Hot Jazz by the pool

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What do award-winning musicians, open fire, a pool and summer have in common?


Stop by the Sheraton Tucson Hotel and Suites, 5151 E. Grant Rd. any Tuesday night during the summer and find out.

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The Arizona Roadrunner jazz band, founded by Doug Tidaback and Evan Dain, plays from 6 p.m. until about 9 p.m., nestled between the Fire and Spice grill and the pool. There's plenty of outdoor seating and a fire pit for roasting s'mores.


Tidaback, along with bassist Scott Black and Brice Winston, are directors of the Tucson Jazz Institute. The institute provides classes for all skill levels and opportunities for students to network and play with professional musicians and fellow students.






Tidaback said the youngest student is 10 years old and the institute now has a jazz band for high school graduates and adults to continue to learn and perform.


Students from the institute have played at the Fullerton Jazz Festival, in Fullerton, Calif., with nearly 400 other bands, and the Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, Calif.


Students and staff from the institute also attended the Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Competition and Festival, at the prestigious Lincoln Center in New York, where they brought home the Winning Community Ensemble category. Tucson's Max Goldschmid, who plays clarinet and alto sax, won outstanding soloist at the competition, according to Tidaback.


Tidaback said the Hot Jazz concerts at the Sheraton give young musicians the opportunity to socialize around music. Many of the students from the institute attend the concerts with their instruments and sit in during open sessions. The band has several open sessions where anyone — student, professional or hobbyist — can join in. You never know who will show up and sit in.


On June 29, Carol Diamond, the first female vocalist to sign with Motown records in 1962, provided soothing vocals for the band. Not every band member knew the music to one of the songs Diamond wanted to sing, but that didn't stop them.


Using improvisation and following the lead of the one band member who did know the song, the band accompanied Diamond's singing without a hitch.


Don't forget to bring graham crackers, chocolate and your swimsuit. There's a minimum $10 food and beverage charge, but the Jazz is free.


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