Last year's debut Orange County Art & Jazz Festival put an interesting twist to the usual outdoor music festival proceedings. Held on the grounds of the American Way Cultural Center in Orange, the festival looked to the future of the music by mingling bands from area colleges and high schools with such professional musicians as saxophonist Eric Marienthal and trumpeter Tony Guerrero, who played with the band from his alma mater, Cal State Fullerton.
This year's festival is scheduled to run three full days, beginning Friday, on the grounds of the Fullerton Arboretum. The premise is the same: A dozen high school and college bands will work with Guerrero and other professionals, including saxophonist Bob Sheppard (seen touring in the last year with Steely Dan and keyboardist Lyle Mays), trombonist Alex Isles and trumpeter Jeff Bunnell.
A handful of professional bands are also on tap, including the percussive-wise combo Latinum, the quintet of saxophonist Dan St. Marseille and the salsa ensemble of violinist Susie Hansen.
"Our purpose is to stimulate and educate the young musicians of Southern California while providing some great entertainment that's affordable for families," said festival director Larry Anders.
Jim Linahon, director of jazz studies at Fullerton College, said cuts in music education funding makes events like this all the more important.
"It's a great experience for young people to play with pros under professional conditions. These students will see a higher standard than the garage-band mentality that we now have in popular music."
The festival also will feature displays from area fine artists ("It's not a craft show," Anders emphasized) as well as food vendors.
* What: Orange County Art & Jazz Festival.
* When: Friday, May 20, noon to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 21, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, May 22, 11:45 a.m. to 6 p.m.
* Where: Fullerton Arboretum on the Cal State Fullerton campus, 1900 Associated Road, Fullerton.
* Whereabouts: Exit the Orange (57) Freeway at Yorba Linda Boulevard. Go west on Yorba Linda to Associated Road, turn left into campus.
* Wherewithal: $7 general admission each day, $3 for children ages 3 to 12, free for under age 3. VIP tickets (good for reserved seating near stage and admission to a VIP party, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) available for $25 at the Fullerton Hofbrau.
* Where to call: Information: (714) 541-2787.
Three Days of Jazz
Noon: Fullerton College Stage Band.
1 p.m.: Cypress College Big Band featuring saxophonist Tommy Thomas.
2 p.m.: Fullerton College Big Band.
3 p.m.: Cal State Long Beach Big Band with trumpeter Jeff Bunnell.
4:30 p.m.: Latinum.
10 a.m.: Fullerton College Stage Band.
10:30 a.m.: Villa Park High School Big Band.
11:15 a.m.: Los Altos High School Big Band.
Noon: Fullerton College Big Band with saxophonist Bob Sheppard and trombonist Alex Isles.
1 p.m.: Dan St. Marseille Quintet.
2:30 p.m.: Trumpeter Steve Crum's Group.
3:30 p.m.: The OCA&JF; All-Star Band with Jeff Bunnell, Alex Isles and Bob Sheppard.
5 p.m.: Violinist Susie Hansen's Band.
11:45 a.m.: Saddleback College Big Band.
12:30 p.m.: El Dorado High School Big Band.
1:15 p.m.: Pico Rivera City Community Big Band.
2 p.m.: Fusion band New Edge with keyboardist Ron Kobiyashi.
3 p.m.: L.A. County High School of the Arts Combo.
4 p.m.: Blues guitarist and singer Roger Wynfield.
5 p.m.: Trumpeter Tony Guerrero and saxophonist Greg Vail.