Tampa Jazz Calendar: Branford Marsalis, Chick Corea and other heavy hitters ahead

Tampa Bay area performing arts centers and other venues are putting the spotlight on a surprisingly high volume of top-shelf jazz artists this month. When it rains, it pours. On the way:

Thursday, Jan. 11 — Branford Marsalis Quartet, with the acclaimed New Orleans-born saxophonist leading a group including pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner (unless there are subs). Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg, 7:30. Link

Saturday, Jan. 13 — Chick Corea Akoustic Band, with the brilliant, versatile pianist, who makes his home in Pinellas County, joined by bass great John Patitucci on bass and monster drummer Dave Weckl. Two shows — doors at (approximately) 5 & 8:30 pm. Link 

Saturday, Jan. 13 — Sunshine Music Festival, with another great lineup of blues, rock, funk and more, again headlined by the superb Tedeschi Trucks Band, and including longrunning jazz-jam-avant trio Medeski Martin and Wood (MMW), Phish bassist Mike Gordon’s band, and NOLA funksters Galactic. Also: Hot Tuna, Foundations of Funk (with keyboardist/organist John Medeski from MMW, guitarist Eric Krasno from Soulive, and bassist George Porter, Jr. and drummer Zigaboo Modeliste from the Meters), and the Suffers. Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg, 1 pm. (Dang, WHY does this fest have to be the same day as Chick Corea?) Link 

Saturday, Jan. 13 (Do all of these shows HAVE to be on the same day?) — Fast-rising Canadian-born trumpeter Bria Skonberg. Central Park Performing Arts Center, Largo, 8 pm. Link

Also ahead in January and February:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 10 — The Ron Reinhardt Group with guitarist Adam Hawley and saxophonist Kyle Schroeder. Charlie’s Sushi & Japanese Restaurant, Clearwater, 8 pm. Info/Reservations: 727 515-4454.
  • Friday, Jan. 12 — Serotonic album release party, with (opener) Jon Ditty. Dunedin Brewery, 9 pm. Link
  • Friday, Jan. 19 — James Suggs Plays the Music of Lee Morgan, with the popular Tampa Bay area trumpeter joined by pianist Stretch Bruyn, bassist Brandon Robertson and drummer Paul Gavin for a program of soul jazz and more. Side Door at the Palladium, St. Petersburg, 8 pm. Link
  • Sunday, Jan. 21 — Arbor Records artists Nicki Parrott (bass/vocals), Rossano Sportiello (piano) and Ed Metz (drums). Side Door at the Palladium, St. Petersburg, 7 pm. Link
  • Sunday, Jan. 28 — Tampa Jazz Guitar Summit: Dave Stryker Quintet. HCC Ybor Mainstage Theatre, Ybor City, 3 pm. Link
  • Monday, Jan. 29 — Tampa Jazz Guitar Summit: Peter Bernstein, with the USF Faculty Jazz Ensemble. USF Concert Hall, Tampa, 7:30 pm. Link 
  • Wednesday, Feb. 14 — Whitney James‘ Jazz Valentine. Side Door at the Palladium, St. Petersburg, 8 pm. Link
  • Wednesday, Feb. 21 — St. Petersburg Jazz Festival: Tal Cohen (piano) Trio, with bassist Dion Kerr and drummer David Chiverton. Side Door at the Palladium, St. Petersburg, 7:30 pm. Link
  • Thursday, Feb. 22 — St. Petersburg Jazz Festival: (Saxophonist) Jeff Rupert Quintet with Veronica Swift (vocals), pianist Richard Drexler, bassist Ben Kramer, and drummer Marty Morell. Side Door at the Palladium, St. Petersburg, 7:30 pm. Link
  • Friday, Feb. 23 — St. Petersburg Jazz Festival: B3 Fury with the Shawn Brown Quintet, with guitarist Nate Najar, saxophonist Jeremy Carter, and drummer Anthony Breach. Side Door at the Palladium, St. Petersburg, 7:30 pm. Link
  • Saturday, Feb. 24 — St. Petersburg Jazz Festival: Helios Jazz Orchestra with (vocalists) Whitney James & Chuck Wansley. Side Door at the Palladium, St. Petersburg, 7:30 pm. Link
  • Sunday, Feb. 25 — St. Petersburg Jazz Festival: (Pianist) Gabriel Hernandez Trio, with bassist Mauricio Rodriguez and drummer Dimas Sanchez. Side Door at the Palladium, St. Petersburg, 7:30 pm. Link



Tampa Jazz Notes 4.18.09: Valerie Gillespie at Tampa Jazz Club Concert; Tom Mullinix at Gratzzi’s; Al Downing Scholarship Competition

Tampa Jazz Club concerts return in a big way with a special performance Sunday, April 26 by saxophonist Valerie Gillespie’s valeriegroup, with special guest Jose Valentino. The late-afternoon concert benefits the organization’s education/scholarship program.

Below are the details, courtesy of the official press release:

Under the Stars on the shore of Lake Pretty, in Odessa

An evening of great jazz, for a great cause, is in store on Sunday, April 26 when the Tampa Jazz Club presents a Bay Area favorite, the Valerie Gillespie Ensemble, and featured guest flutist, Jose Valentino.  The concert will be held outdoors at the home of Dr. Hugo and Alicia Keim will benefit needy music and arts students in Hillsborough County schools.

A renowned saxophone and flute player as well as a fine vocalist, Valerie Gillespie and her band have been in demand at Florida venues for  many years, and have several recordings to their credit.  She also teaches at USF, and this special evening will feature one of her former students, Tampa’s own Jose Valentino.  Jose, a recipient of Tampa Jazz Club and Molly Brown Foundation Scholarships, is a rising star whose concerts include a mix of straight-ahead, smooth, and Latin Jazz.

Dr. Hugo and Alicia Keim are founders of the Chair Scholar program that has benefitted hundreds of Hillsborough County students with serious physical disabilities, and have generously made their beautiful lakeside property available for this delightful evening.  Proceeds will benefit Alicia’s “Unsinkable Molly Brown Foundation,” which contributes to arts programs in the schools, and the scholarship fund of the Tampa Jazz Club.

Where: 16101 Carencia Lane, Odessa

(just east of Gunn Highway on Copeland Road)

When: Sunday, April 26, 6pm (doors-open 4:45pm)

Cost: $10 jazz club members, $20 non-members, $5 students (cash or check only)

Food: $15 (Provided by Outback Steakhouse, Inc.)

Directions or reservations: (813)334-9750 or e-mail aliciakeim@tampabay.rr.com


mullinixA jazz brunch sounds like another great way to celebrate a beautiful Sunday in spring.

Gratzzi’s Restaurant at Baywalk is continuing its jazz brunch series with a performance April 19 by the Tom Mulllinix Quartet, with the trumpeter joined by bassist Billy Pillucere, keyboardist Stretch Bruyn and drummer Ron Gregg.

Music runs from 12:30 to 3 p.m. at Gratzzi’s, 199 Second Ave. N. in St. Petersburg. Admission is $20, and $10 for children 12 and under. More information: (727) 822-7769


Taking place that afternoon, April 19, also in St. Petersburg, is The Al Downing Jazz Education Scholarship Competition.

Pinellas County high school seniors will compete for scholarships at the event, 2 p.m. at the Al Downing Theatre at the Perkins Elementary School, 2205 18th Ave. S.

Admission is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.