August 4, 2004
Deanna Mintz jumped in feet first to advance a lifelong love of jazz in her new community.
Originally from New York, the Chandler resident said an aunt turned her on to jazz music as a child, and took her everywhere jazz musicians played — from jazz clubs to Radio City Music Hall.
When Mintz married in 1965 and moved to California, she took her interest in jazz with her. In 1984, she worked with a group of other jazz lovers to form the Los Angeles Classic Jazz Festival, now known as the Sweet and Hot Jazz Festival. Over the years, Mintz was involved in organizing the festival and became well-known for her work.
After nearly 40 years of living in California, Mintz and her husband, Mel, decided to retire and moved to Chandler in May 2003.
Word of her work with the Los Angeles jazz festival got around to Helen Daley, president of the Arizona Classic Jazz Society board of directors. Daley invited Mintz to attend a meeting last fall, and the Arizona Classic Jazz Society hooked her as a member.
"Our newsletter editor happened to be a musician who went on the road and we needed a newsletter editor, so we invited her to a meeting," Daley said. "It’s been one of the best moves we’ve made. She has terrific energy and has really been getting the word out about our jazz festival."
Mintz immediately began helping to organize plans for the 15th annual Arizona Classic Jazz Festival, but the society needed a place to hold the event. Mintz said she thought Chandler would be the perfect home for the festival.
"They were nomads looking for a proper place to hold their venue, and what a better place than the San Marcos?" Mintz said. "It’s historic and it’s a resort where people can feel comfortable."
Mintz helped the society organize the event, which will be Nov. 4-7. She said the Arizona Classic Jazz Festival will not only help bring the sound of music to Chandler, but added revenue.
"We’ll have a shopping day at Chandler Fashion Center for the musicians," she said. "People from all over the United States and the world come to jazz festivals."
Mintz, who is not a musician, has become a board member for the Arizona Classic Jazz Society, publishes the group’s newsletter and is the publicity co-chairwoman in addition to working as a festival coordinator. She has also remained involved as an organizer for the Hot and Sweet Jazz Festival in Los Angeles.
"This is not a job, it’s a love," she said. "Ninety percent of our friends are jazz musicians, so anything we can do that gives them a venue and a chance to perform is good."
The Arizona Classic Jazz Festival will be at the San Marcos Resort, One San Marcos Place in downtown Chandler. The four-day event will offer Dixieland and swing jazz. Mintz said the festival will feature bands such as the Boondockers, Cell Block Seven, the Blue Street Jazz Band and Cornet Chop Suey.
Mintz said festival attendees will also have the opportunity to learn dances such as the Lindy Hop and swing.
Find out more
For more information on the Arizona Classic Jazz Festival or ticket prices, call Joe Hopkins at (602) 810-5888.