(Sarasota, Florida) The Jazz Club of Sarasota’s “Jazz at Two” concert series kicks off the new year with the 17-piece Sarasota Jazz Project (January 2); woodwind wizard Tom Ellison and his quartet (January 9); soulful songstress Mary Rademacher-Reed, performing with pianist Eddie Tobin (January 23); and Harmonic Sanity, featuring trumpet virtuoso Kevin Celebi and a host of other renowned area musicians (January 30). 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 $8 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 Jazz Club of Sarasota’s January Jazz at Two series opens with a performance by area favorite, the Sarasota Jazz Project, Friday, January 2, 2 p.m. Founded in 2010, the 17-piece band features some of the area’s best musicians, including professionals who have performed with top bands and jazz musicians around the world. These talented all-stars play both standards and original compositions, creatively arranged in a uniquely contemporary big band style. “What makes the Sarasota Jazz Project unique is how we play standard tunes with a modern jazz flair,” says George McLain, the group’s manager.
The series continues on Friday, January 9, 2 p.m., with the Tom Ellison Quartet, featuring the multi-faceted Ellison on woodwinds and vocals, Judi Glover on piano, Don Mopsick on bass and Bob Stone on drums. Tom Ellison took up the saxophone at age seven and, by 12, had already played his first professional gig, performing with his father’s band. That concert sparked Ellison’s lifelong passion for live performance and marked the beginning of an illustrious musical career that has included performing with such greats as Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Henry Mancini, Woody Herman, Aretha Franklin, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, the Four Tops and the Temptations.
Next up is vocalist Mary Rademacher-Reed, in performance with pianist Eddie Tobin, Friday, January 23, 2 p.m. Front Row Magazine praised Rademacher-Reed for vocals that “range from soulful to powerful, with a versatile range to satisfy just about any crowd.” Over the course of her career, Rademacher-Reed has been featured with the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, the Paul Keller Orchestra and Dave Bennett’s Tribute to Benny Goodman. Rademacher-Reed has also opened for Bob Newhart and Shirley Jones and has performed for Presidents George Bush, Sr., and Ronald Reagan.
Jazz at Two closes the month of January with the return of trumpeter Kevin Celebi and his septet, Harmonic Sanity, Friday, January 30, 2 p.m. 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. For his Jazz at Two performance, Celebi has gathered a septet of some of the area’s top jazz artists in a group called Harmonic Sanity. The ensemble includes Valerie Gillespie on alto sax, Mark Gould on tenor sax, LaRue Nickelson on guitar, Greg Nielsen on trombone, Chuck Parr on drums and Bruce Wallace on bass.
“What better way to ward off the winter chill?” says Dave Walrath, president of the Jazz Club of Sarasota. “With four concerts and nearly 30 of the area’s top musicians, the stage will be swinging with some of the hottest jazz in town!”
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.