Hot Music and Hot weather- The Free Summer Series Rolls On

jazz logo It was summer again and Highland Jazz continued the free outdoor concert series. Now that we had established a certain continuity I felt able to use the series to fulfill an important goal I had set at the outset: to provide a venue for talented jazz musicians who were beginning their careers and could benefit from more exposure. For the four free concerts I introduced two newcomers and hired two groups whom the audience would recognize. This was the schedule for the summer of 1985: Kristine Key, winner of the Starlight Roof’s rising star contest, the Gray Sargent Trio, John Harris and “Shine”  and Jeff Stout’s Red Hot Dixieland Band.

Kristine Key

Kristine Key
photograph by Ruth Williams

I found Kris through the recommendation of Cathy Lee, the force behind Studio Red Top which showcased women in its concerts. Even though Cathy and I were friendly rivals in the early 1980’s, she was enormously helpful to me, not only in finding new talent to present but in teaching me some of the ins and outs of the jazz business – information you cannot read about in books but can only learn on the job. She also guided and encouraged me to apply for grant money, but more about that later.

The other newcomer that summer was bassist John Harris and “Shine.”  John had a degree in Musicology from Tufts and had studied at the Berklee College of Music; this is probably where I heard about him, but my memory about our connection is somewhat vague now.

When you read the Where are they now section you will be delighted and perhaps surprised to find out what the “newcomers” of 1985 are doing now.

Where are they now?

Kristine Key now lives in the Baltimore/Washington, DC area. Her website details her current activities and provides information about her debut CD, Nice as Can Be.

The website for John Harris and “Shine” describes his band as one of the most active Boston wedding bands. He obviously decided that playing what jazz musicians called “general business” gigs would provide a steady  income for him- much more reliable than the jazz scene.

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