; Joe Cohn, guitar; Bill Crow, bass; and, Bill Goodwin, drums.

Zoot Fest was started in 2000 by Bob Bush, then coordinator of the Al Cohn Memorial Jazz Collection (ACMJC) at ESU, to honor the music of Zoot Sims and Al Cohn. Zoot Fest also aims to raise awareness of the ACMJC, which includes pieces that can be found nowhere else. The majority of the collection features Al Cohn's music, which naturally leads to his collaboration with Zoot Sims. Zoot Sims was a tenor saxophonist from the 40s through the 80s who exemplified a “swingin'" musician and could improvise anything. His connection to Al Cohn was both friendship and music and they performed together on a regular basis. Al and Zoot are household names in the jazz community and are rarely named without the other.

Dedicated to preserving all forms of jazz from all eras, the ACMJC was founded in 1988 to honor the life and legacy of Al Cohn – legendary saxophonist, arranger, composer and conductor, and long-time Pocono resident. This collection includes the Zoot Sims Collection donated by his wife, Louise Sims. Housed in ESU's Kemp library, the ACMJC consists of jazz recordings, oral histories, sheet music and arrangements, photographs, books, videos, and original art and memorabilia, all generously donated over the years by supporters from around the world. Its official jazz magazine, The Note, is published twice a year and distributed to a world-wide readership.

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