Jazz Legends LIVE! swings into its sixteenth year on Saturday, September 23rd. This collaborative concert brings jazz greats from around the world for a once in a lifetime creative collaboration, celebrating Tucson’s place in the world of jazz.

Jazz Legends LIVE was founded in 2001 by Al and Marilyn Cook in the backyard of their Oro Valley home. Over the course of its history the event has presented an array of the world’s greatest performing artists, including John Clayton, Wycliffe Gordon, Todd Coolman, Lewis Nash, Grace Kelly, and Corey Wilcox, and the talented lineup scheduled for 2017 is sure to impress jazz fans of all ages.

“Each year the lineup features a collection of truly fantastic jazz talent,” Kate Marquez, SAACA’s Executive Director, says of the event. “In 2017 we’re reaching across genres and styles to continue to strive for the unique sound and experience Jazz Legend attendees have come to expect.”
In addition to its fundraising goals for SAACA’s creative arts therapy programs, Jazz Legends LIVE! seeks to define paths and expand the possibilities for all artists, from emerging and lesser-known musicians, to jazz students and today’s top jazz stars.

The event will be held at The Lodge at Ventana Canyon, 6200 N. Club House Ln., offering an intimate setting for the concert. All the proceeds raised from the event help SAACA continue to fund Creative Arts Therapy and Arts Education programs in the community.

Concert tickets can be purchased for $65 (middle rows) or $55 (back rows). For an upgraded event experience, a $150 ticket will offer attendees VIP front row concert seating, and a three course dinner prior to the concert featuring live music from the UA Studio Jazz Ensemble.  Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 7 p.m.  
The 2017 Jazz Legends are:
Lewis Nash, Drums
“Rhythm Is My Business” is the title of his debut recording as a leader, and rhythm is a booming business as far as Lewis Nash is concerned. He is the drummer of choice for an incredible array of artists - from the masters of the music to the hottest young players of today - and is equally in demand as a clinician and educator.
Currently, while he continues to perform and record with a wide variety of artists, Nash leads several of his own exciting groups, from duo to septet. Outside of his many touring and recording accomplishments, thanks to the sponsorship of Sonor drums, Zildjian cymbals, Remo drumheads and Regal Tip drumsticks, Lewis has become a sought after jazz educator.
Bobby Floyd, Piano
Bobby Floyd’s talent has launched him into a very rewarding career, putting him in demand and making him one of the favorite, first-call pianists/organists for many well known artists. He has traveled the world accompanying Ray Charles on piano and organ. He currently makes guest appearances with some of the most distinguished orchestras, including The Boston Pops, The Rochester Philharmonic, and The Detroit Symphony. He is presently the feature pianist for the world-famous and legendary Count Basie Orchestra. He also tours nationally and internationally as organist for the Grammy Award winning Dr. John.
Niki Haris, Vocals
Niki Haris, daughter of Grammy nominated jazz pianist Gene Harris, grew up in Middle America, Benton Harbor, Michigan. She was college educated in Southern California. Niki then pursued her singing career in the usual amusement parks and clubs in the California area. This dynamic woman has since gone on to work with a multitude of recording artist ranging from Pop, R&B, to Jazz. Her live performances and recording experience reads like a who¹s who of the music world. With names such as; Ray Charles, David Sanborn, Patrice Rushen, Michael Sembello, Leann Rimes, Michelle Branch, Santana, Kylie Minogue, Luther Vandross, All Saints, Wilton Felder of the Jazz Crusaders, Stanley Turrentine, the Righteous Bros., Julian Lennon, Anita Baker, Mick Jagger, Whitney Houston and Madonna.
Niki continues to share her gifts throughout the years by performing at a multitude of benefits for AIDS, Cancer research as well as Camp Harmony for inner city children. Niki continues to be called upon to lend her inspirational voice by notable speakers such as Mark Victor Hansen ³Chicken soup for the Soul² & Reverend Michael Beckwith (The Secret) She is also a strong supporter for the Music in the Classroom program and RAAD, Rockers Against Drunk Driving.

Tom Kennedy, Acoustic & Electric Guitar
Tom Kennedy is an accomplished touring and studio musician who ranks as one of the top acoustic and electric bass players in the world.  By his late teens, he had already performed with jazz icons such as Freddie Hubbard, James Moody, Nat Adderly, Sonny Stitt, George Russell, Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis. Since then, Tom has performed and recorded with Mike Stern, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Dave Weckl, Michael and Randy Brecker, Al DiMeola, Simon Phillips, Steve Gadd, Frank Gambale, Steve Lukather, David Sanborn, Jeff Lorber, Ricky Lawson, Joe Sample and Harvey Mason, to name a few.  Tom has released five solo projects to date and has appeared on over 200 recordings.
All the proceeds raised from this unique support SAACA’s Creative Arts Therapy and Arts Education programs in the community.
For information visit www.saaca.org/jazzlegends or call (520) 797-3959.

Tucson to host jazz legends on September 23 for benefit concert

Tucson Rodeo Parade 2017 Grand Marshal

The Grand Marshal for the 2017 Tucson Rodeo Parade, Jeannette Maré was born in South Africa and immigrated to the United States when she was just a toddler. Her family moved to Tucson 40 years ago when her dad, a research veterinarian, accepted a faculty position at the University of Arizona. She became involved with 4-H, focusing on goats, market lambs, and breeding ewes. After graduating from Amphi High School, Jeannette studied linguistics and American Sign Language at the University of Arizona.

She became immersed in Deaf Culture and American Sign Language at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, a university for deaf students. Studying and living there was a life-changing experience where Jeannette acquired a deep appreciation for the diversity of human experience. After graduating with a Master’s degree in linguistics, Jeannette returned to Tucson and worked as a sign language interpreter and as faculty at the U of A teaching linguistics and interpreting.

Life as she knew it ended in March, 2002 when her nearly 3-year-old son, Ben, died suddenly and unexpectedly. From this tragedy she created a movement that is familiar to all of Arizona and many other areas of the country: Ben’s Bells.

Ben’s Bells was born out of the need to honor the kindness that was offered to Jeannette and her family after Ben’s death. On the first anniversary of Ben’s death, she and her family and friends hung out 400 Ben’s Bells, each with a written message to simply take it home and pass on the kindness. The ripple effect that followed was incredible.

For over a decade, Ben’s Bells has been infusing the practice of intentional kindness throughout our community. Tens of thousands of citizens are engaged with Ben’s Bells educational programming offered through their studios, schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. Ben’s Bells has become a beloved part of our southern Arizona culture and has spread nationally with studios in Phoenix and Newtown, CT, and the Kind Campus Program is used in hundreds of schools across the country.