Tampa Jazz Notes: Treats, No Tricks — Ybor Jazz Festival Kicks Off on Halloween Night

The depth and breadth of jazz talent in the Tampa Bay area is more impressive than some might suspect; too few venues consistently play host to the music, so there are limited opportunities to hear the good stuff.

The Ybor Jazz Festival, which opens its third edition on Wednesday, helps make up for that oversight with an ambitious five nights’ worth of performances by top-notch locally based jazz artists and bands at HCC Ybor’s Performing Arts Building. The concerts will be held on two stages — the intimate Studio Theatre, where drinks and snacks will be available, and the spacious, comfortable auditorium known as the Mainstage Theatre.

Fest director Keith Arsenault has put together another impressive, eclectic lineup:

Wednesday, Oct. 31

  • 6 to 7:30 p.m., Studio Theatre: Tony Castellano, Jr., piano and vocals, with saxophonist Tim Eddy, trumpeter Tom Pomador and drummer Kenny Loomer
  • 8 p.m., Mainstage Theatre: Latin jazz, standards, and originals from La Lucha (pianist John O’Leary, bassist Alejandro Arenas, drummer Mark Feinman) with Jun J Bustamente on vocals and special guest Marty Morell, longtime drummer for the Bill Evans Trio

Thursday, Nov. 1

  • 6 to 7:30 p.m., Studio Theatre: Longtime area jazz singer Katt Hefner
  • 8 p.m., Mainstage Theatre: “The Music of John Coltrane & Cannonball Adderley” (left) with high-octane saxophonists Jeremy Powell & Austin Vickrey leading a group of veritable local all-stars, including USF Jazz Faculty staffers Larue Nickelson, guitar, Mark Neuenschwander, bass, and Ian Goodman, drums.

Friday, Nov. 2

  • 6 to 7:30 p.m., Studio Theatre: Singer and pianist Lisa Casalino, leading a trio.
  • 8 p.m., Mainstage Theatre: “License to Thrill: Helios Jazz Orchestra Plays Spy Music!” with singers Denise Moore, Bryan Hughes and Andrea Manson joining the 18-piece orchestra (left), directed by trombonist, composer and music prof David Manson. On tap: Music from a half-dozen James Bond movies, as well as “Austin Powers” and television’s “Get Smart” and “The Prisoner” (UK).

Saturday, Nov. 3

8 p.m., Mainstage Theatre: “Latin Jazz Fiesta!” with long-running Latin jazz group Guisando Caliente (below) —  world-class pianist Kenny Drew, Jr., saxophonist Jeff Rupert, bassist Mauricio Rodriguez, drummer John Jenkins, and percussionist Frankie Pineiro.

Sunday, Nov. 4

3 p.m.

  • Standards and more from Jazztek, with pianist and keyboardist Ben Winkler, drummer Tim Diehl and bassist Jon Shea.

followed by …

  • Jazz, Afro-Cuban, avant music and beyond from Rayzilla’s Dreamboats (below), with WMNF DJ Ray Villadonga on guitar and bass, Jeremy Powell on woodwinds, guitarist Alfredo Rivero, and drummer/percussionist Joe Bencomo.


Individual day passes to the fest, good for all performances on any given day, are available for $15 at the door. For the first time, the fest is offering all-fest passes for $50. Passes, good for all nine performances, can be purchased online in advance through the Tampa Jazz Club, or at the door on Wednesday and Thursday. HCC faculty, staff and students are free with valid ID.

The HCC Performing Arts Building is at the corner of East Palm Avenue and North 14th Street (Avenida Republica de Cuba) in Ybor City. For more information, contact infoarts@hccfl.edu or (813) 259-6490.


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