Salida Jazz Fest is set to begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Salida Rotary Amphitheater in Riverside Park, with funky, soulful tunes going until 9:30 p.m.
Some of the best-known jazz names, including trumpeter Nicholas Payton and Gerry Gibbs, will perform.
Gibbs will perform with his band, Gerry Gibbs & Thrasher People, which he said was started after major success on American jazz charts.
He formerly had a band with pianist Kenny Barron and bassist Ron Carter. The trio produced three records, one of which was Grammy nominated, and Gibbs said he felt the call of the road.
He said he told the record label he wanted to start a new band, one he could take with him on the road.
“I looked around the New York area and found Alex,” he said.
Pianist Alex Collins, a Fender Rhodes piano and synthesizer player and vocalist, joined Gibbs.
The final member of the trio is Essiet Okon Essiet on bass.
Payton will join Gibbs for parts of the performance.
“He’s one of the most sought-after trumpet players in the world,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs is the son of bebop musician Terry Gibbs, who is now 94 years old.
“I did a record with him two years ago called ‘92 Years Young: Jammin’ at the Gibbs’ House,’” Gibbs said.
He said his father had a lot of influence on his career, as he was always surrounded by the music of his father, who played with legends including Billie Holiday.
Gibbs said he was 4 years old when he first began playing the drums, and by the time he was 5 he was performing on live television shows, including “To Tell the Truth.”
From then on, Gibbs began performing, and he wrote his first song at age 16.
Gibbs is a self-taught composer and said he writes his music based on melodies that he sees fit with a person, place or emotion rather than lyrics.
“I learned to read music, then learned to write what was in my head and translate it so that guys could play it,” Gibbs said.
Gerry Gibbs & Thrasher People plays beautiful music, he said, music that’s about connecting people to one another.
“We are not an extension of one music genre. We speak the language of jazz, but we’re everything – ’70s rock, fusion, world music, African music,” he said. “It’s threaded through jazz vocabulary, which is the highest form of melodic ideas.”
He said the group will be playing some original music, along with some songs Gibbs thinks will complement Payton.
Gibbs said this is his first time to visit Salida, although he has performed in Denver and Durango before, but he is looking forward to coming and playing.
“We hope people come out,” he said.
Other musicians playing at Salida Jazz Fest are the CMC Jazz Project Big Band at 11 a.m.; Ostevetto Jazz Quartet at 12:30 p.m.; Buena Vista jazz group Equinox at 2 p.m.; classic jazz group Dick Cunico and 21/3 at 3:30 p.m.; and Bud Gordon Unconventional Wisdom, a funky, Latin-tinged jazz group, at 5:15 p.m.
The day of boogying will be topped with fireworks postponed from the Fourth of July, beginning at 8:45 p.m. over Tenderfoot Mountain.