Jazz music is the passion of Sherman Jazz Museum owner Bill Collins III. His love of sharing jazz music with others was one of the pushes behind the recent Sherman Jazz Festival.
Through the work of Collins and Old Iron Post Owners Robert and Sherry Little, the Sherman Jazz Festival brought the 3 River Band, Victoria Cook, Alan Baylock and the University of North Texas’ One O’Clock Lab Jazz Band, and Doc Severinsen to downtown Sherman for two days of music.
“I am excited to get Doc to the museum,” said Collins before the April 13 start of the festival. “His posters and his trumpet are in there. It will be a lot of fun to see him see his items in the museum and to reminisce with him about his stuff.”
Robert Little says that the jazz festival was all about celebrating culture.
“It would be a waste of the cultural assets that we have in downtown Sherman if we did not do this,” he says. “We want people to visit the museum because it has great artifacts. It would be a shame to let the cultural assets that we have in this area go to waste. We also have a pool of very talented local musicians.”
Ahead of the performance, Baylock says that he is excited to play in Sherman because of the city’s rich history and how supportive the city has been of music throughout the years.
“Jazz has been called ‘America’s Classical Music,’ rightly so,” Baylock says. “It was born here, raised here and continues to flourish here. However, the essential ingredients of jazz came from various parts of the world. Just like the United States, it’s a melting pot of the best of each culture, and its strength is its diversity.”
Baylock says that to him, the most enticing part of jazz music is the spontaneity and element of surprise.
“The music has definite structure, but, at the same time, it allows the musicians to be free to express themselves in a creative, moving way,” he says.
Live music is an experience, Baylock explains.
“Of course, Doc Severinsen is a legendary musician!” he says of performing with the musician best known for being Johnny Carson’s longtime band leader on the “Tonight Show.” “Once we mix that expertise with the eager young musicians of the One O’Clock Lab Band, magic is bound to happen. The audience will definitely hear recognizable melodies, but that will be mixed in with new and exciting sounds.”
Robert Little says that growing up watching Doc Severinsen, there is no baby boomer in Grayson County that does not know his name. He says that when Baylock was able to help bring Severinsen to the festival, he knew the area would be excited about jazz history.
“Defining jazz is very difficult, but its essential elements include extended harmony, syncopated rhythms, improvisation and the quintessential ‘feel’ of the music itself,” Baylock says. “At the same time, jazz is like a chameleon that can effortlessly adapt to its surroundings.”
The joy and excitement of live music is something Baylock hopes stays with Grayson County.
“Our goal is to evoke a variety of emotions from the audience that will not only move them during the performance, but will last long in their memories as well,” he says.
The Sherman Jazz Museum is located at 201 E. Lamar St. in Sherman. For more information on the museum, call 903-893-5673. The museum is open from 1-5 p.m. Saturdays