It’s an honor to be recognized and supported in music composition with an Impact Returns Artist Fellowship from Creative Pinellas and the citizens of Pinellas County. I grew up in Dunedin and like many others, I returned to this area (after working in Cincinnati, Memphis and Indianapolis). The evolution of the arts here has been remarkable!
The last two months have been very busy. Through EMIT (an adventurous music presenter that I direct), we hosted the ninth St. Petersburg Jazz Festival with five evenings of jazz concerts and four educational workshops. The jazz festival lineup included original modern jazz from Robotman, original works by The Martin Bejerano Trio, the Joshua Breakstone Trio, The Helios Jazz Orchestra with guest singers Whitney James & Fred Johnson and L.A. drummer Jason Lee Bruns with the SPC Jazz Profs. Four workshops with our guest artists were given at St. Petersburg College and were free and open to the public. The jazz festival gets larger and better every year!
Recently, EMIT presented amazing Brazilian guitarist Diego Figueiredo with O Som Do Jazz and then co-sponsored musicians for Jazz in the Stacks (a library jazz concert) and Gasp!, the fringe fest at the Tampa Museum of Art. Four of my compositions were featured, plus several arrangements. The 18-member Helios Jazz Orchestra performed on April 18 at the Palladium Theater Side Door with outstanding area vocalist Sonja Spence. On April 21, our Brazilian trio (Rio Bossa) provides music for a gala event at the St. Petersburg Museum of Art. I get to dust off my alto trombone for a performance of the Mozart Requiem on April 24, at the Palladium Theater. This concert is in memory of Jason Miller, a talented graduate of the music program at St. Petersburg College. He will be missed by many. On April 28, the SPC Jazz Profs will give a workshop at Dixie Hollins High School.
While it wonderful to teach and engage with the community through music performances, I also look forward to having a bit more time during the summer to compose and record. I am working on new compositions for our larger Brazilian group, O Som Do Jazz. The unique rhythms, harmonies, modes and the spirit of the music of Brasil inspire me to work in different directions. When that is completed, I will have a dozen original vocal and instrumental works that can be recorded. I am also composing a new work for the Helios Jazz Orchestra, a collection of the top jazz artists in the Tampa Bay. It’s a busy schedule, but I would not have it any other way!