Band leader Delbert Anderson says audience in for a treat

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FARMINGTON — Delbert Anderson was an undergraduate music student at Eastern New Mexico University in 2006 when he got the chance to attend the annual conference of the International Trumpet Guild in Thailand.

He recalled that a highlight of the event was the nightly jam sessions in the hotel lounge, where players from all over the world convened to play together, and maybe show off a little, in a relaxed setting. Anderson, now an adjunct music instructor at San Juan College and frontman for his own successful jazz combo, was strolling past the lounge during one of those sessions when the performance of one of those musicians, Brad Goode, caught his ear — and everyone else's, apparently, as a crowd gathered at the door to listen to Goode's mesmerizing solo.

"I forget the tune they were playing, but he was playing in the stratosphere," Anderson said.

Even today, a dozen years later, Anderson marvels at what he heard that night and what he has observed of Goode's work since then. It left such an impression on him that Anderson invited Goode to serve as the guest instrumentalist for this weekend's 19th annual Jazz Festival at the college.

"He can play that thing inside and out," Anderson said Wednesday night after finishing rehearsal as the leader of the San Juan College Jazz Big Band, which will join Goode on stage during the festival, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Friday in the Henderson Fine Arts Center Performance Hall on the college campus, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington.

Perhaps the most striking thing about Goode's performance that night, Anderson recalled, was the ferocious sound he conjured from his instrument, even though Goode presented an easily overlooked physical presence as one of the smallest men in the room.

"He was running everyone off the bandstand," Anderson said, laughing. "These were all professional jazz players, and he basically tore the whole house down. I don't think anyone wanted to play after him."

Goode is now a faculty member at the University of Colorado, but he has recorded 17 albums over the years as the leader of his own group while also serving as a sideman for such jazz stars as Eddie Harris, Von Freeman and Curtis Fuller, and performing at various times with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Wynton Marsalis. He and Anderson became friendly when Goode spent some time on the ENMU campus in Portales in 2008 as a visiting professor.

Anderson is very pleased to have an artist of Goode's stature taking part in the festival. The event will begin with a performance by the San Juan College Jazz Combo before an awards ceremony honoring local jazz music students is held. Then the college's Jazz Big Band will take the stage to perform such pieces as John Coltrane's "Impressions," Bobby Shew's "Blue" and the aforementioned Harris' "Cold Duck Time."

Also performing Friday will be Canadian artist Rhonda Head, a classically trained vocalist who will sing Antonio Carlos Jobim's "The Girl From Ipanema." Anderson said Head is a member of the Cree Nation and a Winnipeg, Manitoba, resident who has performed twice at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Head is making her second trip to the Farmington area, as she has been involved in an artist exchange program that brought her here a few years ago for an eight-day tour of the area, while Anderson's group, the Delbert Anderson Trio, then returned the favor by performing in Canada for several days.

With two such accomplished artists serving as the headliners for Friday's festival, Anderson knows the students and community members who make up the college's Jazz Big Band will have to be at their best to keep up. The group has 19 members, and its performers range in age from 15 to 86.

Anderson expects them to be up to the challenge, and he likes the way the group has responded.

"It's really amazing to see them step up and take a stand for themselves," he said. "I've pushed them really hard. A lot of them are still learning, but I think the show is going to be great. They're going to put on a good show. I'm really sure of it."

The festival also features two informal events. A jazz clinic will be offered at the college at noon Friday, while a jam session featuring Goode will take place at 9 p.m. Friday at Clancy's Irish Pub and Cantina, 2701 E. 20th St. in Farmington. Both are free and open to the public.

Tickets for the festival are $18 for adults, $15 for students, and $12 for seniors and children 12 and younger at sanjuancollege.edu/silhouette or by phone at 505-566-3430.

Mike Easterling is the night editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.

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