Keeping Spirits Bright at the Nash

Delphine Cortez
Dennis Rowland
Alice Tatum
(From Left) Blaise Lantana, Mary Petrich, Stan Sorenson, Mel Brown, Sheila Early

It was two days before Christmas when all through the Nash, every seat was stirring for the jazz party bash!


Member-supported K-Jazz hosted a Jazz Holiday Party December 23 at the Nash in downtown Phoenix. A packed house was treated to performances by jazz vocal luminaries Dennis Rowland, Diana Lee, Delphine Cortez, Alice Tatum, Carmella Ramirez and KJZZ’s very own Blaise Lantana. Grammy winning bassist Mel Brown, drummer Sheila Early, saxophonist Mary Petrich, guitarist Stan Sorenson, and pianist Joel Robin Goldenthal, director of the Nash, made up the world class ensemble that sambaed and swung your favorite carols. Saxophonists Lloyd Whitty and Tony Vacca and bassist Felix Saenz joined the fun in the second set.


The audience was treated to a set list of holiday favorites rendered in distinct jazz tones, from Dennis Rowland’s Song for my Father styled We Three Kings to Alice Tatum’s rafter-shaking Gospel rendition of O Holy Night. In between, jazz lovers were treated to virtuosic playing and singing that brought the audience to its feet on more than one occasion.


It was the first K-Jazz Holiday Party, and the response was so good that it could become an annual event. “Most of these musicians and singers donated their time, and we are so appreciative of their talent and holiday spirit; we couldn’t have done it without their generosity.” said organizer Blaise Lantana, who is also KJZZ’s music director. The audience was filled with K-Jazz listeners, and half of them had never been to the Nash before. That’s a major win for the jazz community in Phoenix, with K-Jazz listeners discovering the Nash, our premier jazz venue.


On Mary, on Dennis, on Carmella and Stan! They played as the sun set on every jazz fan.


And when the show was over and everyone took flight, you could hear the notes linger through Christmas Eve night!


Text and photos by Chazz Rayburn