+ Jazz Fest still grooving after 32 years
Saxophones, trombones and clarinets, oh my!
I know you’ve all got busy lives and that you’re overscheduled as it is, but there’s a music festival next month that for 32 years has brought jazz legends to Sarasota.
The festival kicks off its weeklong lineup with an outdoor jazz concert from 1 to 4 p.m. March 4, at Phillippi Estate Park, followed by evening concerts through March 10, at The Players Theatre.
This year’s artists include swing/jazz ensemble J.B. Scott’s Swingin’ Allstars, trombonist Bill Watrous, brothers Warren and Allan Vaché’s quintet and piano greats Dick Hyman and Derek Smith.
I recently asked Hyman, a Venice resident who has performed with the festival since its inception, if he’s ever grown tired of playing the same old standards.
Rather eloquently, he replied, “Jazz musicians have a clearer way of keeping fresh. We’re always improvising, so the songs are never really the same.”
Hyman and Smith, a former “Tonight Show” pianist, have played together for more than three decades.
On March 10, the duo will present its popular “Dick and Derek at the Movies” program, covering classic numbers from movies such as “Casablanca,” “Singin’ in the Rain” and “42nd Street.” The concert will also include a clip reel.
Who wouldn’t want to spend an evening with Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Cary Grant and two of the country’s most revered jazz pianists?
+ Jack Dowd kicks off Sarasota art tour
It’s time to start programming your GPS.
The Creators & Collector’s Suncoast Art Tour is here, and this year’s lineup is bound to make you rethink that factory print you bought two years ago at Pier 1.
Sarasota artist Jack Dowd, whose studio was a highlight on last year’s tour, announced this year’s participating artists at a luncheon last week at the Bird Key Yacht Club.
Sponsored by the Fine Art Society of Sarasota, the self-guided driving tour, which is now in its 41st year, will run March 9 and March 10, encompassing five home studios from University Parkway to Clark Road.
On the map this year: photographer Giovanni Lunardi, painter Joseph Melancon, multimedia artist Andrea Dasha Reich, sculptor Adam Todd and printmaker Nancy Turner.
For tickets, visit fineartssarasota.com or hit up any of these locations: the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall box office, Art Center Sarasota, Dabbert Gallery, Davidson Drugstores, Galleria Silecchia, State of the Arts Gallery and Artists on the Court.
+ Choreographer showers praise on ballet
Lynn Wallis, artistic director of the Royal Academy of Dance in London, was so excited to be back in the company of longtime friends and colleagues Iain Webb and Margaret Barbieri, that she lost her voice playing catch-up.
The former Royal Ballet School dancer-turned-teacher was in town last week to set the Sarasota Ballet’s performance of “Monotones I and II,” two parts of a plotless ballet by Sir Frederick Ashton.
Wallis was nominated in 2004 for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for her restaging of the work with the San Francisco Ballet.
Despite the hoarse voice, Wallis, managed to squeak out this comment regarding the work: “When I was a student in the graduate school at the Royal Ballet, ‘Monotones II’ had its premiere at a gala in the Royal Opera House by the Royal Ballet. I watched the dress rehearsal with Maggie (Barbieri). We were absolutely mesmerized by it. To have the opportunity now to stage it with Sarasota Ballet is just wonderful. It has a special place in my heart.”
The piece will be featured on a triple bill with Ashton’s “Valses Nobles et Sentimentales” and “Façade.” The performance runs Feb. 24 to Feb. 26, at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. For tickets, call 359-0099 ext. 101 or visit sarasotaballet.org.
The Sarasota Orchestra Association’s Pot O’Gold fundraiser benefits the Youth Orchestra.
Olivia Thorning Little with Vintage Soul: Sarasota country darling Olivia Thorning Little will front the local teen band, Vintage Soul, at a fundraising concert Feb. 25 for the Myakka City Foundation. The Cardinal Mooney freshman just returned from another trip to Nashville, Tenn., where she laid down two tracks with veteran songwriter Keith Follese. Little was just 12 years old the first time her name appeared in this column. Now she’s about to release two songs produced by the man who wrote some of Tim McGraw’s greatest hits. See her perform live at the Myakka City Homegrown Band Bash at the BP station at the corner of State Road 70 and Wachula Road in downtown Myakka. Little takes the stage at noon. For more information, visit myakkacityfoundation.org or follow Little on Facebook.
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