Brand new to the Vail Jazz Festival and the Vail Jazz Workshop, Iowa native Dick Oatts will replace veteran Jeff Clayton this year in the Vail Jazz Party House Band. In 1977 Dick moved to New York City and joined the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra. Since then he has recorded and toured with an amazing array of stars, including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Tito Puente, and Mel Tormé, and has appeared on over 100 albums as a sideman. He has been an artist-in-residence at the Amsterdam Conservatory since 1997.
Formerly a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music, he is now the artistic director and a professor (alongside Terell Stafford) at Temple University. Vail Jazz is proud to welcome him to the Vail Jazz Workshop faculty!
Q+A WITH DICK OATTS
What is your connection to Vail Jazz?
I have had students attend the Workshop and have worked with several members of its great teaching faculty over the years.
What is your favorite pre-gig beverage?
Water or decaf coffee.
Do you have a pre-gig ritual?
Having a good reed that can vibrate the air I can put into the saxophone. Also, not eating too much in order to have enough air for the gig.
What’s your favorite post-gig meal?
I’m a vegan so my meals are usually boring—something with a little salt or spice added.
What is the most striking venue you have ever performed at?
Village Vanguard in NYC and some of the beautiful outside festivals in Italy, Spain or Greece.
Stay tuned for next week’s “Q+A with: Terell Stafford”!
This article is part of a 6-part series highlighting the Vail Jazz Workshop instructors, who comprise the Vail Jazz Party House Band. In it’s 20th year, the Vail Jazz Workshop recruits 12 of the nation’s most talented teenage jazz musicians who travel to Vail for a week of intensive, two-to-one learning with the instructors. The students refine their skills, learn the art of playing by ear and most importantly, come to own and hone their special talents. Thanks to their Vail Jazz mentors, nearly all of the students have gone on to become professional musicians.