Steve & Friends

Jazz group Steve & Friends, from left, Ashley Hill of Killeen, Les Young of Austin, Steve Pettit of Ireland and Joseph Valencia of Copperas Cove. Joined by Ed Hernandez of Harker Heights, the band will host Sunday’s Jazz Jam at The Crescent Lounge in Killeen.

Jazz aficionados and musicians alike will converge on Killeen’s Crescent Lounge this Sunday to listen to, and participate in, a live jazz jam session.

Hosted by Steve Pettit, who will chair the proceedings with his quintet, Steve & Friends, the event will be a first for the Crescent.

“This is one of the few local venues that could present a concert like this,” Pettit said. “It’s the premier live music club in the Central Texas area, was awarded ‘Best Club/Bar’ in the Killeen Daily Herald’s 2013 Reader’s Poll and has the customer base and reputation among musicians to make it happen.”

Instrumentalists and vocalists of all types are invited, Pettit said. “It’s open to anybody who wants to get onstage and improvise. We’ll play some standards from the great American songbook, pop selections, a few bebop tunes and of course 12-bar blues at different tempos,” he said. “It’s not a ‘cutting contest’ atmosphere; not a competition — just friends getting together to perform some great live music.”

The Crescent has booked live music since its opening in October 2011, which featured Killeen’s Swingtime Big Band. The community-based ensemble, directed by Pettit, performs twice a month at the club.

“We’ll definitely have some Swingtime members and alumni at Sunday’s jam session,” Pettit said. “And it would be great to see some of our talented high school and college band students, too. If anyone has questions about the music, the format or how it works, they can call me at (254) 463-2852.”

Joining Pettit on the bandstand will be pianist Les Young of Austin, drummer Joseph Valencia of Copperas Cove, percussionist/trumpeter Ed Hernandez of Harker Heights and singer Ashley Frazier-Hill of Killeen.

“We’ve played together for years now,” Pettit said, “and it’s really a thrill to perform with this band.”

The three-set musical evening starts at 7 p.m. with the jam session scheduled for the middle set. “Downbeat for the jam is at 8 p.m. sharp,” Pettit said.

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