Big band music highlights Ritz on the River

Published 10:17 am Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Jazz ensembles could be heard in clubs across America during the Big Band era or “swing era” as it was sometimes referred. The musicians who performed in these ensembles typically played saxophones, trumpets and trombones. A four-piece rhythm section composed of drums, acoustic bass or electric bass, piano and guitar was also included in these orchestras.

The ranges of style with each of these bands were generally reflective of the bandleader, lead arranger or star vocalist. Some of the most notable in the industry included Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday.

The LA Legacy Jazz Orchestra will perform for the second annual Ritz on the River at the Vicksburg Convention Center offering locals the sights and sounds of a bygone era.

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The performance will include classic big band sounds, funk, Latin and salsa music, Annette Kirklin, the executive director of the VCC said, and the show will conclude with a cameo performance by former Miss Mississippi Jasmine Murray.

LA Legacy’s repertoire also includes music by Elvis, the Beatles and Chicago.

The band will offer music every age can enjoy, Kirklin said.

Other vocalist during the show will be Bach Norwood, Naomi Holder and Adam Jones of the LA Legacy.

“There are still some dinner seating and general admission tickets available,” Kirklin said.

The LA Legacy Jazz Orchestra is a 14-piece group comprised of musicians totaling more than 40 years experience combined, co-owner of the ensemble, Bert Windham said.

“Some of the musicians play in community or combo groups,” he said, adding that several of the musicians are also professors at nearby universities or are high school band directors.

Windham said the band got its start playing at weddings four years ago, and throughout the group’s history, they have tried to customize their performances for each of their venues.

“It has been our success to customize,” Windham said.

Tickets for the dinner show are $50, in advance only and will include a filet meal with shrimp and grits. Dessert will be white chocolate bread pudding.

“People are still talking about the dessert from last year,” Kirklin said.

One drink is included in the price of the ticket, and a cash bar will also be available.

“Three of the group’s musicians will perform during the dinner,” she said, adding dinner will be served 6:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 8.

General admission show tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the show. A $15 student ticket plus applicable service charges is also available.

A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Storehouse Community Food Pantry, Kirklin said.

“This is a way we can give back,” she said.

During Thursday’s show, Mutual Credit Union will sponsor a cash prize for the person who has the most online interaction through live tweets with the hashtag #ritzonriver throughout the event, Kirklin said, and the tweets will be projected on the video screens that are by the stage.

“The winner will take home $200,” Kirklin said.

Tickets may be purchased at, 1-800-745-3000 or the Vicksburg Convention Center Box Office. For more information, call 601- 630-2929.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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