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Clearwater Jazz Holiday begins Thursday

Bill DeYoung



Legendary singer Gladys Knight performs at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday Friday. Publicity photo.

Much like New Orleans’ vaunted and long-running Jazz & Heritage Festival, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday doesn’t have a lot of jazz music any more. Instead, the 44th Clearwater event, Thursday through Sunday (Oct. 19-22) at the Sound amphitheater, has rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, blues, funk, world music and even progressive bluegrass.

Tickets are available at this link for the 2023 Clearwater Jazz Holiday. Here’s a day-by-day breakdown of the scheduled performers:


Thursday, Oct. 19

4 p.m. Gates open

4:15 p.m. CJH Young Lions and CJH Sign Lighting Ceremony

5:45 p.m. Dustbowl Revival. California-based Americana band, combining folk, blues and old-time jazz.

7:30 p.m. The Beach Boys with Good Vibrations Orchestra. Original members: 1. That would be singer Mike Love, who legally owns the band name. Bruce Johnston, an actual Beach Boy since the mid 1960s, is also in this group. Don’t expect Brian Wilson or Al Jardine, however. There are few kind words between the two factions.


Friday, Oct. 20

5 p.m. Gates open

5:45 p.m. Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Direct from New Orleans, here’s the “jazz” in this Clearwater Jazz Holiday. This long-running outfit plays traditional, horn-based Dixieland.

7:30 p.m. Gladys Knight. The legendary soul singer, long Pips-free.

9:30 p.m. Average White Band. Formed in Scotland (!) in the early 1970s, the funky AWB (original members: 2) had unlikely (but unforgettable) big hits on American radio with the instrumentals “Pick Up the Pieces” and “Cut the Cake.”


Buddy Guy. Facebook photo.

Saturday, Oct. 22

5 p.m. Gates open

5:45 p.m. Los Lobos. Some of us are biased; some of us think Los Lobos (from Los Angeles) is one of the best American rock ‘n’ roll bands ever. Forget “La Bamba,” the band’s sole big chart hit – theirs is a rich and rewarding recorded legacy. The same five musicians have comprised Los Lobos since the ‘80s.

7:30 p.m. Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes. Returning bay area favorites, Gipsy Kings play flamenco and other styles from the Catalan region of Spain. As always, the band is fronted by the astonishing guitarists Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo.

9:30 p.m. Buddy Guy. The towering blues guitar great, 86, and his band close out Saturday’s festivities as part of what he’s calling the “Buddy Guy Damn Right Farewell Tour.” Health issues forced Guy to cancel a handful of September and October dates, up through this week; at press time, he’s still expected to appear in Clearwater.


Sunday, Oct. 23

4:45 p.m. Gates open

5:15 p.m. Christone “Kingfish” Ingram. A 24-year-old blues guitarist and bandleader from Mississippi, Ingram has recorded with (among others) Buddy Guy and Keb Mo.

6:45 p.m. Trampled By Turtles. Progressive bluegrass and folk band from Minnesota, with five No. 1 albums on the Billboard bluegrass chart.

8:30 p.m. Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. Louisiana blues-rock guitarist with three platinum albums.

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