Summer in the City

Invisible Theatre takes its "Sizzling Sounds" to Skyline Country Club

If you're thinking the summer is being stingy with its sizzle, fear not. Invisible Theatre's long-running series that puts all that jazz into those of us sturdy enough to take whatever Tucson's summer throws at us is underway. Sizzling Summer Sounds is hot, it's cool and it's everything you need to put a bounce into your step—once you've managed to pull your feet from the melting tar.

And this year the venue is as refreshing as the shows. The Skyline Country Club is hosting this 12-day sprint of spirited sounds.

After a hiatus last summer, IT's artistic director and producer Susan Claassen went looking for a new home which would be just the right place for folks to enjoy the seven different shows featured in the series.

"After having been at the Arizona Inn, we had to have a spectacular location." And the machinery is already in place with these folks because they are used to doing big events, she says.

Claassen explains that you can see just a show, or chose to include a superior buffet with the entertainment. "About 75 percent of our advanced buyers are opting for the buffet as well as the show." That rather endears the Sizzling series to businesses because of the increased patronage in the off-season.

There will be some familiar faces within the entertainment crews, and new shows as well.

For instance, there's the ba-ba-ba, ba-ba-ba Boones!

No, we're not talking about a thunderous monsoon here, friends. We're talking about an amazing bevy of talented Tucson musicians—of the jazz variety, for this occasion—who happen to be related. Very closely related. Husband (and dad) Rob Boone plays trombone (and sometimes piano); wife (and mom) Christine Vivona has got it going on with the harp—jazz harp, that is (oh yeah, you heard me;) and early 20-something sons Jesse and Cory are rockin' it on bass and drums, respectively. And their show? "Family Affair with the Boone Family," of course.

Actually, they all have been trained to play in the classical genre, and often work in such settings. (In addition to mom's classical harp and dad's trombone, Jesse plays viola. And Cory, well, he realized in high school that jazz was his thing.)

Christine and Rob crossed paths at the University of Arizona, although their studies took them to different locales. They were reunited at UA as teaching assistants in 1986, and married in 1988. The kids started their training at ages five and six. For years they've played in varied combinations as duos or trios.

Then there was jazz. "I always wanted to play jazz but knew little about it. So Rob taught me some things. There are only a handful of jazz harpists in the country." And it's not an easy transition, Christine says.

Then Jesse decided he wanted to play bass—he plays upright and electric—and when drummer Cory knew so early his calling, the jazz quartet was born.

So, aren't there, you know, family issues which raise their ugly little heads?

Not really. The most difficult thing is scheduling, because all play in so many different settings. Oh, and Jesse is pursuing an acting career as well.

"It creates bonds to play with other musicians, and when those musicians are your family it's even better," says Christine. "We've just always played together."

"It's a very comfortable atmosphere," says Jesse. "And jazz is a real chance for discovery, for the musicians, sure, but because the audience discovers it the same time you do."

Their "Sizzling" show will feature a lot of the work on their first recently-released CD, "Live at Brady's."

And if you're wondering about family dinners, music is definitely part of the feast.

Which is certainly the case for the "Sizzling" series as well. You can bet on being well fed, and, says Claassen, "music is just good for the heart and soul."