Part 3: Jazzaffair 2019; High Sierra, Earl McKee, and the end of an era


With all the drastic changes taking shape in the world today, nobody can say for certain if there will be another Jazzaffair. When there is, will fans join arms and swing in the traditional finale? Will social distance betray the friendship reserved for these folks who spend a lot of quality time together at jazz festivals? Part 3 Jazzaffair 2019

The Part 3 of the Finale features the indomitable Pieter Meijers. It wasn’t easy replacing High Sierra’s founding front man and jazz legend Al Smith, but Pieter, at the helm as leader for the next two decades, made the transition seamless. In this clip, Pieter banters with his beloved audience and tells his Honey-Do-Do memory from the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee. Part 3 Jazzaffair 2019

Especially now, the jazz community will look back on how special Jazzaffair 2019 turned out to be. There wouldn’t be much argument; the 2019 edition was the best of all 46 Jazzaffairs. With Earl McKee’s passing two days before the opening performance, the retirement of the High Sierra Jazz Band — this Jazzaffair was an emotional roller coaster. Every musician had to “buck up” in the words of Bob Draga and deliver the music and the memories — “Earl wouldn’t have wanted it any other way: The Show must go on.” Part 3 Jazzaffair 2019

The one-on-one interviews with Tom Rigney and Bob Draga captured the essence Jazzaffair. Tom Rigney tells how he discovered the Trad Jazz circuit and gives context for the music and why he loves Dixieland jazz but chose to play roots music. Rigney’s musical genius has opened up festival lineups and helps guarantee there will be a future for these jazz gatherings. Part 3 Jazzaffair 2019

“Earl was actually an old fiddle player and he started coming to our sets,” Rigney explained. “He loved our band. Just his presence in the room gave credibility to someone coming from outside this scene… If Earl signed off on you then people knew we better check this guy out.” 

.Part 3 Jazzaffair 2019

Part 2: Jazzaffair 2019, High Sierra, Earl McKee, and the end of an era

Jazzaffair 2019: High Sierra Jazz Band, Earl McKee, and the end of an era in retrospect


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