'Jazz in Hollywood' Kicks Off 2022 Jazz in the Park Series


"Jazz in Hollywood" is the theme of the first of four La Crosse Jazz Orchestra Sunday concerts at Riverside Park. The concert will start at 7 p.m. July 10 at Riverside Park.

"The band has prepared some terrific big band arrangements of great movies," says Greg Balfany, LJO band director. "The concert is also a powerhouse performance for lead trumpeter, Brent Turney from UW-Stevens Point." He will reprise Maynard Ferguson’s performances of “Theme from Shaft” and “Gonna Fly Now” from the movie “Rocky.” 

The great drum sequence from “Whiplash” on Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” will be further explored by Winona drummer Rich MacDonald, Balfany says. He will also guide the band though Buddy Rich’s “West Side Story” in tribute to the beautifully reworked movie by Steven Spielberg.

James Bond, Looney Tunes and Judy Garland are among the several others that get the full LJO big band treatment. 

The iconic Count Basie scene from “Blazing Saddles” brings the program to a close. 

"In the movie, the band was set up in the middle of the desert," Balfany says. "Bart (Cleavon Little) is headed to the Old West town of Rock Ridge as the new sheriff, dressed to the nines. Count Basie's signature jazz number, "April in Paris," plays in the background, highlighting Bart's urbane demeanor. And as Bart rides across the prairie, he encounters ... Count Basie and his orchestra, performing "April in Paris" right there on the frontier. Who knows who will ride by during our performance!"

The concert is free for all and suitable for the whole family. This is the first concert of the Gertrude Salzer Gordon Jazz in the Park 2022 Concert Series. The rain site for all LJO concerts is the Cavalier Theater, 118 5th Ave N., in downtown La Crosse.



The La Crosse Jazz Orchestra is Western Wisconsin's premier big band. Directed by Greg Balfany, the group is best known through its Jazz in the Park concert series. The LJO mission: to promote, preserve and forward the creation of jazz music through free live performances available to all in our region. LJO operates under fiscal sponsorship from La Crosse Community Foundation.

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