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Farayi Malek (jazz vocalist)

Featured Article

All About The Eagle Jazz Festival!

An inside look at the upcoming jazz event, and the unexpected mind behind it

Article by Rob Lanterman

Photography by Courtesy of Eagle Jazz Festival

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

If you've been around a while, you might know that the Treasure Valley's jazz scene is full of top-tier talent. A new event coming this September, the Eagle Jazz Festival, is setting out to celebrate that talent. Among the artists performing will be local legends like Steve Eaton, and newcomers like singer/songwriter Farayi Malek and the acoustic jazz pianists in the Keelan Dimick Trio. There will even be a professional tap dancer, Andrew Nemr! The festival is the first of its kind in Eagle and will take place on Friday and Saturday, September 16th and 17th.

One could reasonably assume the mind behind a big Idaho-Jazz festival would be that of a local musician - but not in this case. “I’m a physician, not a musician. That’s my tagline,” says Dr. Stan A. Eisele, MD, who is the President and co-founder of the Eagle Jazz Festival. Eisele doesn't perform, nor book live music. In fact, he prefers being called a "Jazz Activist" rather than a concert promoter. However, he was raised on jazz by his father in Southern California and is a life-long super-fan and supporter of the genre.

“When I moved here twenty years ago, I started going to the Blue Door [a now-defunct jazz club]. The first time [that] I heard a jazz performance by professionals in Eagle, I heard world-class music.” He previously dreamt of opening a jazz club of his own, but decided that keeping such a thing afloat would be near-impossible financially. With that in mind, he operates the Eagle Jazz Festival to celebrate and expose people to great talent, not to make money.

“Two or three years ago, my friend and I [were talking]. ‘What about a non-profit community jazz festival?'" Eisele and his team soon filed for a non-profit. However, a friend then pointed out that there was still one important party missing from the equation: The city of Eagle. “Monterey Jazz Festival, Newport [Jazz Festival]... Hello! You gotta have the city involved.”

Eisele wrote to the city council and heard back instantly from an unlikely advocate: Mayor Jason Pierce. “I never wrote to the Mayor, but I heard back from his office. He was actually trying to talk me into doing it" (laughs).

With the enthusiastic support of the city and sponsors like the Eagle Arts Commission and his employers at St. Alphonsus, everything is coming together smoothly. Each sponsor is local, and the artists all have a background in Idaho. Additionally, Justin Neilson, the music director, picked the best-of-the-best artists. Mediocrity was not an option.

That said, Eisele hopes this is the start of something bigger. Since there are so many talented jazz musicians locally, he sees the Eagle Jazz Festival as a chance to further include Idaho in the regional jazz community. “I’m always going to [host the festival] the third week of September, and Monterey [Jazz Festival] is always the fourth weekend,” he tells us. “But I’m realizing people can get booked in Seattle, swing by Eagle, then go down to Monterey. That’s a West Coast circuit!” He speaks about it with so much enthusiasm, you can’t help but believe he'll make that happen. But first things first, he has to prepare for September.

You can buy tickets, check out the locations, discover the artists playing, and learn more about the Eagle Jazz Festival at

  • Keelan Dimick (jazz pianist)
  • Farayi Malek (jazz vocalist)
  • Andrew Nemr (jazz tap dancer)

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