Jazz to the Vax Saturday night

By Michael Swan on December 3, 2010


This Saturday, Wetzel and his Groovin' Higher Jazz Orchestra will push the Santa chair front and center for trumpeter Mike Vax. Vax will join Wetzel's annual "A Big Band Christmas" show, this time bringing holiday cheer to Tacoma Community College's Auditorium beginning at 7:30 p.m. The stage will be decked out with presents, garland, ribbon and a lot of guys in tuxedos.

Vax, an international artist for the Getzen Musical Instrument Company and a Summit Records recording artist, has played lead and solo trumpet with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, the Clark Terry Big Bad Band, and the U.S. Navy Show Band. His "sit-in" list is long and impressive that includes Art Pepper, Gene Krupa, Al Grey, and Freddy Hubbard, John Handy, Don Ellis, Don Jacoby, Louie Bellson, Joe Williams. Currently Vax leads his own groups: The Stan Kenton Alumni Band, The Mike Vax Jazz Orchestra, The Swing Shift Big Band in Prescott, Arizona, TRPTS (Trumpets), The Great American Jazz Band and the Mike Vax Quintet and Sextet.

And he finds time to drop in on Tacoma how?

Anyway, I scored the set list for Saturday night. This year Wetzel and crew will skip the Kenton focus of year's past and pay special tribute to Tom Kubis' arrangements. Check it:

Set One

Set Two

Encore:  Auld Lang Syne

A Big Band Christmas

Saturday, Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m., $10 at Brown Paper Tickets
Tacoma Community College Building 3 Auditorium
6501 S. 19th St., Tacoma

LINK: Wetzel has more holiday cheer to give