Tag Archives: Sarasota Jazz Project

Sarasota Jazz Project “Big-Band Jazz Christmas” Concert in Port Charlotte December 17

(Sarasota, FL) The Sarasota Jazz Project Orchestra will present “A Big Band Jazz Christmas,” on Monday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. at the William H. Wakeman III, Cultural Center Theater, 2280 Aaron Street, Port Charlotte.

“We’ll be serving up a delightful mixture of favorite holiday standards and traditional carols, all to a swinging big-band beat,” said George McLain, leader and saxophone player. The playlist includes a hip rendition of “We Three Kings” and a shout-it-out “Hark the Herald Angels.”

Two musical stars return from previous shows at the Cultural Center to further enliven the concert. Miami jazz singer Lisanne Lyons warms up the stage with “Santa Baby” and “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.” The Sarasota High School graduate, recipient of two DownBeat awards, was a featured soloist with Air Force bands worldwide while serving active duty, including Air Force Academy Falconcaires. She has also performed nationally with Joel Grey, Woody Herman Orchestra, Maynard Ferguson Band, Arturo Sandoval, Larry Elgart, University of Miami Concert Jazz Band, Fort Worth Symphony, Harry James Orchestra, and many more. Lisanne is a recipient of 2 Down Beat awards. She currently serves as Director of Jazz Vocal Studies at Florida International University.

Art Hallett adds his powerful voice with a funky version of a great Christmas spiritual, “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” The Detroit-influenced singer presents this and other songs that have been part of his outreach during his 25 years as director of Evangelism Explosion Prison Ministries, where he works to prepare incarcerated men and women for re-entering society. Rev. Hallett has recorded more than 12 CDs that display his immense talent.

“As always, Sarasota Jazz Project presents the best jazz soloists on the West Coast of Florida,” McLain said. Among the 16 band members are Kevin Celebi on trumpet, Pete Barenbregge on sax and Davit DeWitt on trombone.

Reservations are recommended for the concerts, which begin at 7:00 p.m. Admission is $17 for members of the Port Charlotte Cultural Center and $19 for nonmembers. Tickets are available by phone at 941-625-4175, online by clicking the “buy tickets” tab at www.theculturalcenter.com or at the door, 2280 Aaron Street, Port Charlotte.
Future concerts in the Monday night series will be held on January 21, February 18, March 25 and April 22.

Over its 8-year history the Sarasota Jazz Project Orchestra has become known as the premier big band of the Gulf Coast. Its performers, some of the area’s best jazz musicians, perform classic and contemporary big band music in a concert setting. Members hail from counties up and down the Gulf Coast, from Largo to Fort Myers. The band has appeared with numerous jazz greats, played in significant venues, and performed countless concerts, often for the Charlotte County Jazz Society and the Jazz Club of Sarasota. The band will release its third CD, The Best of Friends, this month. To learn more about the Sarasota Jazz Project, visit its website at www.SarasotaJazzProject.org.





Vocalist Lisanne Lyons and Sarasota Jazz Project Present ‘Swinging at the Cinema’ in Port Charlotte Nov. 19

(Sarasota, FL) The Sarasota Jazz Project Orchestra, a popular 16-piece band formed in 2010, presents “Swinging at the Cinema,” featuring acclaimed vocalist Lisanne Lyons, at the William H. Wakeman III, Cultural Center Theater, 2280 Aaron Street, Port Charlotte, on Monday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. The event is the second monthly concert in a series of seven.

For this concert the SJP reminds audiences of the importance of music in the movies with a selection of “Best Song of the Year” Academy Award winners and nominees. “We’ve chosen some famous and not-so-famous tunes for the concert,” said George McLain, SJP leader and saxophonist. “Besides the familiar tempos of these pieces, our audience can enjoy exciting jazz and swing versions, some of them augmented by two vocalists (Lisanne and myself) and a chance to compete in “Movie Music Trivia.” McLain expects an evening of fun and nostalgia.

Miami-based jazz vocalist and Sarasota High School graduate Lisanne Lyons is making a return engagement with the SJP. The recipient of two Down Beat awards, Lyons was a featured soloist with Air Force bands worldwide while serving active duty, including Air Force Academy Falconcaires. She has also performed nationally with Joel Grey, Woody Herman Orchestra, Maynard Ferguson Band, Arturo Sandoval, Larry Elgart, University of Miami Concert Jazz Band, Fort Worth Symphony, Harry James Orchestra, and many more. Lisanne is a recipient of 2 Down Beat awards. She currently serves as Director of Jazz Vocal Studies at Florida International University.

Songs for the concert include “Smile,” “As Time Goes By,” “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” and “I Remember You.” Lyons will sing rousing versions of “Cheek To Cheek” and “Old Devil Moon” and McLain will belt out the theme from “New York, New York.”

Reservations are recommended for the concerts, which all begin at 7:00 p.m. Admission is $17 for members of the Port Charlotte Cultural Center and $19 for nonmembers. Tickets are available by phone at 941-625-4175, online by clicking the “buy tickets” tab at www.theculturalcenter.com and at the door, 2280 Aaron Street, Port Charlotte.

Other dates in the series are December 17, 2018, and four concerts in 2019: January 21, February 18, March 25 and April 22.

Over its 8-year history the Sarasota Jazz Project Orchestra has become known as the premier big band of the Gulf Coast. Its performers, some of the area’s best jazz musicians, perform classic and contemporary big band music in a concert setting. Members hail from counties up and down the Gulf Coast, from Largo to Fort Myers. The band has appeared with numerous jazz greats, played in significant venues, and performed countless concerts, often for the Charlotte County Jazz Society and the Jazz Club of Sarasota. The band will release its third CD, The Best of Friends, this month. To learn more about the Sarasota Jazz Project, visit its website at www.SarasotaJazzProject.org.

Jazz Club of Sarasota and Baltimore Orioles Team Up for Jazz In the Ballpark April 22 at Ed Smith Stadium

(Sarasota, FL) The Jazz Club of Sarasota and the Baltimore Orioles have teamed up to present Jazz in the Ballpark on Saturday, April 22, at 7:00 p.m. at Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th Street. Tickets go on sale February 17th for the outdoor concert, titled “Big Band Jazz Through the Decades.” The performance will feature music of the Andrews Sisters and America’s favorite big bands from the 1940s to the present. Vocalists Michele James-Pruyn and the Swing Sisters are backed by the Sarasota Jazz Project.

Michele James-Pruyn, a native of North Carolina, has been singing and acting since the age of 15. During her career she has won dozens of vocal competitions and performed at the White House, Disneyworld and other venues throughout the world.

As “Michele and the Swing Sisters,” James-Pruyn and her friends, Kim Kollar and Cathy Noeth, have performed their cabaret act, “The Sounds of Harry James and the Andrews Sisters,” across the country for more than 17 years.

The Sarasota Jazz Project, formed in 2010, is a 17-piece big band under the direction of co-founder George McLain, who also plays tenor sax and sings. In addition to songs of the Andrews Sisters, the band will present tunes from nostalgic to newer, including songs made famous by Harry James, Glen Miller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson and Tower of Power. The band will feature many of the top jazz soloists in Florida including David Pruyn on trumpet, Tony Benade on saxophone, and Greg Nielsen on trombone.

While enjoying the nostalgia, fans can feast on ballpark food including hot dogs, drinks and snacks.

Tickets are available from the Orioles beginning on February 17. Reserved seats are offered to adults at $50 (VIP), $30 and $20. Children and students may buy $20 seats for $10. “Proceeds from this exciting event will be donated to the Jazz Club Scholarship Fund, which benefits local young musicians,” said Peg Pluto, president of the Jazz Club.

For more information, please visit www.jazzclubsarasota.org.
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Jazz in Sarasota

Great jazz in Sarasota this past Sunday. At the First Church, downtown Sarasota, Jim Wellen, Dominic Mancini, Tommy Goodman and Johnny Moore did 2 shows as part of the First Church Jazz Series which runs monthly through April.

First Church Jazz Series Feb. 8, 2015
First Church Jazz Series Feb. 8, 2015

Sunday night, the Sarasota Jazz Project big band tore it up at the Copa Restaurant (301 near Fruitville Rd) in Sarasota.
Sarasota Jazz Project big band at the Copa Restaurant.
Sarasota Jazz Project big band at the Copa Restaurant.

The band is scheduled to play at the Copa on Sunday nights 6:30 to 8:30 PM.