Special Guest Appearance
James Dapogny’s Chicago Jazz Band
Directed by Kim Cusack
Back in the very first Festival, this fabulous organization helped establish the quality standard which is so much a part of the event’s reputation. Over the years they played very few festivals, but they always cleared their calendars when invited to Evergreen. Sadly, in 2019 they lost their leader to cancer, but his memory, personal inspiration and great arrangements live on. We are truly thrilled to bring
After Midnight - Denver
Now well into their third decade, these wonderful musicians continue to thrill audiences with their spot-on sound of the Benny Goodman Sextet, plus equally authentic renditions of Artie Shaw, Woody Herman and other greats of the Swing Era. They are easily among the all-time Festival favorites, and after Covid knocked them out of last year’s lineup, we’re sure everyone will be happy to have them return.
Capt. John Royen’s New Orleans Rhythm - New Orleans
It’s been far too many years since John Royen’s last Festival appearance (shame on us!), but you’ll likely agree that the wait was worth it. As anyone in the Big Easy will tell you, he is a remarkable talent. John helps celebrate the 20th Festival surrounded by three other greats, including drummer Hal Smith who was in the very first Festival in 2001. John’s “captain” title is totally legitimate, and when you plan your next NO visit, you should book a swamp tour with him as well as reservations wherever he’s performing.
Carl Sonny Leyland Trio - Southern California
Talk about popular demand! One of the most requested groups ever to appear in the Festival, these three mega-talents deliver a range of boogie-woogie, barrelhouse and blues that is certain to have audiences rocking again this year. Each is a genuine star in today’s jazz galaxy, so it’s no surprise that when they get together, the music is over the top! If you’ve never heard them, you’re in for an enormous treat. It’s a genuine pleasure to welcome them back to Evergreen.
Espresso! - Boulder, Colorado
Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli popularized gypsy jazz in the clubs of 1940s Paris. Espresso! takes their lead from those two legends, adds a serious dose of American Swing and delivers a thoroughly entertaining and danceable sound. They’re making their Evergreen debut, and we think you’ll be glad they’re here.
The Poudre River Irregulars - Fort Collins, Colorado
Known for their exuberant energy, exciting sound and unusual name, The Irregulars are first and foremost a collection of some of the very best musicians in the Rockies. The Cache la Poudre River flows through their hometown, and when the band was formed in 1994, it experienced frequent personnel changes which led to the “Irregulars.” Although long since stabilized, they keep the name as a link to the free and easy spirit of their music. They’ve made several previous Festival appearances, and you’ll be glad they’re back.
Felonius Smith Trio - Boulder, Colorado
If you have a special place in your heart for old-time Blues, this is your band! They’ve appeared in three previous Festivals, thrilling audiences with their authentic sound of those marvelous bottleneck blues players of the 1920s and 30s. Just a few notes and you’ll be carried back to a Southern street corner or rickety front porch at sunset. Enjoy the journey.
Holland-Coots Jazz Quintet - Nashville
Formed in late 2017, this talent-heavy group quickly became a major attraction across the country. Led by piano great Brian Holland and Grammy-winning drummer Danny Coots, the swingin’ sound of these elite pros made them a huge hit with Evergreen audiences in 2018
and 2019, and you can expect more of the same this year.
Hot Tomatoes Dance Orchestra - Denver
Dust off your dancing shoes – or at least your toe-tappers – and get after it with with one of the top swing bands anywhere. With their authentic re-creations of such Swing Era greats as Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, the Hot Tomatoes have been creating happy dancers and listeners for over 35 years. Their individual resumes include work with Ella Fitzgerald, Woody Herman, Mel Torme and Clark Terry among many other big names. These guys are good!
Joe Smith and The Spicy Pickles - Denver
Since its creation in 2013, this young, exciting band has gained an enthusiastic following, particularly with swing dancers in Denver and across the country. They pride themselves on being true to the genre, and their marvelous sound, authentic dress and unbridled energy have made them a Festival favorite since their first appearance in 2016. Add the fact that they’re all in their twenties and thirties, and you have another reason to get excited about them. Enjoy!
Your Father's Mustache Band – Denver
This mainstay of the Denver jazz scene traces its roots back to the mid 1960s when the Your Father’s Mustache club opened in downtown Denver. The club survived ten raucous years before closing, and the band reorganized in 1975 to include several members who are still playing today! Those long-timers are leader Joe Petrucelli on banjo, Ray Leake on piano and Mike Johnson, washboard/drums. The band has now been spreading joy to Rocky Mountain audiences for over 45 years and even includes two next-generation Petrucelllis. As a special treat, we’ve arranged to bring their vocal favorite Mary Kelly out of Florida retirement for a guest appearance at the Festival.
Louis Ford & His New Orleans Flairs – New Orleans
The music doesn’t get much more “New Orleans” than this. Louis is a born and bred native, and his musical legacy goes all the way back to the early days of Storyville. The other band members are also from New Orleans, and all are noted performers there. The band’s extensive repertoire and great sound featuring Louis’ high-flying clarinet make them a big hit wherever they play, and that includes festivals from Norway and Switzerland to Sacramento and Sun Valley to Japan. They wowed Evergreen audiences in 2012 and 2013, and we bet it’ll happen again!
Queen City Jazz Band with Wende Harston - Denver
For over 60 years, this treasure of the Queen City of the Plains has been thrilling audiences on both sides of the Atlantic with their big, authentic New Orleans sound. The musicians have changed over the years, of course, but the band’s commitment to quality has been unwavering. Wende Harston is regarded as one of today’s great jazz vocalists, reminding many of a modern-day Bessie Smith. If she starts talking about a tune’s history, pay attention! Their Sunday morning gospel service is not to be missed.
The Dalton Ridenhour Trio - New York City
This amazingly talented and versatile trio made its Evergreen debut last year, and patron comment cards made it an easy decision to invite them back. Their repertoire ranges from the 1920s through the 40s and includes familiar Nat King Cole Trio arrangements and Swing Era standards offset by seldom heard early guitar features in the style of Eddie Lang and Nick Lucas.
Add in some Scott Joplin and maybe even some jug band blues, and every set is sure to please.
The Big Little Ragtime Band
That wonderfully distinctive, syncopated sound from the early 1900s, Ragtime is generally regarded as a forerunner of jazz. It pre-dates recorded music, but its immense popularity was evidenced by sheet music sales in the millions. With dedicated authenticity, Maurie Walker and his friends bring this important genre to the Festival, revisiting the work of such greats as Scott Joplin, Ernest Hogan and even Jelly Roll Morton.