(Sarasota, Florida) The Jazz Club of Sarasota’s “Jazz at Two” 2013-2014 concert series kicks off in October with Betty Comora’s Happy Jazz Band (October 4, 2013); the Ken Loomer Quartet (October 11, 2013); and the Haferhouse Jazz Quartet (October 18, 2013). The series, which was founded in 2001, showcases the region’s top jazz performers on Fridays, 2-4 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, 3975 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. Tickets are $7 for Jazz Club members and $12 for non-members. A portion of ticket sales is directed to the Jazz Club’s scholarship program. For more information, call 941-366-1552 or visit www.jazzclubsarasota.org.
The season gets off to a rollicking start on Friday, October 4, 2012, 2 p.m., with Betty Comora’s Happy Jazz Band, featuring Comora on piano, vocals and washboard, Tony Bruno on drums, Mike Evans on banjo and vocals, Marty Frankel on cornet, Gordon Moore on trombone, and Don Mopsick on bass. A veteran singer, musician and music producer, Comora has worked over the years with such greats as John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Al Cohn, Warren Vaché and Dick Hyman. After years of performing with top-forty bands, Comora now concentrates on her favorite style of music—the jazz of the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. Comora’s Happy Jazz Band will perform a lively assortment of toe-tapping, finger-snapping tunes from those eras, including such favorites as “Hard Hearted Hannah,” “South Rampart,” and “Sweet Georgia Brown.” The concert will also include Comora’s signature parade of twirling umbrellas followed by fans strutting their stuff to “The Saints.”
“There’s no typecasting a delightful musical chameleon like Betty Comora,” says George Allgair, co-producer of Jazz at Two. “One moment she’s a throwback to the sultry, sophisticated 40’s, playing cool jazz piano and singing tunes reminiscent of Billie Holiday, the next she’s tearing up the house with a rowdy version of ‘Hard Hearted Hannah.’ I can’t think of a better way to kick off the new season than with an afternoon of Betty’s rousing and entertaining renditions of these perennial jazz favorites.”
Up next, on Friday, October 11, 2013, 2 p.m., is the Ken Loomer Quartet, with Loomer on drums, Tony Castellano on piano, Franco Marino on tenor sax and Bruce Wallace on bass. Renowned drummer Ken Loomer has been playing in Florida clubs and restaurants since the mid-1970s. Loomer’s first professional gig was with pioneering jazz trumpeter Clark Terry. He went on to back up top jazz artists as house drummer at the Jazz Cellar in Ybor City for eight years and continues to play and tour with many of the top jazz bands in and around the Tampa Bay area. The quartet’s Jazz at Two concert will cover a repertoire of inspired jazz standards with Loomer’s own original arrangements for an afternoon of swinging jazz.
The October concerts conclude on Friday, October 18, 2013, 2 p.m., with the Haferhouse Jazz Quartet, featuring vocalist Lorri Hafer, her husband Mike Hafer on piano, their son Paul Hafer on acoustic bass, and longtime family friend Dave Dunscombe on drums. Lorri and Mike Hafer have been performing together for more than 30 years, building a musical legacy that includes almost a decade of performing, together with Dunscombe and their son Paul, on “Music of Your Life” jazz and big band cruises and events around the globe.
With a voice that has been described “as smoky as a hot New Orleans night,” Hafer was a featured vocalist with The Glenn Miller Orchestra and with Les Brown’s Band of Renown. Hafer was also the lead vocalist on The Hillside Singers’ version of the famous Coca Cola song, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing in Perfect Harmony.” The group’s Jazz at Two concert will feature vocal and instrumental selections from the Great American Songbook, and jazz standards that are a special part of their musical life together.
Dave Walrath, president of the Jazz Club of Sarasota, is enthusiastic about the upcoming season’s Jazz at Two series. “We’re committed to showcasing both emerging and established jazz musicians who are keeping jazz alive and thriving in our area, making Sarasota a destination for great jazz,” he says.
For more information about the Jazz Club of Sarasota, call 941-366-1552, or visit www.jazzclubsarasota.org.
About the Jazz Club of Sarasota
The Jazz Club of Sarasota’s mission is to promote, preserve, and educate people about jazz, the original American art form. Founded in 1980 by the late Hal Davis, the club presents ongoing concert series, events, lectures, jams and the annual Sarasota Jazz Festival. The organization also sponsors the Venice Jazz Festival every year.