Connect with us


This week, it’s all about Latin jazz

Bill DeYoung



South Florida's Martin Bejerano and his trio will perform Thursday at St. Pete College. Photos provided.

Pianist and composer Martin Bejerano co-headlines St. Petersburg’s second annual Latin Jazz Festival this week with his trio. An assistant professor of jazz piano at Miami’s Frost School of Music, Bejerano is one of the leading lights of Florida-based Afro-Cuban jazz’ his work is favorably compared to that of Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock.

“He’s world class,” says David Manson, director of the Thursday-through-Saturday festival. “He’s received a couple commissioning grants from Chamber Music America, which is based in New York City. And they’re very selective.”

Bejerano and group will play one of those commissions, the Latin Grammy-nominated “The #CubanAmerican Suite” (the hashtag is part of the title) at Thursday’s 7:30 p.m. concert at the St. Pete College Music Center, on the SPC campus, 5th Avenue at 66th Street North (tickets are here).

“The College Music Center, acoustically, is probably the best venue in Pinellas County,” Manson says.

Manson, himself a musician, composer and bandleader, teaches in the St. Pete College Dept. of Music. Through his production nonprofit, EMIT, he produces the annual St. Petersburg Jazz Festival each spring.

The Latin-centric spinoff was introduced in 2021.

“I love Latin jazz in particular,” Manson declares. “I find it really refreshing. I want to share it with people who may not have heard much – there are all different genres of Latin jazz that we can explore.”

Between the Bejerano concert Thursday, and the Friday and Saturday shows, the rhythms will be high, low and in between, the melodies both furious and gentle.

The MJR Latin Project plays Friday at Bayboro Brewing.

Saturday (7:30 p.m.) brings the MJR Latin Project to a newly-designed performance room at Bayboro Brewing, 2390 5th Avenue S. (tickets are here).

Cuban-born bassist Mauricio J. Rodriguez, a familiar figure (and most welcome player) at local jazz shows, is joined by saxophonist Zach Bornheimer, pianist Pablo Arencibia, drummer Andy Fornet (of Orquesta Revé and Charanga Habanera, Cuba) and conguero and percussionist Sergio Gala.

Saturday’s concert (3 to 6 p.m.) takes place in the ornate lobby of the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, 355 4th Street N. It is free.

The Latin Knights, a seven-piece band (with horns, timbales and conga) from Tampa will open, followed by a set of samba and bossa nova from O Som Do Jazz, the Brazilian music group led by Manson (composition, trombone) and his wife, vocalist Andrea Moreas.

EMIT festivals are supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Pinellas and the City of St. Petersburg.







Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By posting a comment, I have read, understand and agree to the Posting Guidelines.

The St. Pete Catalyst

The Catalyst honors its name by aggregating & curating the sparks that propel the St Pete engine.  It is a modern news platform, powered by community sourced content and augmented with directed coverage.  Bring your news, your perspective and your spark to the St Pete Catalyst and take your seat at the table.

Email us:

Subscribe for Free

Share with friend

Enter the details of the person you want to share this article with.