Whidbey's 'Sax Man' headlines jazz concert
June 25, 2008 · Updated 1:27 PM
"Playing with his father Danny as a special guest is son Benny Ward.Danny Ward, South Whidbey's favorite sax man, will perform with some other Northwest jazz greats on Saturday, April 21, in an 8 p.m. concert in the South Whidbey High School auditorium.Accompanying Ward will be Chuck Deardorf on bass; Dave Peterson, guitar; John Bishop on drums; and in a special guest appearance, Ward's son Benny Ward on drums. As an added feature, three local South Whidbey All-Stars will join Ward on stage: Roy Gabelein, drums, and Anna McLeod and Jamie Brown on vocals. Gabelein was selected to play in the prestigious all Northwest Jazz Band in February as its only drummer, and McCleod earned a spot in the All State Choir. Ward is a Northwest native, growing up in Bremerton, Wash. where he played his first gig at the age of 13 with a group called The Rhythm Rockets. He continued to perform as he went on to earn a degree in musical education at Central Washington University.He is regarded as an innovator of jazz and up-tempo tunes, and has played with such musical greats as B.B. King, Lou Rawls and Richie Alto Madness Cole. He was also the featured saxophonist in the movie, An Officer and a Gentleman.Ward has played Sunday Night jazz at the Airport Red Lion Hotel for the past two years, appearing with special guests who have included Dee Daniels, George Cables, Jessica Williams, Nancy King and many others. He recently released a new CD called Indian Summer, which was produced by Reality Records.Danny Ward's concerts are always sold out. Early ticket purchase is recommended.The Langley Jazz Festival will present another concert on May 12, also in the SWHS auditorium, this time featuring jazz piano prodigy Aaron Parks, together with his sister Anja Parks on trumpet and the Langley Middle School Jazz Band opening. Other notable jazz artists from Seattle will perform with Parks.Tickets for each concert are $12/$8 or $20/$15 for both. They are available at the Kitchen Shoppe in Langley or the South Whidbey Animal Clinic in Clinton. "