This popular jazz concert series showcases the region’s top jazz performers
(Sarasota, Florida) The Jazz Club of Sarasota’s “Jazz at Two” 2013-2014 concert series rings in December and the holiday season with Art Siegel and Flightpath, (December 6, 2013); Rodney Rojas and his quartet (December 13, 2013); the Valerie Gillespie Ensemble (December 20, 2013); and the Dan Miller Quartet (December 27, 2013). Founded in 2001, the Jazz at Two series 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.
Under the leadership of drummer Art Siegel, Flightpath has been a familiar fixture on the local jazz scene since 1988. The group returns on Friday, December 6, 2 p.m., with its straight-ahead Latin and jazz fusion sound, which includes works by such diverse artists as Cannonball Adderley, Pat Martino, David Sanborn and Pat Metheny. The band’s current lineup, which includes three of its founding members, consists of Siegel on drums, Mark Fox on guitar, Mark Gould on saxophone, Robbie Rose on keyboards and Greg Voorhees on bass. This Jazz at Two program will cover a variety of jazz styles that Siegel promises will be a “pleasurable departure for the Jazz at Two audience.”
Next up is saxophonist Rodney Rojas, performing with Kenny Drew on piano, Dave Trefethen on bass and guitar, and Bob Stone on drums, Friday, December 13, 2 p.m. Born in Key West to a family of musicians, Rojas began playing saxophone in high school and later performed with the First Army Band at Fort Meade, Maryland. He went on to perform in hundreds of shows and concerts, backing up such headliners as Doc Severinson and Don Rickles. His credits also include an appearance as a sax player in a Buick television commercial. Rojas is currently the lead alto saxophonist for The Naples Jazz Orchestra and also performs locally with Metro Connection, the Ken Loomer Big Band and the Sarasota Jazz Project. For this Jazz at Two concert, Rojas and his quartet will be performing a smart mix of American Songbook jazz standards, bebop ballads and blues, along with a spicy selection of Brazilian and Latin tunes.
The Valerie Gillespie Ensemble swings into town on Friday, December 20, 2 p.m. Valerie Gillespie has been playing saxophone professionally since 14 and has since performed with such luminaries as Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin, Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, Ben Vereen and Ray Charles. Gillespie has also toured extensively with the Xavier Cugat Orchestra throughout the U.S. and abroad. Her ensemble, consisting of Gillespie on sax and vocals, Jeff Phillips on keyboard and Dave Rudolph on drums, is known for its energetic, crowd-pleasing blend of vocal and instrumental styles that draws audiences in with a wide variety of familiar tunes.
The Jazz at Two series brings the year to a close with the Dan Miller Quartet, on Friday, December 27, 2 p.m. Miller’s quartet, featuring Miller on trumpet, Patricia Dean on vocals and drums, Don Mopsick on bass and Jerry Stawski on piano, brings together four of southwest Florida’s most accomplished musicians. Miller and Stawski are colleagues in the Naples Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra and have worked and performed collectively with such masters as Woody Herman, Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick, Jr., Michael Feinstein and Mike Manieri. Bassist Don Mopsick has been in demand throughout the state since he moved to Orlando in 1983. He recently performed with Dick Hyman, Aaron Weinstein, Tedd Firth and Billy Marcus, and many others. Acclaimed drummer and vocalist Patricia Dean is one of those rare talents who can play the drums and sing, both at an exceptional level.
Dave Walrath, president of the Jazz Club of Sarasota, is especially pleased with the exceptional talent and experience of this month’s performers. “These are all top-flight musicians who have worked with some of the best in the business and we’re proud to be able to showcase them to our Jazz at Two audiences.”
For more information about the Jazz Club of Sarasota, call 941-366-1552, or visit www.jazzclubsarasota.com.
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 and the annual Sarasota Jazz Festival.