The 2014-15 jazz concert season is running hot in Southwest Florida. Here is a rundown of noteworthy jazz events, principally in the Sarasota to Naples territory, in February and March.
- Wednesday, February 4 – Guitarist Pat Martino is the Naples Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra’s special guest. Daniels Pavilion, Naples. 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
- Monday, February 9, 2015 – Twin saxophonists Peter and Will Anderson are featured with their quintet in the Charlotte County Jazz Society‘s Artists Series. Cultural Center of Charlotte County. 7 p.m.
- Thursday, February 12 – Trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa.
- Saturday, February 21 – 10th annual Punta Gorda Wine & Jazz Festival, Laishley Park, Punta Gorda, 1-6 pm. Saxophonist Mindi Abair (back for her seventh consecutive year), guitarist Nick Colionne and saxophonist Dave Koz are featured at this smooth jazz event. The mainstream jazz portion of the weekend is at the Isles Yacht Club Sunday jazz brunch, which is sponsored by Presley Beane Financial Services. The brunch will feature drummer-singer Patricia Dean, trombonist Herb Bruce, pianist Jeff Philips, bassist and guitarist Dave Trefethen, and drummer-vibraphonist Joe Bilardo. All will mix it up in varied combinations between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Wednesday, February 25 – Singer Rene Marie. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa.
- Saturday, February 28 – Singer Giacomo Gates, South County Jazz Club concert series, Glenridge Performing Arts Center, Sarasota, 8 p.m.
- Sunday, March 1 to Saturday, March 7 – 35th annual Sarasota Jazz Festival. The lineup includes pianist Dick Hyman, clarinetist Ken Peplowski, singers Freddy Cole, June Garber, Karla Harris, and Kitt Moran. Concerts are at the Riverview High School Performing Arts Center in Sarasota.
- Wednesday, March 4 – Saxophonist Jimmy Heath is the Naples Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra’s special guest. Daniels Pavilion, Naples. 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
- Sunday, March 8 – Trumpeter/sanger Bria Skonberg. South County Jazz Club concert series, Glenridge Performing Arts Center, Sarasota, 2 p.m.
- Monday, March 9 – Trombonist Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band in concert, Charlotte County Jazz Society’s Artists Series. Cultural Center of Charlotte County. 7 p.m.
- Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15 – Banjo player Cynthia Sayer. South County Jazz Club concert series, Glenridge Performing Arts Center, Sarasota. Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
- -Friday, March 20 – Singer Carla Cook with the Dan Miller-Lew Del Gatto Quintet. Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Fort Myers.
Several local restaurants (including J.D.’s in Port Charlotte, The Orange House in Punta Gorda, The Roadhouse in Ft. Myers, and Alto in Naples) offer jazz steadily. Be sure to check the Alto and JD's websites for occasional guest headliners. A variety of matinee concerts sponsored all season by the Jazz Club of Sarasota and the South County Jazz Club also keep things swinging for jazz lovers.