2020 Hot Springs JazzFest Canceled

The Hot Springs Jazz Society has announced the cancellation of the 29th Hot Springs JazzFest.  After months of deliberation and education regarding COVID safety and guidelines, the Hot Springs Jazz Society Board of Director’s voted on Tuesday, July 28 to cancel this year’s jazz festival.  “Although this was a difficult decision, we all agreed it is a necessary decision to assure the safety of the performing musicians, volunteers and audience.” Said Vicki Crisp, President of the Hot Springs Jazz Society.  In search of alternative venues for Jazz Society members and others to hear live jazz, the Jazz Society Board explored offering a Block Party Jazz concert with the first held in July at the home of Sharon and David Turrentine.  This concert was attended by the Turrentine’s neighbors and live streamed on Facebook.  The positive response from neighbors and social media comments has encouraged the Jazz Society board to continue producing these small, socially distanced, concerts in neighborhoods throughout Hot Springs and the Village. 

The next scheduled concert is planned for Friday, August 21 at 7pm and will be hosted by the Universal Unitarian Village Church.  The concert will present the John Leisenring Quintet featuring vocalist Fedett “Lady J” Johnson.  This event will also be attended by a small audience and live streamed on the Hot Springs Jazz Society’s Facebook page.  To attend this concert in the comfort of your easy chair, like the Hot Springs Jazz Society on Facebook and you can hear the music live.   If you would like to host a Block Party Jazz concert for your neighborhood, contact Gretchen Miller at 501-627-2425 or HSJazzSociety@gmail.com.

John Leisenring

Dr. John Leisenring, Professor Emeritus from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is the host of “Jazz On A Saturday Morning” on the new Hot Springs community radio station – KUHS-FM 102.5 on the FM dial.  Known to his listeners as “The Other Dr. John,” Leisenring plays jazz on Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

Our Dr. John taught trombone and jazz studies at the University of Texas-Austin, and for 30 years at UMKC.  He was a member of the faculty of the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Camps for 25 years, and has performed in 35 states and 9 foreign countries.  Performances include jazz festivals in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Montreux, Berlin, Copenhagen, and twice at the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island.

In addition to his jazz performances, Leisenring also toiled in the Kansas City Opera Orchestra, the KC Ballet Orchestra, and the Missouri Brass Quintet.

John earned two degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his doctorate from the University of Illinois.  In addition, he studied three years with the late Arnold Jacobs of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and often with David Baker at Indiana University, and a year with jazz trombonist Slide Hampton, with funds provided by a National Endowment for the Arts Study Grant.

He is a writer, and has been published in the Jazz Ambassador Magazine, the Jazz Educator’s Journal, and Kansas City’s Pitch Weekly.  Recordings include those with the SPIRIT OF KANSAS CITY JAZZ ORCHESTRA, and the MISSOURI BRASS QUINTET, plus electro-acoustic works for solo trombone by the renowned American composer Dr. James Mobberley.

Fedett "Lady J" Johnson

Fedett “Lady J” Johnson has been a perennial favorite in the Central Arkansas area and delivers in a rich contralto an exciting rendition on either Jazz or Blues vocalizing.  A feature in the first “Joy of Jazz” society fund raiser, as part of the 2008 JazzFest, she wore a Billie Holiday signature white flower in her hair and wowed the audience.  Johnson was showcased on the “Jazz Cabaret” at the Quapaw Community Center, and has been a featured guest artist in several Jazz Society events over the years.