Waynesville welcomes jazzFall Jazz Fest offers three weeks of shows
"Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life."
— Art Blakey, jazz drummer
People in Haywood County love their music. From bluegrass to southern rock, country to old-time, a whole range of tunes is at the center of nearly every festival, fundraiser and general get-together around here. No one can claim to be starved for song, and jazz singer Eve Haslam knows it. But she also knows locals might just be hankering for something new — something she’s happy to provide with the first-ever Fall Jazz Festival.
Rolling out at 7 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 13, and continuing every Saturday through Nov. 3, this is more than just a dinner-and-a-show concert series. This festival is a celebration of the art form Haslam loves — and loves to share. Luckily, local residents seem to be loving it, too.
“People are hungry for it,” Haslam said. “People are hungry for live jazz — and for good jazz.”
The New York City native has noticed this ever since she moved from Asheville early this year and began playing gigs all over this side of the county line. Along with Satin Steel Jazz, her band of revolving players, she’s brought her classic mix of bossa nova, swing and originals to several spots in Waynesville and Maggie Valley — and has always had good crowds. Now, Haslam is looking for more than just a positive reception.
“I want to put jazz on the map in Waynesville,” she said.
She believes these four upcoming performances might just be the ticket. Though each of the shows will feature a different group, they should all appeal to fans of the classic jazz Haslam has been perfecting ever since she began singing her composer father’s work as a little girl.
What she does, and what the festival is all about, is not frenetic jazz or cabaret jazz or bebop. This will be a mixture of different types of crowd-pleasing jazz, all alike in their listenability. As Haslam put it, it’s “soft, intimate jazz,” the kind that’s easy to listen to while dancing or eating dinner.
“And it makes everybody feel good,” she said.
She hopes this universal quality will help people take a chance on something that’s kind of new for this area. Each ticket holder will be served dinner from Angelino’s Piattino Ristorante at the Wineseller and will be treated to three full hours of music. Haslam’s silky vocals, along with Brian Felix and Zack Page, will kick off the festival this Saturday, while the following weekends will include jazzy instrumental ensembles. The Oct. 20 show will feature the Pavel Wlosok Duo, headed by an instructor at Western Carolina University, while the Oct. 27 edition will include the piano-infused sounds of the Michael Jefry Stevens Duo, out of Black Mountain. Marshall favorite Steve Davidowski Duo will close out the celebration Nov. 3.
At $25 ($30 at the door) for both dinner and music, Haslam calls the festival’s tickets “dirt cheap.”
That is not, however, what what she believes will bring people in the door. People will come, she explained, because Waynesville is ready for this kind of thing. With its motley mix of locals and transplants, music lovers and experienced musicians, this town is just waiting for someone to wake up its jazz community, she feels.
In her words, she would love to Satin Steel become the “impresario” of jazz around here.
“That’s the hope, bringing music and the community together,” she said.
And it could all start this Saturday night at a little wine bar on Church Street.
For more information and advance tickets to the Fall Jazz Festival, call 452-6000 or visit the Classic Wineseller at 20 Church St., Waynesville. To learn more about Haslam (and hear her signature sound), visit www.evehaslam.com.
Fall Jazz Festival
(All shows shows start at 7 p.m. at the Classic Wineseller)
Oct. 13 — Eve Haslam, Brian Felix and Zack Page
Oct. 20 — Pavel Wlosok Duo
Oct. 27 — Michael Jefry Stevens Duo
Nov. 3 — Steve Davidowski Duo