Previous events

Nate Najar's Jazz Holiday with Chuck Redd, Jeff Rupert, John Lamb, Mark Feinman, and James Suggs

Glenridge Performing Arts Center, 7333 Scotland Way, Sarasota, FL 34238

Nate Najar's Holiday Jazz Special has become a popular holiday tradition. This year, Nate has put together another stellar band, starting with sax master, Jeff Rupert, and young Lion, James Suggs on trumpet.

Also featured, will be the great vibraphonist, Chuck Redd. Redd has toured and recorded with such artists as Mel Tormé, Bucky and John Pizzarelli, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Dick Hyman, and Monty Alexander. Jazz at Lincoln Center audiences recently experienced his exquisite playing when he performed alongside Bucky Pizzarelli and Ken Peplowski.

The critics and cognoscenti agree: jazz guitarist Najar’s virtuosity exudes a dynamic and truly intoxicating elegance. His artistry evokes a modern and progressive attitude that perpetuates the legacy of the great Charlie Byrd.

Al Hixon with All -Star Line Up

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice, 1971 Pinebrook Road, Venice, Florida 34292

Master drummer and entertainer, Al Hixon, has put together a superb ensemble featuring an all -star line up with former bass player for Duke Ellington, John Lamb, setting the pace. Also featured will be young lion, James Suggs, on trumpet, veteran Dick Reynolds on piano, and the beautiful, soulful,l jazz vocalist, Synia Carroll.

Bud Leeds Ensemble - Member Discount Ticket

Bud Leeds Ensemble

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice, 1971 Pinebrook Road, Venice, Florida 34292

Clarinetist, Bud Leeds, has been acclaimed as “a 21st Century Renaissance Man” in a recent international jazz publication. He is president emeritus and vice-chairman of the Jefferson Legacy Foundation. He has also participated in White House ceremonies and played his clarinet in venues throughout the U.S., India, Nepal and several European countries, while serving as Director of the International Development Council and Chair of the World Congress on Philanthropy. Mr. Leeds interesting character and experience shine through in his playing making his concerts a season favorite.

Dave Morgan Trio

Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Avenue, Venice, Florida

  • This concert is produced by the Venice Institute for Performing Arts

Dave decided in the early nineties that he wanted to breakout on his own and focus on the music of his heart. He wanted to sing tunes that he felt personally drawn to and he wanted to study vibraphone seriously in order to have another musical voice. He has performed with the Bluefield State Big Band and been on the road with the Russ Morgan and Frankie Lester and the Don Edwards Orchestras and has performed extensively at jazz festivals with his own group. This concert is a special treat for those who appreciate a truly fine jazz vibraphonist.

Patricia Plus Two

Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Avenue, Venice, Florida

  • This concert is produced by the Venice Institute for Performing Arts

In 1962, Sarah Vaughan recorded "Sarah Plus Two" with Barney Kessell on guitar and Joe Comfort on double bass. Patricia Dean is performing a concert in tribute to that marvelous and historical recording, with Dave Trefethen on guitar and Don Mopsick on double bass. Patricia Dean is one of the few artists in jazz who plays drums and sings, and does both at an exceptional level.

Dick Hamilton Jazz Quartet

Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Avenue, Venice, Florida

  • This concert is produced by the Venice Institute for Performing Arts

Dick Hamilton moved to Florida after an impressive 45-year career as a studio musician, composer and arranger in L.A. and Hollywood. Now he has put together a stellar line up and program to keep south county jazz fans swinging this summer.

The Four Freshmen

Glenridge Performing Arts Center, 7333 Scotland Way, Sarasota, Florida 34238

"From the moment they step on stage The Four Freshmen will get your heart pounding and your feet moving. With pure energy and great songs from the past and the present, the Freshmen deliver a world of music that will send some listeners back to the bygone era of their youth, while introducing others to a brand of vocal harmony entertainment that is surely to leave them wondering "Why haven't I gone to see them earlier?" One thing is for sure. When you go to a Four Freshmen concert you will not forget it." Tickets available soon.

Al Hixon Quintet - Member Discount Ticket

Member discount ticket holders must present membership card at door.

Veronica Swift and the Jazz Professors

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice, 1971 Pinebrook Road, Venice, Florida 34292

Veronica Swift, age 22, is now being recognized around the country as one of the top young jazz singers on the scene. In the fall of 2015, she won second place at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition.  She was a guest artist with Michael Feinstein at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York with the Tedd Firth Big Band and Marilyn Maye and Freda Payne.   Veronica’s first appearance at Jazz at Lincoln Center was at age 11 for “Women in Jazz” series at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. She also appeared with Paquito d’Rivera, Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, Esperanza Spalding, Joe Lovano, Bob Dorough, Kim Nazarian, Danilo Perez, and others.  Veronica has been on tour with her parents, renowned jazz pianist Hod O’Brien and celebrated jazz singer and educator/author Stephanie Nakasian.  With her family she has appeared at  The Great Waters Music Festival in NH, Blues Alley Jazz Club in DC, the Jazz Standard in NYC, the jazz cruise, and for the NJ and Hilton Head Jazz Societies. Veronica is a recent graduate of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.

The Jazz Professors are all professors in the Jazz Studies program at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. They include Jeff Rupert on sax, Ben Kramer on bass, and Marty Morrell on drums. These mentors have performed and recorded with a wide variety of celebrated jazz artists including Mel Torme, Maynard Ferguson, Benny Carter ,Bob Mintzer, Paquito D'Rivera, Dave Liebman, Tom Harrell, Bill Evans, Stan Getz,Zoot Sims, Louie Bellson,and Clark Terry. Tickets available at the door.

Bud Leeds Trad Jazz Ensemble

Unitarian Universalist Church Sanctuary, 1971 Pinebrook Road, Venice, Florida

Special Trad Jazz Event with Guest Artists, Bobby Van Deusen and Jonathan Russell

Bud Leeds, clarinetist, has been acclaimed as “a 21st Century Renaissance Man” in a recent international jazz publication. He has performed in White House ceremonies, and in venues throughout the U.S., India, Nepal and several European countries, while serving as Director of the International Development Council and Chair of the World Congress on Philanthropy.

Bobby Van Deusen, was the main stay pianist in New Orleans for many years, working with Pete Fountain, Al Hirt, The Dukes of Dixieland, and on the Delta Queen riverboat.  He is considered one of the foremost specialists in Ragtime and Stride piano styles.

Jonathan Russell is an award winning jazz violin prodigy whose critically acclaimed performances in Europe and throughout the United States, at clubs and festivals such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and the Bohem Ragtime & Jazz Festival in Hungary, have earned the respect and praise of seasoned jazz musicians such as Wynton Marsalis, Bucky Pizzarelli and the late Les Paul. The New York Times has written “When he solos, he embraces his instrument and enters a private cocoon, where he conjures sophisticated improvisations on the melodies of jazz standards”

Cynthia Sayer

Glenridge Performing Arts Center, 7333 Scotland Way, Sarasota Florida

Making her home in New York City, award-winning instrumentalist/vocalist/bandleader Cynthia Sayer is acclaimed by musicians, critics, and fans alike, enchanting audiences around the world with her swing-based performances and captivating stage presence. She is an inductee into the American Banjo Hall of Fame and has appeared as a guest and performer on CBS, FOX & ABC network television shows, including Good Morning America and The Morning Show, as well as on NPR's Piano Jazz, BBC Radio, and elsewhere. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, DownBeat, Fretboard Journal, International Musician, People Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and countless other local, trade, and foreign media outlets.

Sayer first rose to international prominence as a founding member of Woody Allen's New Orleans Jazz Band, all the while exploring her wider musical interests and playing with such legendary jazz, popular, and roots music artists as Bucky Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Les Paul, Marvin Hamlisch, Wynton Marsalis, Marian McPartland, Andy Statman, and John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) as well as leading jazz contemporaries such as Scott Robinson, Wycliffe Gordon, Anat Cohen, Ken Peplowski, and many others.

A multi-instrumentalist heard on distinguished feature film and TV soundtracks and comfortable in many genres, Cynthia identifies first and foremost as a jazz banjoist, touring extensively with her bands and as a guest artist across four continents. At home, she performs at prestigious venues like New York City's Lincoln Center, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and Joe's Pub at The Public and is producer of the annual "Hot Strings Festival" at City Winery NY.

Her feature CD's, nine in all, have received rave reviews and multiple "Best of" nominations and awards in various categories, including two Jazz Journalists Association best pick lists. Sayer has played for two U.S. Presidents (once at The White House), performed with several symphony orchestras including The New York Philharmonic, was the official banjoist for The New York Yankees, and is proud to be the subject of a Trivial Pursuit game question.

Also featured will be John Orsini on woodwinds, Don Mopsick on bass, and Tony Vigilante on drums.

Joshua Breakstone Trio - Member Discount Ticket

Joshua Breakstone Trio

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice, 1971 Pinebrook Road, Venice, Florida

"Fire in velvet. A fitting description of Joshua Breakstone's jazz guitar," wrote Paul Weidman in The Sante Fe New Mexican. "His flowing lines on up-tempo cookers are impeccably clean and fiery, bearing the mark of a first-rate improviser, while his chordal work on heartbreaker ballads is the final word in finesse," has raved Guitar Player magazine. Japan's Jazz Hihyo (aka Jazz Critique) recognizes that "The style in which Joshua develops his fluid single-note solos used to be thought of as the Grant Green school, but now this man leads the school. Downbeat also has written that "There is no shortage of young, knock-out jazz guitarists about us these days. And Joshua Breakstone is among the best of them." With Don Mopsick on bass and Tony Vigilante on drums.

2018 - 2019 Season

Ellington, Louis, Ella, Coltrane...

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