For the jazz evening of the Snowbird Jazz and Blues Festival, the Wasatch All-Star Band, led by pianist Larry Jackstien, flavored the evening with some cool skat and bebop, with a little swing splashed in for good measure.
Then the Cheathams took the stage.This couple emerged from the jazz clubs of San Diego, but their sound smacks of Kansas City blues.
Yet, there is a universally comforting element about the music.
Add Jeannie's sometimes playful piano and Jimmy's roaring trombone to the spontaneous finesse of the the Sweet Baby Blues Band and you have jazz-laden blues tunes that shake.
Even on the more slower tunes, the band would pile on the notes until the songs burst into musical eruptions.
Jeannie was the tour guide as she chatted with the audience, shouted spontaneous encouragement to the band and introduced the set list.
And in keeping with tradition, the band paraded into the audience at the end of the set.
When music runs through the family, there's got to be some pressure.
Just ask Freddy Cole - brother of the late great Nat "King" Cole and uncle of Natalie.
Then again, if you're good, it doesn't matter. It just fits.
Chicago-raised Cole was dressed in white coattails as he led his band through traditional pop-jazz narrations. They were easy to catch and nice to groove to.
Cole's voice was very reminiscent to his more well-known brother, which made the music comfortable. Then adding a jazzed up version of Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are" didn't hurt, either.
However, some out-of-the-blue riffs and swings got a lot of feet tapping. Cole was good. But the Cheathams had more charge.
What can be said about Lionel Hampton - one of the original living jazz legends from the old school?
The 90-year-old vibraphone player got his start with Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong and was a member of the swinging Benny Goodman Quartet - the first interracial jazz group.
The "Ambassador," as Hampton is known, led his orchestra with smiles and nods as he tapped away on his vibes.
Hamp still has the voice and charisma to bring the music together, but age and a stroke two years ago has slowed his playing down. But they haven't stopped him from bringing the audience to its feet.
The band members, who just last week jammed with President Clinton at the White House, took turns soloing and really got the audience cheering, but it was Hampton's playing that hushed the audience. There was still feeling in the notes, and the audience members - of all ages - gave the vibe-player the spotlight.
And when he sang Armstrong's "It's a Wonderful World," the audience members cried.
At any rate, seeing Hampton play was an experience.