KASU sponsors third Bebopalooza festival

By Megan Heyl
On October 12, 2011

An afternoon of live jazz will be featured at the third Bebopalooza Saturday at the Student Union Heritage Plaza.

KASU and the music department are sponsoring the event, which includes performances by Gary "El Buho" Gazaway, the student-led band Bluebeck and others.

Bebopalooza is a festival that, along with KASU's Jazz Thursdays, celebrates Jonesboro's history with jazz music.

"Going back to Alley Records in the ‘60s and ‘70s and the Jonesboro Jazz Society in the ‘70s and ‘80s, jazz has played an important role in Jonesboro," Larry "Hairy Larry" Heyl said.

Heyl, an ASU graduate of Jonesboro now majoring in music, has worked with KASU and the music department to put together Bebopalooza.

"We owe a great debt to Larry for promoting and organizing the event," KASU Station Manager Michael Doyle said.

"Jazz is also an important part of the ASU music department, which has several student jazz groups," Heyl said.

Joseph Curtis, a graduate trumpet performance major of Trumann, has assembled a group of ASU students from the ASU Big Band to play outside of class.

The band, Bluebeck, will be playing at its first Bebopalooza, but many of them have played at KASU's Jazz Thursday held on the fourth Thursday of the month at Bella'z on East Nettleton Avenue.

Evan Barwick, a senior electrical engineering major of Poplar Bluff, Mo. and bass player for Bluebeck, said, "It's good to bring jazz to a wider audience in the Jonesboro community."

"I think (Bebopalooza) is a great thing for the college and for Jonesboro," Curtis said.

Bebopalooza will start at 1 p.m. with the Ad Hoc Combo, an assemblage of local musicians and ASU students, followed by Little Rock singer, songwriters Suzanne Michell and Fred Wilson at 2 p.m. Bluebeck will play at 3 p.m. and Gazaway and The Memphis All-Stars will finish off the show.

Gazaway is a trumpeter from Pocahontas and majored in radio television at ASU in the 1970s. He has recorded on more than 25 major labels and worked extensively in Latin America.

At 7 p.m. an after party will be at 311 South Church St. The Swing Band Project will be having a jam session at the after party, allowing guest musicians to play with them.

Bebopalooza is a rain or shine event. If it rains, the festival will move to the Student Union Auditorium.

Doyle said that sponsoring Bebopalooza is a way to give back to KASU members.

"We get so much from the community; we wanted to do something for them," Doyle said.

KASU will start its biannual membership drive on Friday. Supporters can call in and make a pledge for any amount they wish to help KASU reach its goal of $45,000. They will also take membership pledges at Bebopalooza.

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