Listening and learning

Listening and learning
LEWISTON - With more jazz than you can fit into your schedule, Moscow is in for a busy week.

But, if you can't make it up to the Palouse, a number of the festival musicians are bringing the jazz to you, if you're in grade school.

It's a total of 25 stops for jazz musicians from across the country. Tuesday morning, vocalist Sara Gazarek and pianist Josh Nelson were performing for kids. The duo from Los Angeles provided a little jazz education to students at St. Stanislaus Tri-Parish School - a slightly different audience than they're used to.

"Out in the world, we play mostly jazz clubs, sometimes bigger venues, smaller concert halls, 500-700 seaters," said Gazarek. "We've done a couple of gigs with symphonies, big bands. So, they really vary."

Gazarek grew up in Seattle, and had her first Lionel Hampton experience with her 7th grade jazz band. She now is the lead vocalist for a jazz group in L.A., and has been on the road with Nelson for four years. The duo will perform at a number of clinics until taking the big stage at Friday night's concert at the Kibbie Dome.

"I write a lot of the arrangements for Sara and her band and some original music," said Nelson. "We make it a habit to go around to a lot of schools around the U.S and do a similar kind of event as this, ranging in ages, a lot of elementary schools, some junior highs and high schools. It has been a joy to do this with Sara the last few years."

It was the first time many of the kids had ever heard jazz. And for those brave enough, they even got a chance to try a little scat in front of fellow students.

"There were probably 10 or 15 kids who raised their hands at the end of it and said they wanted to be jazz musicians," said Gazarek. "Who knows what will come of that but just the importance of showing them what we do and how great this art form is and how it's affected our lives. It's really fun for us to get out there and to interact with them."