2017 Amelia Island Jazz Festival

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Jazz the American Art Form

Les DeMerle AIJF founder and artistic director

Join Les DeMerle, Jazz Drummer and Amelia Island Jazz Festival Founder & Artistic Director, formerly with Harry James, Frank Sinatra and the Manhattan Transfer at the Amelia Island Museum of History.

Les will talk about the history and the future of Jazz from Louis Armstrong to Wynton Maralis.  He will also present a special Amelia Island Jazz Festival Video with highlights from the 2016 and 2017 headliners. Attendees will be treated with a special guest performance by the 2017 Amelia Island Jazz Festival Scholarship winner: 18 year old saxophonist Skyler Nolan and the Next Generation Jazz Band.

This special event will take place Friday, July 21, 2017 at 6 pm.  Seating is first-come / first-served.  Cost at the door is $10 for Amelia Island Museum of History Members and $15 for Nonmembers.  The Amelia Island Museum of History is located at 233 S. 3rd Street in Historic Fernandina Beach, FL.

Don’t Miss a beat!

Make sure to be part of this special evening. Les will share his history and passion for Jazz music.  Be there and help support the 14th annual Amelia Island Jazz Festival.

 

 

 

Néstor Torres and Roseanna Vitro – Headliners at the 2017 Festival

Roseanna Vitro and Nestor Torres

Venerable jazz flautist Néstor Torres and Grammy nominated vocalist Roseanna Vitro are set to headline the 2017 Amelia Island Jazz Festival, it was announced this week by AIJF Artistic Director Les DeMerle. A highly influential player with dozens of albums to his credit, Torres will appear on Saturday, October 14. He has recorded for a number of prestigious labels including Polygram, Shanachie, and Sony Latin Jazz. Inspired by musicians like Cal Tjader, Dave Brubeck, and Tito Puente, Torres’ playing incorporates a smorgasbord of Latin jazz, pop, straight-ahead jazz, and classical styles. He has played with an impressive array of jazz greats, including Jimmy Smith and Dave Grusin.

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6th Annual Big Band Bash Raises $12,000 for Charity

2017 official AIJF artist Alfred Gockel

by Park West Gallery

Park West Gallery and the Park West Foundation supported one of America’s greatest art forms during the 6th Annual Big Band Bash gala on February 12 at Amelia Island, Florida.

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DeMerle Brings World Class Musicians and Art to BIG BAND BASH

Big Band Bash at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation

by Michael Rothschild

“My Big Band features some of the finest Jazz musicians and Jazz Educators in the world”, said Les DeMerle in advance of the Amelia Island Jazz Festival’s sixth annual BIG BAND BASH, “Salute to the Bands”, to be held Sunday, February 12, 2017 from 7:00 – 10:00 PM, in the Amelia Ballroom at the Omni Resorts Amelia Island Plantation.

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Amelia Island Jazz Festival Names 2016 Scholarship Winner

Thomas Milovac

18 year old Thomas Milovac, a gifted bassist from Clermont, FL, will be honored with a college scholarship from the Amelia Island Jazz Festival, it was announced today by AIJF Artistic Director Les DeMerle. A member of the Florida All State Band while attending East Ridge High School, Milovac will accept the festival’s annual award when he performs at the 2016 Amelia Island Jazz Festival, October 2-9, at various venues in Fernandina Beach. He will be introduced at a pre-festival Jazz Party featuring DeMerle’s trio, with vocalist Bonnie Eisele, at Horizon’s restaurant, August 12 and 13. He will also be sitting in with them for the opening sets prior to headliner shows with Houston Person and Bria Skonberg on October 7 and 8, in the Parish Hall at St. Michael’s Academy. Additionally, Milovac’s quintet, along with Jazz Vocalist Lisa Kelly, will host and play the Fri and Saturday night jam sessions at Arte Pizza that will follow the main concerts.

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Lebo chosen as 2016 Amelia Island Jazz Festival Artist

2016 AIJF Jazz Pass

by Park West Gallery

David Le Batard, also known as the artist Lebo, will loan his artistic talents to the 13th Annual Amelia Island Jazz Festival as its official artist.

Lebo follows Tim Yanke, who served as the official artist in 2015. Lebo will create art that is featured on posters, shirts, flyers and other materials related to the festival, held at several venues on Amelia Island in Florida from Oct. 2-9.

“Being chosen for the Amelia Island Jazz Festival is a joy for many reasons, not the least of which is how greatly music, and in particular jazz, has affected my approach at art,” Lebo says. “The mix of extreme dedication along with individual expression is a perfect one, and one that I learned from being a fan of jazz.”

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AIJF Sets HOUSTON PERSON and BRIA SKONBERG as 2016 Headliners

2016 Amelia Island Jazz Festival

Legendary tenor saxophonist Houston Person and hot young trumpeter Bria Skonberg are set to headline the 2016 Amelia Island Jazz Festival, it was announced this week by AIJF Artistic Director Les DeMerle. A highly influential player with dozens of albums to his credit, Person has recorded for a number of labels including Savoy, Mercury, Prestige Muse, and presently High Note Records. His soulful, bluesy, and thick-toned tenor style, in the tradition of the great Gene Ammons, has been particularly notable in his work with various jazz organ trios. A trumpeter/vocalist/composer, Skonberg has rapidly become a top draw in New York City, and according to the Wall Street Journal, “is poised to be one of the most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation.” Both will appear on shows at the St. Michaels Academy Parrish Hall.

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Park West sponsors 5th Annual Big Band Bash

Valentine's Day Big Band Bash

by Park West

Roses and chocolates are lovely gestures, but for something extra sweet for your sweetheart, treat them to a night of dinner, dancing, music and art that benefits a good cause.

Park West Gallery was teaming up with the Amelia Island Jazz Festival to host the Big Band Bash Dinner and Dance. The fundraiser gala took place 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 14, at the Amelia Ballroom in the Omni Amelia Island Plantation in Florida.

The fundraiser is held each year on Valentine’s Day, offering you and your valentine a gourmet dinner and a night of dancing to music performed by the 17-piece Dynamic Les DeMerle orchestra with vocalist Bonnie Eisele, featuring tunes by greats such as Glenn Miller, Count Basie and Duke Ellington.

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Tim Yanke named official artist for the Amelia Island Jazz Festival

Legends Tim Yanke

Originally published by Park West Gallery

 

Park West Gallery artist Tim Yanke of Birmingham, Michigan has been chosen to be the official artist for the 12th Annual Amelia Island Jazz Festival in Florida.

Yanke has created original artwork he will donate that will be auctioned off to benefit the Amelia Island Jazz Festival Scholarship Program. The funds raised will coincide with the festival’s 4th Annual Big Band Bash gala on February 14 in the Amelia Ballroom at the OMNI Resorts Amelia Island Plantation.

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AIJF Names 2015 Scholarship Winner

Ryan Duncan - 2015 AIJF Scholarship Winner

18 year old Ryan Duncan, a gifted saxophonist from Jacksonville, will be honored with a college scholarship from the Amelia Island Jazz Festival, it was announced today by AIJF Artistic Director Les DeMerle. A four year member of the Florida All State Band while attending Douglas Anderson School Of The Arts, Duncan will accept the festival’s annual award during a special “All That Jazz” concert/show on September 20, 7:00 – 10:00 PM, at the Amelia Community Theatre at which he will also perform with the Dynamic Les DeMerle Band featuring vocalist Bonnie Eisele. For his university training, Duncan plans on joining the highly regarded music program at the University of North Texas.

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