Lianne and the Jazzjets band members, from right, Lianne Pyle, Neil March­man and Willie Samuelson rehearse Tuesday. They perform from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. today at the Depot Art Center.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Lianne and the Jazzjets band members, from right, Lianne Pyle, Neil March­man and Willie Samuelson rehearse Tuesday. They perform from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. today at the Depot Art Center.

Jazzjets plan high-energy show in Steamboat

Band performs today with Arts Council singer-songwriter series

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If you go

What: Lianne and the Jazzjets

When: 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. today

Where: Depot Art Center

Cost: $10, or $5 for Steamboat Springs Arts Council members

— Those who venture to the Depot Art Center tonight can expect a high-energy show featuring jazz classics with a fresh twist, Lianne Pyle pledged.

The lead vocalist of Lianne and the Jazzjets said her band would reintroduce classic jazz standards, such as songs by Ella Fitzgerald, in arrangements all its own.

“We kind of get inspiration from old songs from the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, but we make them our own,” Pyle said.

The band performs at 7:30 p.m. at the Depot as part of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council’s singer-songwriter series. Tickets are $10, or $5 for Arts Council members. Beer and wine will be available.

The band consists of Pyle, Neil Marchman on guitar, Jon Cornella playing percussion and Willie Samuelson on electric and upright bass. Pyle, a Michigan native, said she’s been in Steamboat since 1992 and the band has been performing together for a couple of years.

The band is excited to perform at tonight’s event because Steamboat is home to few vocal jazz groups, Pyle said. She’s looking forward to exposing more people to jazz.

“It’s something a little different,” she said. “There’s not a lot of jazz showcase events like this, so it was just a really great match.”

Pyle also said Lianne and the Jazzjets wanted to help support the Arts Council.

“We wanted to be included in this because, No. 1, it’s a great cause, and I think that we’re all super creative; I’m hoping we have some talent to showcase. I think we do.”

Part of the proceeds from admissions go to the council, and the remainder goes to the band, Arts Council Program Manager Rachel Radetsky said. Tonight’s show will be the fourth in the singer-songwriter series, which started in October, she said.

“The turnout has been pretty good,” Radetsky said. “I think we’ve had about 50 to 60 people per concert, which is great.”

The artists who have performed in the series appreciate having an alternative, more intimate venue in the Depot, she said.

Marchman, who also teaches music, will play guitar in tonight’s show. He said the quartet was the only active jazz group in Steamboat with a female vocalist.

Tonight’s event provides a needed outlet for the act, Marchman said.

“There are not enough jazz venues year-round, and so this give Steamboaters another opportunity to hear vocal jazz and instrumental jazz also,” he said.

Pyle said the band has an interactive style that’s energetic but also will make audience members feel comfortable. Marchman’s description was similar.

It’s “kind of a fresh, light approach, an energetic approach, a fun approach,” he said. “Lianne’s real good with the audience; she’s a real expressive singer, and it’s hard for her to sit still on stage.”

Pyle said she comes from a musical family. Her grandmother was an opera singer, her mother is a classical harpist, and Pyle said she has been singing since age 16. She studied vocal jazz in college and developed at least part of her musical taste in Chicago blues clubs.

“I’ve been singing basically my whole life,” Pyle said. “It’s a huge passion.”

Although the band’s musicians all participate in other projects, as well, Pyle said tonight’s show kicks off several summer performances for Lianne and the Jazzjets.

“I think that Lianne and the Jazzjets are here to stay, for sure,” she said.

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