The Hilton's got all that jazz

COSTA MESA — The Orange County Classic Jazz Festival began its 11th annual celebration Thursday at the Hilton Costa Mesa, bringing with it old tunes that have yet to get out of style.

This year's four-day festival will feature 118 jazz musicians, some who come from around the world like piano players Neville Dickie of London, and Louis Mazetier of Paris.

"It's great," Dickie said. "The audience you get here comes to hear the music. You get an audience that loves the music before you start playing. That's what they come to hear."

The festival was founded by three people who appreciate classic jazz: John Dieball, and Connie and Larry Baker.

Years ago, Dieball, already a jazz lover, enjoyed going to the L.A. Classic Jazz Festival. After the L.A. Classic Jazz ran out of money, Dieball decided to buy it.

"Basically what I bought was the mailing list," he said.

Dieball, who lives in Orange, then put the mailing list he bought to work after getting a request from his friend, Dan Fitzgerald, who also happens to be Hilton Costa Mesa's director of sales and marketing, to put on the festival.

Fitzgerald wanted the festival to take place in August, Dieball said, because that's when business is down.

"We have a fabulous reputation," Dieball said. "We fill this hotel and the hotel across the street."

Dieball said the festival, which lasts until Sunday, brings in quite a bit of revenue to the city and its businesses.

The performances celebrate classic jazz from 1910 to 1950 and will feature swing, balboa and bebop dancers.

All the events take place at the Hilton, 3050 Bristol St.

Prices are: $90 for all events; $50 on Friday; $55 on Saturday; and $45 on Sunday.

For more information, call (888) 215-6222.

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