Eliane Elias

The 2008-09 season of Jazz at the Sheraton City Centre begins Monday with a performance by Eliane Elias.

In addition, the 2008-09 season of Jazz at the Grand, which takes place at the Grand Theatre at Salt Lake Community College's South City Campus, 1575 S. State, begins Oct. 6 with Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers.

Furthermore, the GAM Foundation has hooked up with the Excellence in the Community series that features local jazz and folk artists at the Grand Theatre.

Concert producer Gordon Hanks of the GAM Foundation said he is pleased with the impact the concert series has on the community.

"This is our 15th year," he said during an interview with the Deseret News. "I never thought we'd still be doing this. It was interesting how it progressed from the first year to the fourth to the sixth, and now it's the 15th.

"In selection of this year's artists, I wanted to bring back artists who had been here one or two times and who understood jazz education," he said. "These, including Eliane Elias, were the ones who enjoyed developing a base of jazz studies in our area." In all, 10 artists were asked to perform.

Along with the concerts, the artists will hold free workshops at the University of Utah.

For 43 years, Hanks has owned and run the Holladay Pharmacy. Earlier this year, he sold it, giving him more time to focus on jazz.

"It is refreshing to not have to worry about running a business and producing concerts," he said. "But I still get nervous from the time the sound checks begin until the artist steps on the stage."

The most daunting challenge these days is making sure there is enough funding to keep the series alive, Hanks said.

"Ticket prices don't cover everything, like the artists fees, the stage, boarding and sound," said Hanks. "We need help from outside sources to keep it solvent. If I had funding, I'd like to do 15 to 18 concerts a year instead of the 10," he said.

"Another thing is our affiliation with the Excellence in the Community concert series. I'd like to pump it up and get more exposure. We have a great group of local jazz and folk musicians and like to give them more exposure."

Hanks has loved jazz since he was a 15-year-old at Granite Junior High.

"We had a music-appreciation class where I first heard Ahmad Jamal," said Hanks. "We've had him here three times, and the second time he was here, I told him how much he changed my life."

And Hanks wanted to bring those life-changing moments to the community when he and Michael MacKay started the Jazz series.

"I think we've provided a tremendous service," Hanks said. "We bring some of the world's greatest jazz musicians to play in a live, intimate setting where people, especially high school and college students, can see for affordable prices. Many of these students will never get another chance like this again."

Here is the season lineup for the Sheraton Series, 150 W. 500 South:

Monday — Eliane Elias

Oct. 13 — Michele Camillo

Oct. 27 — John Clayton Quartet

Nov. 10 — Karrin Allyson

Dec. 1 — Jeff Hamilton Trio

Jan. 19 — Pancho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band

Feb. 2 — Stacey Kent

March 16 — Dee Dee Bridgewater

April 6 — Monty Alexander, John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton

April 27 — John Scofield Quartet

Here is the lineup for the Jazz at the Grand, 1575 S. State:

Oct. 6 — Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers

Dec. 1 — Brubeck Brothers Quartet

Feb. 23 — Luther Hughes & the Cannonball-Coltrane Project

April 19 — Erin Bode Group

Here is the lineup for the Excellence in the Community Series at the Grand:

Sept. 27 — Melissa Pace Tanner and the Jay Lawrence Quintet

Oct. 4 — Chris Hough Quartet

Nov. 15 — Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra, conductor Jerry Floor

Dec. 6 — Lark & Spur

Jan. 10 — Que'd Up

Feb. 28 — Calvary Baptist Choir, director Brian Hesleph

March 17 — Celtic Harpistry

April 18 — Dave Compton Quartet

May 23 — The Klezbros

If you go . . .

What: Eliane Elias

Where: Sheraton City Centre, 150 W. 500 South

When: Monday, 7:30 p.m.

How much: $25

Phone: 801-278-0235

Web: www.24tix.com

E-mail: [email protected]