High Country Jazz Festival June 9-11

April 18, 2023
Wednesday, April 19th
April 18, 2023

High Country Jazz Festival June 9-11

High Country Jazz Festival June 9-11

“And All That Jazz…”
Headliners Announced for 2023 High Country Jazz Festival June 9-11
Artists Include Count Basie Orchestra, Emmet Cohen Trio, Reggie Buie Group
BOONE, NC – Joining together for only the second time in a precedent-setting partnership, the
Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (ATHC), Boone Sunrise Rotary, and the Jazz Studies
Program at Appalachian State University proudly announce the headliners for the 2023 High
Country Jazz Festival taking place in Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina, from June 9
through 11, 2023. Tickets are now on sale via the website: www.highcountryjazzfestival.org
Presented by Mast General Store with additional support from Explore Boone and Hampton Inn
& Suites, the High Country Jazz Festival is a collaborative project that aims “to host exceptional
and engaging jazz experiences for local residents and regional audiences with proceeds to
support arts, education, and civic programs that enrich our High Country home.”

Headliner performances by The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra and the Emmet Cohen
Trio take place in the historic Appalachian Theatre in Boone with the Reggie Buie Group
performing outdoors under a tent at the Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock. Additional festival
affiliated events will be announced shortly, along with additional sponsors and host locations,
including outdoor concerts, late night jams, jazz lunches, and a popular jazz-themed film.
Keith Martin and Todd Wright are co-chairs of the 2023 Festival and members of the leadership
team planning the celebration. “The inaugural festival in 2022 was a success even before its first
concert took place,” said Martin. “We knew we had a hit on our hands when asked about dates
for next year at our opening event. That success was due primarily to the collective wisdom and
consolidated efforts by three separate entities who came together to create the festival: The
Appalachian Theatre, Boone Sunrise Rotary Club, and the Jazz Studies Program at Appalachian
State University. The entire group is back for an encore event this year.”

Martin, who also chairs the App Theatre board, said “The common denominator behind every
major cultural event is a dynamic visionary; with the High Country Jazz Festival, our quixotic
driving force was — and is — Todd Wright, who has been talking about creating such an event
for over a decade.”

“All we needed for this dream to become a reality was an anchor venue,” said Wright, “and the
Appalachian Theatre has proven to be the perfect facility to host the High Country Jazz Festival.
Since last August, I have been working with App Theatre Executive Director Suzanne Livesay
to develop a short list of headliners to anchor the 2023 Festival. Fortunately, we were able to
engage the groups at the very top of our list.”

The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra®, directed by Scotty Barnhart, with guest vocalist
Carmen Bradford, will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 9 at the Appalachian Theatre. In the
history of jazz music, there is only one bandleader that has the distinction of having his orchestra
still performing sold out concerts all over the world, with members personally chosen by him, for
over 30 years after his passing. Pianist and bandleader William James “Count” Basie was — and
still is — an American institution that personifies the grandeur and excellence of Jazz. The Count
Basie Orchestra, today directed by Scotty Barnhart, has won every respected jazz poll in the
world at least once, captured 18 Grammy Awards, performed for kings, queens, and other world
royalty, appeared in several movies, television shows, at every preeminent jazz festival and
major concert hall in the world.

Wright asked, “What can you say about Basie that hasn’t already been said? He was out of
Kansas City in the 1920s and playing silent movies until being hired as a second pianist for the
Bennie Moten Orchestra before starting his own group. If you listen closely to their ‘All American
Rhythm Section,’ you’ll hear Bill Basie at the piano, Freddie Green on guitar, Walter Page on
bass, and ‘Jo’ Jones on drums. They could swing like crazy and drove audience members wild
with their virtuosity musicianship, performing with legends such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald,
and Sarah Vaughan. And now the tradition continues.”

The Emmet Cohen Trio takes to the App Theatre stage at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 10.
Cohen is an internationally acclaimed jazz artist and winner of the 2019 American Pianists
Award. He appears regularly with jazz greats Benny Golson, Tootie Heath, and Lea DeLaria
among others. During the 2020 pandemic lockdown, he gained fame and revived the jazz genre
with weekly live-streamed performances featuring a wide range of jazz works.  Cohen has
appeared in varied international jazz events, including the Newport, Monterey, Detroit, North
Sea, Bern, Edinburgh, and Jerusalem jazz festivals, as well as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage
Festival and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia. He performed at the Village Vanguard,
the Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Birdland, Jazz Standard, London’s Ronnie Scott’s,
Jazzhaus Montmartre in Copenhagen, Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall, the Cotton Club in Tokyo, and
the Kennedy Center.

“Surprisingly, the Emmet Cohen Trio will be making their High Country debut during our ’23
Festival,” said Wright. “This incredibly talented trio of musicians are all in their 30s and will give
our audiences a chance to hear what they’ve been missing from the younger crowd.”
At 5:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, June 11, The Reggie Buie Group, will perform under the
tent at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock. A resident of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Buie began
his musical journey at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. From there, he attended
Florida A&M and was a member of the famed “Marching 100.” Buie earned both writing and
recording credits on the national level while living in Miami. Now, the Reggie Buie Group is
a regular on stage in Greensboro, Charlotte, and Raleigh swinging between smooth jazz
and standards.  His group’s versatility and ability to move effortlessly between soft background
music, performing jazz standards, music for dancing, or delivering passionate jazz performances
and improvisation are hallmarks of their live concerts.

Wright said, “The Reggie Buie Group offers something a little different, a smooth jazz sound that
showcases these Winston-Salem based artists for High Country Jazz audiences. We’re
expecting this to be a memorable event.”

“Todd and I both want to give a shout out to the 2023 leadership team who has been working
since last June to make this years’ High Country Jazz Festival even bigger and better,” said
Martin. “These dedicated volunteers include John Cooper, Mark Freed, Sali Gill-Johnson, Paige
Henderson, Brian Irving, David Jackson, Suzanne Livesay, Keith Martin, Sheri Moretz, Denise
Ringler, Kathy Scott, Jim Street, and Wright Tilley. None of this would have been possible without
their collaborative efforts.”

The High Country Jazz Festival is excited to offer an “all-event” ticket, which includes admission
to all three headliner performances. There are two options: Premier ($110, including taxes and
fees, with prime seating for Appalachian Theatre performances) and Regular ($95, including
taxes and fees). To purchase tickets, please visit the festival’s official website at

The High Country Jazz Festival is a collaborative program of:
About the Appalachian Theatre
The mission of the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country is to revitalize and sustain this historic
community touchstone as a quality home for diverse artists and audiences with a special focus on
programs that celebrate our distinctive Appalachian heritage and enhance our capacity to serve as an
economic catalyst for Boone and the High Country. Once a gorgeous 999-seat Art Deco movie house,
the building closed in 2007 and sat empty and gutted for years. On October 14, 2019, the Appalachian
Theatre reopened its doors after a $10 million renovation that brought the distinctive Art Deco details
back to this historic theatre and created a new 629-seat, state-of-the-art, acoustically pristine venue for
live concerts, films, plays, and dance performances. The historic Appalachian Theatre has entertained
regional audiences in the heart of downtown Boone, North Carolina since 1938, (www.apptheatre.org).

About Boone Sunrise Rotary:
Boone Sunrise Rotary brings together business, professional and civic leaders within our community.
Rotary promotes integrity, understanding and goodwill locally, nationally, and worldwide. The proceeds
from the festival will further Rotary’s commitment to humanitarian and civic service and will go directly to
many of the local nonprofit organizations that serve the High Country, (www.boonerotary.org).

About the Jazz Studies Program:
The Jazz Studies Program at Appalachian State University identifies students with a special interest in
jazz, promotes high standards of jazz performance, and expands the circle of students who have
meaningful experiences with jazz during their college careers. Program support will help provide student
enrichment, off-set performance tour costs, student scholarships, host acclaimed jazz clinicians and the
purchase of music and supplies. www.music.appstate.edu