Wine and jazz lovers whistled and hollered as saxophonist Jamey Aebersold's bebop riffs kicked through the air, heralding Sunday's arrival of the first Lexington Jazz Festival.
"This is absolutely fabulous," said Jacqueline Cooper, who traveled from Louisville for the event, at Talon Winery in southern Fayette County. "The whole ambience, the weather couldn't be better. It's very nice."
Couples and families made the pilgrimage through rows of the winery's budding grapes to the Monarch Pavilion, where Aebersold's quartet, one of six regional acts on the inaugural festival's bill, blew out Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and more.
"The Talon Winery has been so kind to offer this facility to us free of charge," said Teresa Tope, an organizer of the festival, which was presented by Bluegrass Community and Technical College and the Jazz Arts Foundation. "They're really interested in the arts."
With a crowd of more than 100 people and acts scheduled throughout the afternoon and evening, the festival has a ways to go before it can rival well-known multi-day jazz fests in bigger cities. But the organizers have ambition.
"We definitely want to make this an annual event," Tope said. "We've got a great partnership with the arts foundation and Bluegrass Community and Technical College. I think we've obviously got interest in jazz here, as you can see by the crowd."
"Great music, great musicians," said Dave McWhorter, president of the Jazz Arts Foundation. "Everybody's here working and pitching in. I mean, we're having a blast."