PUBLISHED: 5:40 PM on Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Big names return for Jazz & Classics
The annual Juneau Jazz & Classics returns this week, bringing with it world-renowned Blues and Jazz musicians.

The 10-day event, held May 16-25, features individual performances and open rehearsals.

Jazz & Classics Artistic Director Linda Rosenthal founded the event 22 years ago and is still involved today with selecting the musicians invited to attend. Jeanine Smith, who worked part-time during the past three events is now serving as executive director.

Smith said the level of talent and experience coming into Juneau is what sets Jazz & Classics apart from other musical events.

"We are totally unique in bringing world renowned and respected musicians to Juneau for 10 days of concerts," she said. "The caliber of talent that comes to Juneau Jazz & Classics is something you would pay twice as much to see in other cities, but they look to come to Alaska because they enjoy the audiences here.

Among the big names attending this year are Cabernet singer Lannie Garrett, Blues musician Charlie Musselwhite and Butch Thompson, of the Butch Thompson Trio.

The Butch Thompson Trio was the house band for public radio's "Praire Home Companion" for eight years. One of Musselwhite's albums was recently named one of the Top 50 Blues albums in the last 50 years by Downbeat Magazine.

"Linda has really outdone herself this year in terms of selecting individual classical musicians and acts in a variety of programs," Smith said. "There is really something for everyone and we pack it into 10 days. When you think about it, it really is a festival. There is something every day and every night."

Jazz & Classics is a mix of free and ticketed concerts. Some musicians hold open rehearsals and others hosts workshops where the public can receive one-on-one instruction.

"I really encourage people to sign up for the workshops," Smith said. "It's a small instructor-to-student ratio and these are people teaching at some of the best music schools around the country and you can get good one-one-one time with them."

For more information about Juneau Jazz & Classics visit