Blowing Rock Jazz Society to release album
The Blowing Rock Jazz Society hosts concerts every second Sunday at Blowing Rock's Meadowbrook Inn.
This summer, they'll be in your home.
The society celebrates its 10th anniversary in June, and, to celebrate a decade's worth of music, members are releasing the first in a series of compilation albums - Centerpiece, Vol. 1 - Selections of Live Jazz Concerts presented by the Blowing Rock Jazz Society.
"It gives you the opportunity to take a front-row seat," Blowing Rock Jazz Society (BRJS) founder and president Fred Germann said. "I've always liked to do live recordings, because it's just a different experience to hear it. It almost puts you there in the audience."
The inaugural album features performances from the last two years of BRJS concerts, including those from regional jazz luminaries Rick Simerly, Rick Dilling, Steve Davidowski, Andy Page, Larry Lapin, Jed Levy, Jon Metzger, Michelle Amato, Noel Freidline, Renee Ebalaroza, Bill Hanna, Southern Fried Dixieland Band, Jeff Lashway, Toni Tupponce, Gregg and Kathy Gelb, Seth Carper and Mike Holstein.
In keeping with the BRJS mission, proceeds from CD sales will benefit Appalachian State University's jazz studies program, helmed by saxophonist Todd Wright.
Recordings were made professionally by Scott Wynne and staff of ASU's R.F. Gilley Recording Studio for a result Germann said "worked out just fine."
"This is an idea I've had for along time," Germann said. "I just thought I'd like to produce a CD to raise some funds for the jazz studies program."
And it's the first of many. Germann hopes the first volume will be released in time for the society's June 13 anniversary concert, but said it will be available in July at the latest. When released, Centerpiece will be available at BRJS concerts and area businesses to be determined.
Germann expects a diverse market for a diverse album.
In the album's liner notes, he says, "This centerpiece of music is a tribute to all the great talent that has pursued the performance of America's original art form - jazz. It's America's classical music. Jazz allows the artist freedom of expression and improvisation, musically painting creative new ideas on an ever-changing canvas.
"The selections on this recording have allowed us to present a many-flavored jazz presentation, featuring a variety of different styles that represent a wide and enjoyable scope of this art form."
BRJS started in June 2000, and has since presented more than 115 live concerts, featuring more than 300 musicians - all of whom Germann said wish to return.
"The musicians who appear on this recording are donating their talent to help us raise funds for the Appalachian State University jazz studies program, which will allow young students to further their passion and pursuit of jazz as a career," he says in the notes. "The proceeds from the sale of this CD will allow the jazz torch to burn brightly at (ASU). My dreams have come true, a jazz society and this Vol. 1 CD."
When Germann founded the BRJS, he'd just moved to Blowing Rock from Hilton Head, S.C., having organized a jazz society there with almost 800 members and showcasing regional performers.
Encouraged to start a similar society in the High Country, Germann took money from his pocket, opened a bank account, and negotiated a venue with the Meadowbrook Inn, where the concerts have been held ever since.
The society, a nonprofit organization, now boasts more than 100 members, corporate sponsorships, a dedicated group of supporters and some of the best acts the country has to offer, Germann said, presenting concerts every second Sunday of the month.
Its 10th anniversary show will feature vocalist Lynn Roberts, pianist Bob Alberti, drummer Jim Lackey and bassist Mike Holstein. The concert kicks off at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for general admission, $5 for students and free for jazz society members.
Membership to the Blowing Rock Jazz Society costs $75 per year, what Germann called an affordable price for a year's worth of concerts, which are held every month at the Meadowbrook Inn restaurant, except for December.
The Meadowbrook Inn is located at 711 Main St. in Blowing Rock. For more information, call (828) 295-4300 or visit brjs.blogspot.com.