Based in the Fort Collins/Loveland area of northern Colorado, the Northern Colorado Traditional Jazz Society –NCTJS – is a group of jazz enthusiasts who enjoy and support traditional and other forms of jazz in this region. Our Society is a Colorado nonprofit corporation governed by a board of directors and run entirely by volunteers.
Our Society was founded in 1995 alongside the Poudre River Irregulars and has supported them ever since. Over the years we've brought a variety of musical events to northern Colorado – local favorites, up-and-coming newcomers, and regional groups – but the Poudre River Irregulars continue to be our main focus. In addition, we actively support traditional jazz programs in our local and regional schools, and often help arrange appearances of their fledgling jazz bands at PRI gigs.
The Irregulars have a long-standing arrangement to play from 4 to 7 pm on the first Friday of every month at Avo's in Fort Collins. These informal concerts always draw a large crowd, often standing-room-only, and our Society members help manage the logistics and ticket-taking. We also help the band with publicity (including a newsletter, emails, and this website), logistics at a variety of their other gigs, and projects such as producing CDs.
We'd love to have you as a member of the Northern Colorado Traditional Jazz Society. When you join, here's what you'll get:
• Our friendly newsletter, The Second Line. Find out what's happening with traditional jazz in this region.
Get a reminder of the time and place of our special concerts, plus:
• Reduced admission to our concerts. Members always get a discount.
• The company of other jazz lovers. Jazz is great fun, and so is rubbing elbows with musicians who play
it and other people who enjoy it.
• An active role in preserving traditional jazz. We work to promote and preserve this kind of jazz in
northern Colorado, and your membership helps us do just that.
The cost is modest: $30 a year for families, $20 for singles, $5 for students. The money is used
to sponsor and promote the kind of music we all enjoy.
For more info, write us at:
Northern Colorado Traditional Jazz Society
P.O. Box 1304
Fort Collins, Colorado 80522
or email our secretary, Fred Smith, at:
At the Northern Colorado Traditional Jazz Society, we are often asked what we mean by "traditional" jazz. Among jazz buffs, this term has a specific meaning. Traditional, or trad jazz as it's often called, is "hot" jazz, tracing its roots back to ragtime and the hot dance music of the 1920s, 1930s, and early 1940s (the "cool" strain of jazz began with bebop in the 1940s). Trad jazz includes forms like ragtime, blues, Dixieland, boogie-woogie, swing, and some big-band music (Duke Ellington and Count Basie, for instance).
This kind of music is far from dead. It's still widely played and is being taught to new, young jazz musicians. Some modern-day players of traditional jazz try to preserve the authentic sounds of the past, but most use it as a starting point to develop their own sounds. The result is a dynamic music scene that includes everything from honkytonk and ragtime to swing-dance revival. The common denominator is the dance beat – this is joyous music, intended for dancing and having a good time, and it continues to attract enthusiastic audiences. Come to a trad jazz concert and see! Also, take a look at a recent edition of our newsletter below:
A Quarterly Newsletter October 15, 2019
Officers of the NCTJS
President: Peg Isakson
Vice Pres, interim: Fred W Smith
Treasurer: Becky Echeverria
Membership: Barbara Weimar
Band Leader: Lenny Kellogg
Director: Myrne Watrous
Director: Carol Lingenfelter
Director: Merritt Pitcher
Secretary, Newsletter Editor
Fred W Smith: From L to R: Ray, Clarke, Charlie, Larry, Alan, Rory, Oscar, Lenny
FROM THE PRESIDENT:
Greetings from your new chairperson for Northern Colorado Traditional Jazz Society! And just to save syllables, you may hear me say NoCo Jazz Society! This decade seems to be one of shortened language, sound bites and instant messages; agreed?
I hope I can set an example for any of you jazz enthusiasts who read this message. Why did I volunteer to join the Board? Well, I’ve done quite a bit of volunteering in my life, but I hope to spend more time with music, to keep music variety strong in Northern Colorado, and to meet friends with similar interest.
The decade of the 50’s was the high point for stimulating my interest in music, particularly jazz. I recall shopping at the music store owned by Louie Bellson’s family in Moline, Illinois, where I took jazz improvisation lessons across the street. And how lucky I was to attend a Dave Brubeck concert on campus in Illinois when he was making his North American college tour in the early 50’s!
Now, decades later, how could I resist when dear family friend, Ray Leake, asked me to play a duet with him in our Lutheran church, no less?
So now you know how thrilled I am to learn all about the wisdom and background of Northern Colorado Traditional Jazz Society, to think seriously about the future of Jazz for all ages in our area, and to get acquainted with you! Stop at our ticket table at Avogadro’s, introduce yourself, share a little about your interest in music, and become active in our NoCo Jazz Society!
Cheers for Jazz,
“Life is a lot like Jazz…It’s best when you improvise.”
FROM THE SECRETARY-WEBMASTER:
Board elections are coming up soon. Please be reminded that we are still seeking a nominee to become the Treasurer to take over for Becky who has done an excellent job for several years.
In November of odd numbered years, the NCTJS holds an election for the board members to serve for the coming two years. The current slate of nominees appears at the top of this newsletter.
We would like very much to have a candidate to become the new Treasurer so please let me know if you are willing to consider the job or wish to nominate someone. Contact me at or leave a voice message at: 970-227-8640.
We will be in contact in November in order to conduct the election.
BIG NEWS –new website for the band:
Our long-standing website at https://www.prijb.com/, was originally written by Ann Harbour and maintained by her for many years. As time went by, she was increasingly unable to continue maintaining it, and Lenny’s wife kept it up. It became clear that the time was rapidly approaching at which a new website arrangement was needed. The primary reason for this was that the programming of the old website had been done in a time long ago when one had to be a trained and experienced web programmer in a special language in order to maintain the website and doing that was very difficult. The advent of modern website authoring tools makes this job a LOT easier. So, the board decided it was time to make the jump and arrange to have a new website built.
The approach taken by the board was to form a committee charged with specifying what was needed in a new website. The members were Peg Isakson, Ted Turner and Len Kellogg, who met and established a set of requirements to be used by someone who would undertake the actual job.
As an engineer and retired CSU professor, I could not resist the opportunity to build the website with the guidance and input from the Website Committee, so I volunteered to do it. The new website authoring tools now available made it relatively easy to learn how to write a website and get it up and running. Beside the advice and input from the committee, I also had help from a buddy who has considerable experience with the website authoring tool I used.
The net result can be seen on line at https://www.prijb.com/. You will note that, like the old website, the new one primarily advertises the band, but it also has a page for the Northern Colorado Traditional Jazz Society.
We hope you will take a look and let us know what you think of the new website. It still has a glitch or two that will be fixed before too long.
NEW SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE:
Peg Isakson provided the following info about the Facebook Page and the Google business site she has set up recently that point to the PRIJB and to our Jazz Society. We are getting quite a lot of action on these sites so we hope you will take a look and follow Pegs suggestions below if you are interested. Doing so will help get the word out about our operation.
When you’re logged in to Facebook, search for “Poudre River Irregulars Jazz”. Please “like” our page and “share” the page to your contacts. Your “like” and “share” are very important to spread the word of our Northern Colorado exuberant jazz! At this time, we do not plan to advertise by boosting any posts, so your help is appreciated!
Our Google page:
On your device (cell phone or pad) you can google the band by using “Poudre river irregulars jazz band” in the search box. You’ll see that you can click to the new website home page, to Facebook posts by us and to Facebook posts by Avogadro’s, KRFC, Denver Jazz Club, and more.
Have fun searching!
Let us know if you have tips for our Social Media. We welcome ideas or questions.
Send your suggestions to the address below, email Fred Smith at , or contact Len Kellogg, our band leader, by leaving a message through the Contact tab on our website.
Northern Colorado Traditional Jazz Society
P.O. Box 1304
Fort Collins, Colorado 80522
FROM THE BAND
The band is beginning the work involved in producing a new CD in preparation for our 25th Anniversary coming up soon. More about this later.
First Friday at Avo’s – 4:00 to 7:00 pm
Avo's is located at 605 S. Mason, Fort Collins, (970) 493-5555.
Hot Jazz with the Regular Irregulars
General admission $12/$4 for students
$8 for members of the Northern Colorado Traditional Jazz Society
Become a member today
Avo’s w/Larry on trumpet
All-Saints Episcopal in Loveland 9am service
Avo’s Larry & Charlie - two trumpets
Si tu vois ma mere & Quincy Street Stomp
The PRIJB played both of these tunes during the September First Friday at Avo’s. Lenny described the inspiration for picking these tunes that evening including reference to the musician Bob Wilber. Years ago, I had the opportunity to hear Wilber play his soprano sax with the Dick Gibson Ten Greats of Jazz, as described by Lenny, at the Trocadero Ballroom at the old Elitches. So I thought it would be fun to provide a bit of info about him. As usual, I have relied heavily on that all-knowing and always accurate source, the inter-web.
Robert Sage Wilber (March 15, 1928 – August 4, 2019) was an American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, and band leader. Although his scope covers a wide range of jazz, Wilber was a dedicated advocate of classic styles, working throughout his career to present traditional jazz pieces in a contemporary manner. He played with many distinguished jazz leaders in the 1950s and 1960s, including Bobby Hackett, Benny Goodman, Sidney Bechet, Jack Teagarden and Eddie Condon. In the late 1960s, he was an original member of the World's Greatest Jazz Band, and in the early 70s of Soprano Summit, a band which gained wide attention. In the late 1970s, he formed the Bechet Legacy Band.
Wilber was active in jazz education, including working as director of the Smithsonian Jazz Repertory Ensemble. He wrote for films, including The Cotton Club. In his autobiography, Music Was Not Enough, he recounts his childhood, meeting his mentor Sidney Bechet, in 1946, and his struggles as a musician in the 1950s and 1960s. He died at the age of 91 in 2019.
Sidney Bechet was one of the most accomplished and influential musicians of the post-World War I period and was viewed by many as the best clarinetist of his time. Nevertheless, Bechet's primary instrument eventually became the soprano saxophone. In 1944, Wilber had become fascinated with Bechet's sound, and later that year, when Wilber was sixteen, he was introduced to Bechet through Mezz Mezzrow. He found out there was an opening for a pupil out at Bechet's house in Brooklyn, and so he became a Bechet pupil. In the spring of 1945, he began studying both clarinet and soprano saxophone under Bechet and eventually lived with him for several months. He often sat in with Bechet at Jimmy Ryan's and they often performed duets. In 1948, Bechet sent Wilber to Nice, France, in his absence to perform at the first jazz festival.:48–49 At the festival, Wilber's group shared the bill with Louis Armstrong and his Allstars. Wilber recorded for Columbia Records, Commodore, and Circle with Bechet and with his own group in the late 1940s.
In Other News:
The Pikes Peak Jazz and Swing Society http://www.ppjass.org/
The Queen City Jazz Band https://www.queencityjazzband.com/
The Denver Jazz Club http://denverjazzclub.com/.