Drummer Ricky Malichi and internationally acclaimed musicians jam Friday afternoon at the courthouse during the 2012 Roswell Jazz Festival Main Street Kick-Off Concert. Mark Wilson Photo
The Roswell Jazz festival continued Friday, with a free concert on the courthouse lawn.
The concert featured a variety of musical and vocal talent, including returning performer Eddie Erickson, who was the guest of honor on the day, and newcomer Yve Evans, who had the audience cracking up with her comedic musical number on one of the unfortunate side-effects that come with growing older, memory loss. At the time of the concert, Evans had not been in Roswell 24 hours, but said she was enjoying the city nonetheless.
I’m having a ball,” she said. “I’ve had a really good burger and I’m staying at great place and I’m with all of my friends. It’s good.”
She’s been a musician for 58 years and is a noted pianist, singer, band leader, producer, director, comedienne, actress or to sum it all up concisely, a Renaissance woman. One of the reasons she agreed to perform in Roswell was the chance to entertain in and experience a new city.
“My favorite part is the entertaining part,” she said. “I just happen to be here with people I love and enjoy and respect. Some I’ve never met, some I have. I just wanted to be in a new place at a new jazz festival and see new faces. I kind of crave that since I travel a lot.”
The festival began Thursday night at Pecos Flavors Winery with “Jazz on the Cool Side.” That show is what pianist and artistic director Michael Francis describes as more “exploratory jazz.” Francis said the decision to add the extra day was worth it.
“That was absolutely the right thing to do,” he said. “The extra day just increased the festival’s goodwill factor to another level. It was sold out and went very well.”
Though clouds appeared ready to burst throughout Friday’s concert, the weather co-operated, until, ironically, the band’s performance of “Blue Skies.” Despite the drizzle, Francis said he was pleased with the turnout.
“The turnout is great, in spite of the threatening weather,” he said. “We really thought we’d have a problem today.”
He added that he hoped the weather would continue to work in his favor as the concert continued that night at Pecos Flavors Winery and while a nine-piece band played at Pepper’s Friday night as well.
At the conclusion of the weekend, Francis said he would like the community to know the festival has a “very evolving, growing presence of energy that is expanding.” He said the success of the show is due to the tremendous support shown by the city every year.
Marsha Dinehart, one of those who supports the festival, noted she was surprised that more people weren’t in attendance to do the same.
“I’m surprised this place wasn’t more of a mob,” she said. “It’s free and it’s wonderful.”
The former Roswell resident has attended the concert for the past two years and said it is well worth the trip from her new home in Santa Fe.
“I don’t live here anymore, but I come especially for this,” she said. “They’re so talented and skilled, each one of them is so talented.
It’s just a treat to get to hear that kind of beautiful music.”
The festival continues today with free seminars at Ginsberg Music from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. and at the Sally Port Ballroom at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the latter show are still available at the door for $30.