A number of quality vocalists have attended the West Texas Jazz Parties over the years, but most have attended in the past 20 years or so. However, the Midland Jazz Classic took the lead in offering vocalists in the Permian Basin almost from the beginning. Both Mavis Rivers and Sue Raney attended by the early 80s, and they are featured in the program below heard on KXWT Odessa Midland, West Texas Public Radio. At this end of this program of historical recordings, you’ll find a few tracks from the new CD by Rebecca Kilgore and Nicki Parrott. As you might imagine, it is excellent. To cheat and get right to those tracks, jump ahead to about 35:00 in the program and you’ll be hearing their duets. Of course, the other recordings are worth hearing, too.

While the final list of musicians is not etched in stone, we hear that both Rebecca and Nicki will be in Odessa for the 50th Jazz Party next May – stay tuned.

Plans are underway for the 50th West Texas Jazz Party Collaboration in the third week of May in 2016. In 2015 the Society presented the 49th Annual West Texas Jazz Party Collaboration. It remains the oldest continuously running jazz party in the United States!

Five Reasons You Should Have Attended the
West Texas Jazz Party in Odessa in May 2015 – and why you should plan to make our 50th party in 2016!

KXWT Odessa aired this program recently as a tribute to Sunnie and Ralph Sutton. The program is 53 minutes.

Here is another treat – for friends of the great jazz drummer Joe Ascione, who can no longer perform because of Multiple Sclerosis – here is a track from the jazz party in 2009. Jazz Party President Margaret Gillham introduces Thou Swell with Joe playing the drums…Enjoy!

The longest continuously-running jazz party in the nation, the West Texas Jazz Party this year celebrates 49 years of bringing great jazz music to the Permian Basin!

West Texas Jazz Society Collaboration Jazz Party #49 and Beginning The COUNTDOWN TO COLLABORATION #50

May 14-17, 2015
MCM Eleganté Hotel
Odessa, Texas

Sponsored in part by:
• The Texas Commission for the Arts
• Odessa Council for the Arts and Humanities
• The Rea Charitable Trust

Patron Tickets: $225
Includes Reserved Seating for all performances and Saturday Brunch

General Admission: Each performance $50 • Brunch $50

$25 per performance for teachers with valid ID (first come, first served – limited to space available)

$5 per performance for students (with ID)

For Hotel Reservations, call 432-368-5885 and ask for the Jazz Rate of $129.00. For Jazz Party or Brunch Reservations, call 432-552-8962. We are now accepting credit cards or you may make your check payable to: West Texas Jazz Society • P.O. Box 10832 • Midland, Texas 79702

As we prepare for the Jazz Party – and yes you can still get tickets for the performances – we have been remembering Joe Ascione – the wonderful jazz party drummer and friend who is no longer able to play. This program was broadcast on KXWT recently, and is full of music from Joe’s recordings – with some West Texas Jazz Party live tracks “from the Vaults” of the West Texas Jazz Society…

While you consider attending the West Texas Jazz Party May 14-17, we hope you will enjoy this tribute to long-time Odessa Jazz Party and Midland Jazz Classic musician Clark Terry, who died February 21, 2015 at the age of 94. This is a complete 53-minute program as broadcast recently on KXWT-Odessa/Midland, West Texas Public Radio.

Previous Events

Johnny Varro at the Wagner-Noël Performing Arts Center

We’ve been so busy remembering Jazz Party friends and traveling to other jazz parties that we forgot to remind you – only 8 days until our New York Cabaret Evening with John Pizzarelli and Chef Louis Lambert.

On March 5th at the Odessa Country Club, the music will swing and the food will be top drawer. Don’t miss it! For information or tickets, call or contact 432-553-2764 (margaret-gillham@msn.com) or 432-683-2026 (cwaddill05@yahoo.com).

Big Ranch, Big City Cabaret Night – March 5, 2015
West Texas Jazz Party Collaboration – May 14-17, 2015


Long Time West Texas Jazz Party Musician Clark Terry, 1920 – 2015

ClarkT-1mod After our great news about Eric Baker, the West Texas Jazz Party says goodbye to long-time jazz party musician and jazz legend Clark Terry. Clark died February 21 at the age of 94. West Texas jazz fans knew Clark Terry well. He was remembered this weekend on his Facebook page by his wife Gwen and in Time magazine. His passing is very nearly the end of an era. Clark’s life spans the era of the jazz parties, and he played in both Odessa and Midland numerous times.

CT-GwenHe was perhaps the most loved and revered of jazz musicians, having mentored thousands of trumpet players around the world. There will be many accolades, but there was only one Clark Terry.


The best update yet – Our board member and friend Eric Baker is getting out of the hospital! Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers. Welcome home, Eric!

Eric-Getting Out

The Members of the West Texas Jazz Society and its board are dedicating this Sunday’s jazz performance at the Rea-Greathouse Recital Hall to Eric, who was scheduled to play trumpet with the group. Please keep Eric, Emily and their children in your thoughts and prayers. We all wish this incredible teacher, musician, husband, father and friend a full and speedy recovery.

In West Texas, this is the place to be this Sunday.

JOHNNYV.FEB15Johnny Varro has been playing piano around the world since the 1950s. He was a friend of Willie “the Lion” Smith, Red Allen, Edmond Hall and anybody associated with Eddie Condon in the 1950s and 60s. More importantly, he’ll be at the Wagner-Noël Performing Arts Center this Sunday. Call 432-552-4962 for tickets!

He even saw Billy Crystal dance as a child at the Central Plaza Ballroom when he was playing the Jack Crystal Jam Sessions (Jack was Billy’s father and a big jazz promoter and friend of musicians). I think Billy and Johnny would hug on the street if they saw each other. No kidding. There are videos of Billy dancing to the music at the sessions. Incredible.

But his history is old news, and his playing is first rate. Don’t Miss it. Call 432-552-4962 for tickets!

Program from KXWT Celebrating Houston Person from 2013 West Texas Jazz Party

Houston Person Performs Thursday, Dec. 11 at Wagner Noël. For tickets, call 432-552-8962. Students with ID only $5!

Person and Ken Peplowski perform on May 19, 2013 in West Texas.


Join us December 11 for music by tenor saxophonist Houston Person with the Brian Piper Trio.

Our 49th Year of Bringing Jazz Music to the Permian Basin!

Our Mission…

  • The preservation, perpetuation and expansion of America’s original musical art form – jazz. 

  • The promotion of jazz as an art form among the young. 

  • The presentation of quality jazz performances in the Permian Basin.

Read about this year’s Jazz Party in the Odessa American.

Planning the 50th Annual West Texas Jazz Party