Idyllwild Arts’ Mountain Campus Transformed by 22nd Annual Jazz in the Pines Festival

Blessed as always with plenty of shade from the tall trees, in summer temperatures twenty degrees cooler than in the valleys a short drive below, Idyllwild Arts’ mountain campus was transformed by an army of people into a weekend oasis for music-lovers. The 22nd annual Jazz in the Pines Festival had finally arrived leaving a pleasant taste in the mouth of everybody who took part.

This summer, the Idyllwild Arts Foundation took over running the festival from the Associates of the Idyllwild Arts Foundation, but the Associates remained deeply involved. Jazz in the Pines is a labor of love for many Associates, so they helped by managing the 300 volunteers, including a large number of Associates themselves who work the festival every year and would never miss it.

Artistically, Jazz in the Pines succeeds in looking forward even while anchoring itself in tradition. The richness of the festival’s musical legacy was underscored this summer by the return after an absence of several years of the Seahawk Modern Jazz Orchestra, led by Marshall Hawkins. The revered master of the standup bass and founder of the Idyllwild Arts Academy Jazz Program had taught several of the young stars who lit up the festival’s three stages, notably Graham Dechter of the Graham Dechter Quartet, as well as Casey Abrams and Jason Jackson.

Jazz in the Pines is a big tent that for anyone lucky enough to be there highlights the open, generous spirit of this classic American art form. Funk, blues, gospel, zydeco, and bluegrass all rubbed shoulders with every jazz style from New Orleans to bebop and Afro-Cuban and beyond.

Seventy years ago the founders of the Idyllwild Arts Foundation said that “In our arts we express” all the “things that mean the most to us” with “a common language we can all understand no matter in what tongue the words may be expressed.” At Jazz in the Pines that global language is music—played and enjoyed to raise money for scholarships for Idyllwild Arts Academy and Idyllwild Arts Summer Program students from all over the world. It would be hard to imagine a happier marriage between purpose and pure pleasure.

For more information on the 23rd annual Jazz in the Pines taking place August 20 and 21, 2016, visit​.


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