Playing Jazz to Beat the Band

When the Oak Park Jazz Festival kicks off Saturday, jazz lovers will have paid for more than just a day’s worth of musical enjoyment.

The event--1:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Oak Park High School--will benefit the Brookside Elementary School performing arts curriculum.

The day’s lineup includes jazz bands of Simi Valley High School, Pierce College and a group formed by employees of Rocketdyne.

Enthusiasts, though, won’t want to miss the event’s headliner, Joe Vento’s All Star Jazz Band.


Festival coordinator Jeff Yellin said of the ensemble, “Band director Joe Vento has assembled a group of tremendous musicians.”

Musical arrangements by Sammy Nestico will feature the works of jazz greats Count Basie and Glenn Miller.

The All Stars--a 28-member band--includes “Tonight Show” band members and such veteran professionals as trombonist Bill Watrous, saxophonist Jack Nimitz and trumpeter Pete Candoli.

“You can expect Basie classics like ’88 Basie Street’ and the bouncy ‘Basie Straight Ahead,’ ” Vento said.


The band will also feature a medley of Glenn Miller tunes and will be accompanied by featured vocalist Kathy Jenson.

Oak Park High School is at 899 N. Kanan Road, Agoura.

Tickets are $14; $9 students; $6 senior citizens. Pre-ordered discount tickets available. Call 492-7905.