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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘Celebrities’ to name that tune

The Spokane Jazz Orchestra turns to some high-name-recognition help in choosing the tunes for its Saturday night concert at The Met.

The theme is “Spokane Celebrity Favorites,” which means that Mayor Jim West, KXLY personality Debra Wilde and Spokane Symphony director Eckart Preu will be among eight local figures introducing their favorite jazz pieces.

“They chose some very interesting pieces,” said Spokane Jazz Orchestra music director Dan Keberle. “They’ll all be introducing the pieces and they’re all such great speakers. It should be fun.”

Preu chose the theme from “The Pink Panther” as one of his selections. Wilde picked “Ain’t She Sweet” and “All of Me.” One of West’s choices will be a little-known piece by Slide Hampton titled “The Spokane Blues,” written when Hampton visited Whitworth College a number of years ago.

The other local presenters include Whitworth College president Bill Robinson, who chose “Route 66” as one of his pieces; KPBX-FM jazz host Brian Flick, who chose “Come Rain or Come Shine” and “Stella by Starlight”; and KPBX-FM jazz host Bruce Davis, who chose Benny Goodman’s “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” Les Brown’s “Leapfrog” and Tommy Dorsey’s “Song of India.”

“Bruce has all of these first-person accounts of all of the musicians,” said Keberle. “He even went golfing with Benny Goodman.”

The other celebrities and some of their choices are KPBX-FM’s Charles Schlesinger (“Harlem Nocturne”) and KEWU-FM station manager Elizabeth Farris (“Take the A-Train”).

The celebrities weren’t exactly restricted in their choices. The SJO has more than 1,500 jazz band tunes in its library.

The concert also will feature the winner of the SJO’s high school jazz soloist competition. This year’s competition was for trumpeters, and the winner, Josh Wiegelt from Gonzaga Prep, will be the featured soloist on the trumpet standard “I Remember Clifford.”

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