They call it "the 14th Annual Arizona Classic Jazz Festival," and by "classic," they primarily mean Dixieland, ragtime and swing: the three faces of pre-World War II jazz that rocked your grandparents' world.As Dick Knutson -- a featured musician and husband of fest director Jeanne Knutson -- puts it, "Dixieland is the hardest jazz to play because of its innate complexity. . . . Musicians have to improvise in an ensemble and really respect the melody."
In fact, this is raucous, fun and swinging jazz, and the exuberance of the musicians, among the most popular international touring acts, is infectious. The Lindy Hoppers also will be on hand to demonstrate and teach swing dancing, and there will be gospel services, a masquerade ball and a jazz buffet.
The festival also offers an opportunity to see several up 'n' coming jazz stars, including 17-year-old sax man Matt Horne, 11-year-old piano prodigy Jarrett Maupin II, and the single-named Talia, 12, who has been playing piano since she was 4. By all means, bring the kids -- maybe you can rock their world as well.
The 14th Annual Arizona Classic Jazz Festival takes place Thursday, October 30, through Sunday, November 2, at the Sheraton Mesa Hotel, 200 North Centennial in Mesa. Call 623-975-2203.- Henry Cabot Beck
Top duds are brought to the Valley
Valley fashion hounds have a new place to sniff out style: Last week's grand-opening gala introduced north Scottsdale's Estilo Boutique, 15425 North Scottsdale Road, Suite 180. After feeling out the fashion industry in New York, L.A. and overseas, ASU business grads Kelly Dixon and Gina Pedrojetti (pictured) have returned to "bring previously unavailable styles and designers to town." Sneak a peek at www.EstiloBoutique.com. - Jill Koch
Car show puts 'bird on the street
Remember Suzanne Somers' character in American Graffiti? If those sleek curves and that guttural purr made you want to caress every inch of her luscious '57 T-bird, here's your chance to get lucky: Casino Arizona, Highway 101 and McKellips, will raffle off a 1957 Thunderbird worth $30,000 during its Fall Classic Car Show this Friday, October 31, through Sunday, November 2. Fifty bucks enters your hot wheels in the show, where you also can win $100 for best-in-class, 16 special cash awards, or a $3,000 motor. The casino welcomes spectators with free admission and live music on Friday and Saturday nights. For more information, see www.casinoaz.com or call 480-850-7968.- Kim Toms
On the Home Stretch
Come and knock on their doors . . .
Get homey with your homies this Sunday, November 2: Take the Palette of Homes Tour 2003 -- benefiting Free Arts of Arizona's programs for abused children -- and get a glimpse inside five homes in north Scottsdale's snazzy Desert Mountain community. The Grand Tour, $75 per person, includes a bus-led tour of the homes, sweet homes -- plus chef demos and appetizers. The Expanded Grand Tour, $150, adds a spin through the house of the publisher of Phoenix Home & Garden magazine, plus wine and hors d'oeuvres from the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.Reservations are required; call 602-258-8100 or see www.freeartsaz.org for more information.- Jill Koch
Erin Go Olé
Mexicans get their Irish up
The Irish and Mexicans share an instinctual love for many of the same things -- drinking, laughing, singing, fighting and Catholicism among them. So it's not too surprising that, during the U.S.-Mexico War, a band of Irishmen fighting for the U.S. Army deserted, after seeing fellow soldiers desecrating churches and mistreating priests and nuns, to fight alongside the Mexican army. These soldiers were known as Los San Patricios (or "the Battalion of St. Patrick").From 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, November 1, Los San Patricios de Arizona holds its second annual Fiesta de los San Patricios, celebrating the bond between the two cultures. At Corona Ranch, 29th Avenue and Baseline, the fiesta includes a Mexican rodeo, folk dancers from both cultures, mariachi and Irish bands, and, of course, plenty of Tecate and margaritas. Call 480-951-0301 for tickets, $60 for adults, $30 for children.- Brendan Joel Kelley
The decadent country is honored
A monthlong fete for La France begins this weekend, with Allée des Artistes, presented by the Alliance Française of Greater Phoenix. The first "Artists' Walk" features paintings, photography, sculpture and more from emerging local artists.
"It will have a European ambiance, with French music, food and raffles," says Leanne Debeurre, president of the local Alliance Française chapter.
Debeurre explains that the free event not only launches the Sister Cities' French Week 2003, but also a series of French cultural festivities offered by various local organizations throughout November. Highlights include ASU's weeklong Festival du Cinéma Francophone, starting Monday, November 3; a decadent five-course dinner at Vincent's on Camelback on November 13; and Soirée Musicale, the official French Week reception with French song, wine and cheese on November 14.
Allée des Artistes runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, November 1, at Heritage and Science Park, 115 North Sixth Street. For more information, call 602-499-6245. - Michele Laudig