The Balcones Heights Jazz Festival will soon kick off.
“The Balcones Heights Jazz Festival runs this year for four consecutive Friday nights: July 11, 18, 25, and August 1," said Balcones Heights Director of Community Initiatives Lorenzo Nastasi.
“The venue is really remarkable -- at Wonderland of the Americas around that wonderful reflecting pool, the amphitheater setting, the grassy hillside.”
And then there’s the music. It's all Jazz, but jazz features a lot of iterations.
“The concentration is on smooth jazz, but this year we have a particularly interesting lineup,” said Nastasi.
Part of that lineup is Steve Oliver, whose style of jazz is hard to classify.
“I’m like a hybrid. [My music] has jazz, it has pop, it has Latin, it has R&B, it has world music," said Oliver. "Plus I’m a singer, so I sing and use my voice as an instrument, like Bobby McFerrin, Al Jareau."
But that’s not all. He's a guitar player, but not just any kind of guitar playing.
“And then with my guitar I play synth guitar, so I’m triggering keyboard sounds, stuff from the guitar,” Oliver said.
I asked him what people who don’t listen to jazz are missing.
“A lot actually, bcause there’s so much to listen for," Oliver said. "When you start figuring it out -- Wow! there’s all this percussion sounds, and there’s different rhythm elements, and world elements. It’s just so diverse. And it’s feel-good music, too."
Oliver is one of eight acts on four separate nights of the jazz fest.
“The music’s great, so it’s a great time,” he said.
- For more on the Balcones Jazz Festival visit: www.reachfortheheights.org/jazz-festival
Watch a video with Steve Oliver: