In the small town of Marciac, in the Gascony region of southwest France, a dream was formed in the mind of jazz musician and agent/manager Jim Horowitz that would have far-reaching effects on the music scene, and music students in the Roaring Fork Valley. It was the summer of 1989, and Horowitz was accompanying Monty Alexander, a musician he managed, on a tour of Europe that included the annual Jazz in Marciac Festival.
“It was a place that changed my life, because I had been thinking about starting a jazz festival as just the natural evolution of the business I was in,” Horowitz said on a recent afternoon in his office at the Red Brick Center for the Arts. “[Marciac] became sort of like a beacon, and a model — the original.”
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