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Jazz in July 2024: Night 1

Jazz in July 2024: Night 1

July 9, 2024 | 5:15 pm

5:15-6:15 PM : Valley Jazz Combo outside on John & Penny Krantz Stage
6:30-7:30 PM: Big Fun outside on EMC Plaza
8:00-9:30 PM: Max Wellman w/ The Nate Sparks Big Band inside on Theater Stage

This free summer program wouldn’t be possible without the help of its premier sponsor, Principal Foundation, as well as expertise from our Jazz in July Arts Advisor John Krantz.

Patrons are encouraged to bring a blanket and lawn chairs to spread out and enjoy the opening sets outside. Attendees will be able to purchase food as well as beverages provided by the venue on site. Events will go on, rain or shine.

Vocalist Max Wellman is enticing music lovers throughout the region. With a sound evoking the likes of Sinatra and Connick, Wellman’s recordings and performances promise that the Great American Songbook is alive and well for a new generation of listeners. Wellman co-founded Noce, a state-of-the-art jazz club in the Western Gateway neighborhood of downtown Des Moines. Additionally, Wellman has appeared at some of the great clubs throughout the country, from Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Lincoln Center to Andy’s Jazz Club in Chicago to Dazzle in Denver & many in between.

Nate Sparks is a composer/arranger/performer who grew up in Runnells, Iowa. Nate began playing the piano at age 7, trumpet at 11, and pursued jazz throughout his middle school and high school years. His acceptance into several national high school honor bands and music festivals led him to a post-secondary study of jazz at the Juilliard School, where he also began his career as a writer. His main outlet as a writer is with his own band, the Nate Sparks Big Band, a New York/Des Moines-based 18-piece jazz orchestra. Playing exclusively his own compositions, arrangements, and transcriptions, the Nate Sparks Big Band performed regularly at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in New York City in 2016-2019, and now takes root in Des Moines Iowa where he currently Resides.

Eastern Iowa based Big Fun includes some of the top jazz educators and jazz performers in the state. They specialize in funk, soul, and jazz fusion from the 60s and 70s including the music of Herbie Hancock, Eddie Harris, Freddie Hubbard, Jeff Coffin, The Jazz Crusaders, Fred Wesley, The Meters, James Brown, and more. (Tim Crumley-drums, Johathan Schwabe -bass, Michael Conrad-keys, Steve Grismore-guitar, Anthony Williams-trombone, Chris Merz – saxes)

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