Crescent Super Band Wows at Telluride Jazz Festival

The Crescent Super Band onstage at Telluride Jazz Fest. I had to stand WAY BACK to show how big the audience was!

(This is an update to this post, since I just got done seeing the Crescent Super Band perform again live at the Telluride Jazz Festival.)

In one word, AWESOME! I know it’s an overused word, but it’s the only word I can think of to describe The Crescent Super Band’s performance this weekend on the Main Stage and on the Stage at Elks Park at the Telluride Jazz Festival. Full disclosure, I had (and am still having as I write this) the pleasure of watching my 17-year-old son, Derrick, and his amazing band mates in Caleb Chapman’s Crescent Super Band perform. But even if I weren’t the mom of one of the band members, I’d still have to honestly say they were fantastic. And it’s not just me, the enthusiastic response from the audience that resulted in several standing ovations says it all!

For those of you not schooled in jazz (and I’m guessing that might be most of you) the Telluride Jazz Festival is one of the biggest jazz fests in North America, second only to the Monterey Pop Jazz Festival. Musical greats from all walks of jazz have graced this stage ranging from Stanley Clark to Tower of Power to The Neville Brothers to Paquito D’Rivera. The mere fact that the Crescent Super Band has been invited to perform here three years in a row is testament to the uncanny musical abilities of these young musicians and their dedicated director, Caleb Chapman.

Brooks Hiatt performs an awesome sax solo while vocalist Madi Christensen looks on.

If you’re unfamiliar with The Crescent Super Band you’re really missing out. A 22-piece jazz big band made up of high school kids ranging in age from 15 to 18, these kids originate from all over Utah and have to pass a rigorous audition every September to make it into the band for the upcoming school year. Practicing once a week in American Fork, Utah, student section leaders also organize regular sectionals as often as needed.

Remarkably, the Crescent Super Band has frequently been hailed as the top band of their type in the world, garnering several Downbeat Awards for both the individual musicians and for the band as a whole. In addition to Telluride Jazz Festival, they’ve also performed internationally at Umbria Jazz Festival and Montreaux Jazz Festival, and have played with everyone from Grammy-winners Gordon Goodwin and Bob Mintzer to jazz icon Toshiko Akiyoshi. But if that isn’t enough, next May 21, 2013, The Crescent Super Band will perform at Carnegie Hall. Obviously I’ll be in the front row smiling ear-to-ear through tears of pride.

To say these kids are pro musicians by the time they graduate from high school is an understatement.

The Telluride Jazz Festival audience gets wild and crazy dancing to the Crescent Super Band

If you missed their performance this year at the Telluride Jazz Festival you can still catch them on iTunes. Their latest CD What It Is is available in its entirety or you can buy their individual songs. But if I were you, I’d download the whole CD. Every song is a winner.

And if you love jazz, or even if you only kind of like it, but love sitting outside in a beautiful mountain setting, sipping on libations (or not, your choice) while listening to great music, then come to the Telluride Jazz Festival next time. You have a whole year now to plan for it. So what are you waiting for?


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Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.

For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on