Opening night of the 2012 Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree was a high-energy cacophony of color, smiles and the sweet sounds of jazz. From the Inn to the Lodge to the Indoor Ice Rink, converted into a vast performance hall for the weekend, the Resort was crowded with folks poised for a great time. Every chair was occupied in the cozy Duchin Lounge during a show featuring Jerry and Gary, battling banjo players. The rink was filled to capacity while 12 world-class performers, under the banner of Little Big Band N’Awlins Style, bebop’d and blew, improvised and grooved. Though early in the evening, many began to venture to the floating dance floor, one of the most appreciated and talked about features of this Jamboree.
“People love the floating dance floor,” explained Scott Irvine who manages the Sun Valley Ice Rinks and is responsible for converting the indoor rink into a nightclub for the Jamboree. “The floor is sprung, almost like a tumbling floor in gymnastics, and people can dance for four hours and feel like it’s been one hour. It’s really fun – try it!” We bounced a bit among the dancers. It is fun.
Back in the Lodge, the warmly lit lobby was full of festival-goers, on their way to or from of the dozens of evening events around the Resort. A helpful volunteer from Wood River High School, a musician herself, answered questions with a smile. The famous men’s singing group from Yale University, the Whiffenpoofs, congregated in the lobby, taking in the scene following their performance. Many grabbed a bite at the bar in the Duchin Room (myself included – I highly recommend the vegetable quesadilla) surrounded by hep cats of all varieties, including some of the weekend’s talented and smartly dressed musicians.
This was my first foray into the Jazz Jamboree and I plan to go back for more this weekend. It was terrific to see the Resort so crowded during shoulder season and it was terrific to see all the participants having such a tremendous time. People travel from all over (some I spoke with were from Kansas, Oregon, British Columbia) to be entertained, spend time with old friends and make new ones.
Things are in full swing in Sun Valley. Break out the boas, lace up those dancing shoes and get in on the fun. In addition to music and dancing, there is great food to eat and room specials if you want to relax through the last acts (that run until 1 a.m.) and then just roll into a comfortable bed, ready to start again the next morning.
The Jazz Jamboree runs through Sunday, October 21. Click here for a full schedule and get your jazz on!