[JPL] Vail Jazz Festival 2006, Dedicated to Hilton Ruíz

Arturo arturo893 at qwest.net
Wed Sep 6 16:26:09 EDT 2006

The 12th Annual Vail Jazz Festival was dedicated to Hilton Ruíz who
last performed at Vail in 2004 for their 10th edition, he was there
along with Dave Valentín. All the banners, posters, flyers, program
guides, tees, sweatshirts, everything related to the festival has an
image of Hilton at the piano. Log on to http://www.vailjazz.org/ to
see the image.

IMHO, Winard Harper Sextet who played for our 21st Anniversary Party
here at jazz89KUVO on Thursday night before heading to Vail stole
the festival with his fabulous energy and enthusiasm, heck even his
fellow musicians were in awe of him. His group played 3 times
throughout the weekend and Winard sat in as guest drummer a cupla of
times with others. Trio Da Paz with invitee Russell Malone was
another highlight as was the Erroll Garner Tribute by Bill Cunlife,
he led a trio playing Garner music as well as eloborating on the
life and times of Erroll and showing great film clips of one of the
swingingest pianists of all-time, that he never had a music lesson
in his life makes it even more incredible.

Another highlight was the Bill Cunlife aka Guillermo Cuun Lee Feh
Imaginación Ensemble with Terrel "Sandoval" Stafford, Mon Banda,
René Camacho, mi tocayo Arturo Velasco, Bruce Paulson, Bob Shepperd
and Joey De León who impressed the hell out of me with his majestic
jazz chops, exciting solos and best of all, his comping and
flavoring added to the music while others soloed or during ensemble
playing, he and Mon blended well as did René who locked in with them.
Bill may not be the best montunero or Latin player but he is more
than adequate and brings imaginative arrangements to the music as
well as cool originals. Special props to Terrell who showed me he
can play in any setting including clave jazz.

Vail always has photo collages of their past festivals in the lobby
and their past banners hang from the rafters over the stage, it was
great to see Hilton's autograph on the 2004 banner and his photo at
the piano with great smile and jazzKUVO tee-shirt on in the 2004
photo mosaic. It brought tears to my eyes.

Arturo Gómez

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