After taking 2021 off for a pandemic-necessitated siesta, the St. Petersburg Jazz Festival returns this weekend with an inspired lineup of music and musicians. The event, Wednesday through Sunday (that’s Feb. 23-27 for you calendar-watchers) consists of a series of nightly concerts at the Palladium Theater.
Trombonist/composer David Manson, a professor of music (and Distinguished Faculty member) at St. Petersburg College, began this tradition a dozen years ago. The St. Petersburg Jazz Festival, Manson insists, has never been about bringing in name-act headliners to draw giant crowds (no Spyro Gyra or Kenny G here, folks!). The objective is to expose bay area fans to a variety of monstrously talented local players – alongside some of their equally gifted out-of-town friends.
Bottom line: It’s all about the music.
Tickets are available at the Palladium website, here. The 2022 lineup looks like this:
Wednesday, Feb. 23. Om Som do Jazz, St. Petersburg’s premiere Brazilian music band, playing bossa nova, samba jazz, Balanço, Baião and more. Vocalist Andrea Moraes Manson, a Rio de Janiero native, is supported (aka flies alongside) keyboards, bass, drums, guitar, percussion, trombone and sax.
Alejandro Arenas, Mark Feinman and David Manson perform with Andrea, and for this concert will be joined by multi-instrumentalist Jose Valentino Ruiz (flute) and Rafael Pereira (percussion).
Thursday, Feb. 24. Horace Silver, Art Blakey (The Jazz Messengers), Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan, Herbie Hancock and others recorded for the legendary jazz label Blue Note, and this concert will focus on that choice music. The quintet is fronted by trumpeter James Suggs, and saxophonist Austin Vickrey, with Jon O’Leary (piano), Alejandro Arenas (bass), drummer David Hardman and trombonist Derrick Harris.
Friday, Feb. 25. A 12-piece chamber group (with vocals), RADIOjazzHEAD (from St. Louis) specializes in jazz arrangements of ‘90s rock music, from the likes of Radiohead (duh), Coldplay, Soundgarden, Nirvana and others. Bandleader Pete Carney is associate professor of music at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF). The singer is SCF jazz vocalist student Savannah Brady.
Saturday, Feb. 26. Four-time DownBeat award-winning, vocalist, composer and arranger Anna Hedrick, 21, is the guest performer with St. Pete’s 16-piece Helios Jazz Orchestra. This acclaimed Indianapolis native is currently a senior at University of Miami’s Frost School of Music.
Sunday, Feb. 27. The Chris Dingman Trio spotlights the young vibraphonist who’s been profiled by NPR, the New York Times (which praised his “fondness for airtight logic and burnished lyricism”) and numerous others, and has performed with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and a dozen more luminaries from all across the jazz spectrum.
The group also includes Miami’s Carlo DeRosa on bass and Rodolfo Zuniga on drums.
Jazz at the Palladium continues March 23 with “Women of Jazz XVI,” featuring Valerie Gillespie, saxophone and vocals; Judi Glover, piano; Patricia Dean, drums and vocals; Michael Ross, bass; Rose Bilal, guest vocalist; Lorri Hafer, guest vocalist; Belinda Womack, guest vocalist
Coming April 8: Musician, composer, and beat generation icon David Amram appears with band and actors reading Kerouac.