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

 

 

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Gasparilla Music Festival (concert review)

(recently published at jambands.com/Relix; direct link)

George and Page 1Eclecticism for its own sake seems to be the guiding principle of the Gasparilla Music Festival, a daylong affair March 9 at scenic waterside Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa. The festival’s second annual edition, featuring about 30 acts spread across four stages, offered a mix of bubbling-up national rock and indie-oriented artists with other bands drawn from diverse genres.

New Orleans music emerged as one theme of the event with headliners the Meter Men, whose bassist, George Porter, Jr, and drummer , Zigaboo Modeliste, still constitute one of the world’s most dangerous Southern-fried funk rhythm sections.

Porter, Modeliste and original Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli were joined by current tour mate Page McConnell (left), and the four successfully augmented the trio’s NOLA R&B grooves with the Phish keyboardist’s jammier leanings. The fan favorites were abundant, as the sprawling set included “Look-Ka Py Py,” “Cissy Strut,” “Fire on the Bayou,” and “Hey, Pocky Way.” McConnell fit right in, delivering the goods alternately on piano and B3 organ.

New Orleans was also represented by durable roots rock and Tex-Mex band the Iguanas (Rod Hodges, far right). They got the crowd moving, with the help of familiar gems Iguana - Rod Hodges “Boom Boom Boom,” “Oye, Isabel,” “Lupita,” “Para Donde Vas” and a rollicking take on Professor Longhair’s “In the Night.” So, too, did the Distinguished Men of Brass, a Tampa-based brass band making an encore appearance at the event – they made semi-regular jaunts across the fest grounds.

Corey Harris (left), while not a Louisiana native, specializes in the kind of music associated with the region. For GMF, he led a quartet – Harris on guitar plus bass, sax and drums — on a set of convincing blues, R&B and funk occasionally tinged with reggae grooves. He toasted a fest Corey Harris 2hometown hero with Tampa Red’s “Singing and Crying Blues,” and at one point played lap steel, unaccompanied.

Also drawing attention were irresistible Los Angeles Latin-funk-rock groove makers Ozomatli and Austin’s Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears (right).Black Joe Lewis 1

The latter thrived on the leader’s raw vocals and a Hendrix-style guitar attack, not to mention a hard-driving horn section and primitive-feeling, grinding one-chord blues stomps.

Several acts were on the less rootsy side of the spectrum. SoCal folk-pop-rock outfit Lord Huron’s big, textured sound was driven by multiple acoustic and electric guitars. Dr. Dog, from Philadelphia, playing their first show since November, brought ambitious pop-tinged rock ‘n’ roll, loaded with vocal harmonies and occasional jam-out finishes via “That Old Black Hole,” “Jackie Wants a Black Eye,” “Do the Trick,” and “Shadow People,” among other crowd pleasers.

Several Tampa Bay area acts, too, generated enthusiastic responses, including the punky wild-man blues of Nervous Turkey, led by irrepressible singer, harmonica player and guitarist Ernie Betty Fox 2Locke (right); the ferocious blues belting of singer Betty Fox (left); and the energetic, bluegrass-influenced acoustic stomp of The Wholetones.Nervous Turkey Ernie 3