The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

First High Desert Jazz and Blues Festival

Oct 17, 2014


Mojave – It may have been the first High Desert Jazz and Blues Festival, but many are hoping it is not the last.

The evening at the Stuart Witt Event Center located at the Mojave Air and Space Port started with the Lori Andrews Quartet playing their set of upbeat jazz pieces. No smoky rooms and sultry sounds, no. Andrews surprised many with her lively and jazzed up harp playing.

"I am known for a slap bass technique," Andrews explained. It is a technique she has developed over her 30 plus years of training and playing. A technique she employees seemingly effortlessly on the harp strings.

"It helps give rhythm to the favorite pop tunes that are often requested," Andrews added, and she has added it to the pieces that she has written herself.

"Who would have thought to play a harp in a jazz band," Neil Brunett, of Tehachapi, said in amazement as he enjoyed listening to the quartet's multitude of songs.

Andrews was joined by Bart Samolis playing the bass, Mark Hollingsworth who blew on the saxophone and the flute while Kurt Walther did more than just keep the beat on the drums. Each of the four exhibited their own musical talents during solos but their 17 years of playing together was evident, as they kept the audience wanting more.

During the change of bands the attendees were invited to seconds from the supper selection, and to secure their bids on the silent auction items that were awarded after the Chaise Lounge sextet took the stage to share their quick wit and playful jazzy swing and big band playlist.

Marilyn Older sang lead most of the time and was joined by Charlie Barnett who sang and played the keyboard. Tommy Barrick kept the beat strong on the drums, while Gary Gregg wailed on the tenor sax and showed his versatility by softening up the mood as he blew sweet sounds on the flute. John Jenson's musical weapon of choice is the trombone and Pete Ostle showed his love for plunking the strings of the bass.

The goals of the Mojave Foundation includes making the area safer while making it a more desirable and beautiful place to live. These events help make that possible.

"The proceeds generated from the night's event is helping us put 30-50 street lights up locally in the areas with high crime and especially pedestrian traffic," Todd Quelet, founder and executive director of the Mojave Foundation said. He added, with a sorrow-filled voice, "Last year we had three pedestrian deaths, and these lights will help us to make sure we do our best to not have that happen again."

In addition, lighting up the streets will aid in minimizing the break-ins and attempted break-ins in the area, according to Quelet.

The free event couldn't have been brought to the community without the generous corporate support and partners like S&Y Furniture, Anthony's Grill, TNR Hobbies, Stoken Donuts and Golden Queen Mining Company.

"I want to thank everyone who came out tonight and extend my utmost respect and gratitude to Steve Slaughter for making the personal sacrifice to give this musical gift to the community," Quelet said.

For more information on events

supported by the Mojave Foundation

go to or call (661) 749-0910.


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