This popular jazz concert series closes out its 2013-14 season with performances by more of the region’s top jazz performers, including vocalist Judy Alexander and Hip Pocket, Al Hixon’s Underheard Herd and the Kevin Celebi Quartet.
(Sarasota, Florida) The Jazz Club of Sarasota’s “Jazz at Two” 2013-2014 concert series concludes with vocalist Judy Alexander, performing with Tom Ellison and Hip Pocket (April 4); drummer Al Hixon and his Underheard Herd (April 11); and the Kevin Celebi Quartet (April 25). 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.
Vocalist Judy Alexander began her successful music career in her home town of Cincinnati, Ohio, where her musical talents were nurtured by her mother’s love of music and her own affinity for finding the heart and beauty of the songs she was drawn to. In her early years Alexander cut her musical teeth with a local blues band. She garnered national attention when she went on the road with a popular Top 40 band, touring the southeastern U.S. before finally settling in Venice, Florida. She has performed in her own one-woman show, “Judy does Judy” (inspired by the music of Judy Garland), and has appeared on stage in numerous musical productions, including L’il Abner, Gypsy, Cole, Brigadoon and Once Upon A Mattress.
Saxophonist Tom Ellison is a member of several regional ensembles, including the Naples Jazz Orchestra, the Ken Loomer Big Band and the Sarasota Jazz Project Big Band, and has performed with the Venice Symphony Orchestra and the Naples Philharmonic. In 2012, Ellison joined forces with pianist Matt Bokulic, bassist Don Mopsick and drummer Chuck Parr to form Hip Pocket, which has quickly become a popular fixture on the area jazz scene. For their Jazz at Two appearance (April 4, 2 p.m.), Alexander and Hip Pocket will perform “A Salute to the Women of Song,” with selections from such artists as Julie London, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland. Compositions by Gershwin, Cole Porter and Duke Ellington will be part of the mix as well.
The April Jazz at Two series continues with Al Hixon and the Underheard Heard (April 11, 2 p.m.). Veteran jazz drummer Al Hixon will be joined by vocalist Alex Glover, pianist Judi Glover, trumpeter Dan McMillion and bassist Terry Plumeri. The quartet brings an expanse of collective musical experience that includes numerous recordings, a Grammy nomination and performances with such varied greats as Herbie Hancock, the Moscow Philharmonic, Carmen McRae, Peggy Lee, Mel Torme’, Natalie Cole and the Pointer Sisters. “They’re not my usual band,” says Hixon, “but these are all great, undiscovered players who I guarantee the audience will love!”
Young trumpet ace and composer Kevin Celebi grew up in Detroit, where he learned to play trumpet from the legendary Marcus Belgrave. Celebi was a member of the Blue Lake Fine Arts International Jazz Ensemble, touring Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark. He was a regular performer at the Jazz Kitchen and Chatterbox Jazz Club in Indianapolis and has also played with Kenny Drew, Jr., James Carter, Rodney Whitaker, Marcus Belgrave and Delfeayo Marsalis. Celebi has also performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Detroit, the Detroit Smooth Jazz Festival, the Indianapolis Jazz Festival and the Sarasota Jazz Festival. For his Jazz at Two performance (April 25, 2 p.m.), Celebi will be joined by Kenny Drew, Jr. on piano, Rich MacDonald on drums and Bruce Wallace on bass. The ensemble will be playing selections from Celebi’s new CD, “Purge Corruption,” which he describes as post-bop/modern jazz in the style of players like Nicholas Payton, John Coltrane, and Joe Henderson, with elements of modal/straight-ahead jazz, R&B, and funk.
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 and the annual Sarasota Jazz Festival.