On Friday, Vail Jazz Executive Director Amanda Blevins issued the following letter on the passing of Vail Jazz Foundation founder Howard Stone:
It is with great sadness that I share the news of the passing of Howard Stone, who passed away on August 3, 2022 from post-surgical complications.
Howard’s passion for jazz and the Vail Valley led him to organize the first-ever Vail Jazz Party in 1995. The following year, he launched the Vail Jazz Foundation to perpetuate his beloved art form in through the presentation of jazz performances and educational programs for young people. .
Over its 28-year history, Vail Jazz has expanded to include a summer jazz festival, a winter music series, jazz nights, an immersive jazz workshop for up-and-coming high school musicians , an elementary school program in Eagle County called Vail Jazz Goes to School, free concert series, and numerous educational programs. Under Howard’s leadership, DownBeat magazine named the Vail Jazz Workshop the nation’s best jazz education program for 2019. There are approximately 100 active jazz musicians – and dozens of jazz educators – who are d alumni of the Vail Jazz Workshop.
Always working in tandem with his wife and Vail Jazz co-founder Cathy Stone, Howard has also orchestrated performance and educational collaborations with other local nonprofits, including Bravo! Vail Music Festival, The Vail Symposium and The Vail Valley Foundation.
Along with his encyclopedic knowledge of all things jazz—and his gripping stories of musicians past and present—Stone will be remembered by those of the Vail Valley for his warmth, self-deprecating sense of humor, and dress more daring than daring. palette. His brightly colored, eye-catching shirts and shoes became a trademark and made him a recognizable figure in the community.
Howars’ impact was enormous. Careers were launched and lives improved through his vision. In addition to entertaining thousands upon thousands of concertgoers over the past 28 years, the Vail Jazz Workshop has educated over 300 outstanding young jazz musicians, and Vail Jazz Goes to School has educated over tens of thousands of students in Eagle County. Each of these programs will continue to grow as part of Howard’s legacy.
At the time of his death, Howard served as artistic director of Vail Jazz. He recently stepped down as Chairman of the Board of Vail Jazz as part of a larger strategy to bring new energy and resources to the organization. Current Chairman of the Board, Garret Davies, thanks Howard for leaving Vail Jazz on such a solid footing and is confident in the future of the organization. The staff and board are ready to continue the work he cherished so much.
Thanks to the outpouring of support we have received from this jazz community. We are working in tandem with Cathy Stone and the family on a tribute to Howard. Details will be forthcoming.