2019 St. Petersburg Jazz Festival
Valerie Gillespie Ensemble
Wednesday, February 27
Multi-instrumentalist and singer Valerie Gillespie has played with national icons including Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin, Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, Ben Vereen, Natalie Cole, Joan Rivers, Diana Ross, Ray Charles, John Faddis, Steve Allen, Anthony Newly, Dionne Warwick, Michael Feinstein, and many more. Valerie has traveled with the Xavier Cugat Orchestra throughout the United States and Japan, and performs regularly with Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge. Recently Valerie has had the distinct honor of being the cover story and feature article in Saxophone Today Magazine. Her most recent jazz CD is entitled “Lush Life” which includes music by Chick Corea and Billy Strayhorn. She opens the 2019 St. Petersburg Jazz Festival with her group with Jody Marsh (piano), Steve Boisen (bass) and Dave Rudolph (drums).
Remembering Sam with Rivers Lost
Thursday, February 28
Former bandmates of legendary jazz saxophonist Sam Rivers perform his favorite compositions and share stories about music making with Sam and his wife Beatrice. Sam was amazing jazz artist whose lengthy career included sessions and tours with Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Dave Holland, Tony Williams, Andrew Hill and many others. He and his wife Bea started the jazz loft movement in NYC. When he "retired" to Orlando, he ignited an interest in free jazz in Florida and befriended many young jazz musicians as mentor. Led by bassist Doug Mathews, the group also includes Rex Wertz (saxophone), Bobby Koelble (guitar) and Anthony Cole (drums).
Nestor Torres Quartet
Friday, March 1
Latin Grammy Award winning Nestor Torres' rhythmic and mellifluous flute sound remains apart in a class all by itself. His 14 recordings as a soloist; 4 Latin Grammy nominations, one Grammy nomination and one Latin Grammy Award; collaborations with diverse artists such as Gloria Estefan, Kenny Loggins, Dave Mathews, Herbie Hancock, Tito Puente, Michael Camilo, Paquito D' Rivera and Arturo Sandoval; as well as performances with the Cleveland, Singapore, and New World Symphony Orchestras among many others. He is joined in his first performance in St. Petersburg by bassist Mauricio Rodriguez and drummer Dimas Sanchez.
Alexis Cole with the Helios Jazz Orchestra
Saturday, March 2
Called "one of the great voices of today," Alexis Cole has been compared to classic jazz singers such as Sarah Vaughan and Anita O'Day. Her luxurious voice and innovative interpretations make her an instant favorite with audiences of all ages. Cole is the recipient of a Swing Journal Gold Disk award, and was a winner of the NY Jazzmobile and Montreux Jazz Festival vocal competitions, and a finalist of the Sarah Vaughan Competition. She records for Motéma Music, NY, Chesky Records, NY and Venus Records, Japan. Her nine recordings, which feature musical luminaries such as Fred Hersch, Eric Alexander, Matt Wilson, Harry Pickens, Don Braden and Pat LaBarbara, have received high praise in the jazz press and are spun on radio world-wide. In addition to her many performances at top jazz venues like Dizzy's Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Birdland, The Jazz Standard, Blues Alley, and Billboard Live, she's also performed at Avery Fisher Hall and the Kennedy Center and had been a featured soloist with the Boston Pops and NY Philharmonic.
The Helios Jazz Orchestra is a 17-piece jazz big band directed by David Manson. The group has been featured twice on the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Ybor Jazz Fest and is ensemble-in-residence at St. Petersburg College. Presented by EMIT and the Palladium Theater.
Martin Bejerano Trio
Sunday, March 3
After winning third place in the prestigious 1999 Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Martin Bejerano moved to New York City and joined the quartet of legendary jazz drummer Roy Haynes. In 2004, their recording Fountain of Youth was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Instrumental Jazz Album. In 2002, Martin Bejerano also joined guitarist Russell Malone’s quartet, and continues to tour and record with both groups. He has performed with such jazz luminaries as the Christian McBride Band, Kenny Garrett, Roy Hargrove, Adam Nussbaum, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Lonnie Plaxico Group and Marcus Printup at major jazz festivals, clubs and venues around the world. He has presented numerous clinics and toured with “Jazz Reach,” a non-profit organization that presents multimedia concerts for school children. In 2007, his debut CD as a leader, Evolution/Revolution (Reservoir) rose to number nine on the Jazz Week Jazz Album Chart. He was recently awarded the New Jazz Works composer/ensemble grant from Chamber Music of America. Bejerano maintains a busy teaching studio at the Frost School in Miami and also performs, arranges, records and tours the U.S. and abroad.