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Arts Alive! podcast: David Manson, St. Petersburg Jazz Festival

Bill DeYoung



On this week’s edition of Arts Alive! we welcome David Manson, founder and director of the St. Petersburg Jazz Festival, which celebrates its 15th year April 1-6.

Manson, who’s taught music at St. Pete College for 32 years (he now wears the title Distinguished Faculty), explains that the festival – five concerts in various locations – was designed not to spotlight “name” artists, but to direct audience’s attention to great music and excellent musicians they may not be familiar with. Most of them are residents of the bay area, or live, work and play close by. Giving local musicians a proper showcase is a hallmark of the St. Petersburg Jazz Festival.

Bassist/composer Mauricio J. Rodriguez and his MJR Latin Project play Wednesday, April 3 at the Palladium Theater Side Door.

April 4 brings pianist and composer Markus Gottschlich and his Trio to the Music Center at St. Petersburg College, 6605 5th Ave. North. Gottschlich, who happens to be the executive director of the Warehouse Arts District Association, talked about his relationship with music on the previous edition of the Arts Alive! podcast (listen here).

The Brazilian-music quartet O Som Do Jazz, featuring Manson on trombone and his wife, Rio’s Andrea Moraes Manson, on vocals, is onstage outdoors at the Warehouse Arts District’s ArtsXchange April 5; this one’s a free concert. Rafael Pereira and Jose Valentino Ruiz will join the band, which has just issued its 4th album of original music.

April 6 at the Museum of the American Arts & Crafts Museum, it’s Sarasota-based Hot Club SRQ, playing Django Reinhardt/Stephane Grappelli-style gypsy jazz. The music, says Manson, “simply swings and is full of beauty and romance.”

April 2’s festival-opening concert, with visiting vocalist Alexis Cole in front of St. Pete’s 18-piece big band the Helios Jazz Orchestra at the Side Door, is sold out. 

A few places remain open for Cole’s jazz-singing workshop April 1.

Learn more about the festival, and purchase tickets, at

To go in depth, click on the arrow to listen to the interview.

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