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Lebo chosen as 2016 Amelia Island Jazz Festival Artist

Ode to the Muses (2015)

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.”

The Amelia Island Jazz Festival, a non-profit organization founded in 2001, promotes music education and appreciation. The festival’s educational programs include workshops for students in elementary, middle and high school as well as informative sessions held at senior centers.

Lebo is a natural choice for a festival centered on music. He has traveled the world to paint alongside musicians that inspired him, creating art live on stage during performances of acts such as the Beastie Boys, Paul Oakenfold and Willie Nelson. Lebo also served as the official artist for the 2003 Latin Grammy Awards, and was commissioned to create a work of art for Billy Joel in 2015.

Lebo is also a fan of listening to music while painting, saying he enjoys ska (a combination of jazz and Caribbean folk music), roots reggae, folk music and blue note jazz.

“The big band era, be-bop and hard-bop eras in particular are perfect encapsulations of how art can capture parts of history in a unique way,” he says.

David "Lebo" Le Batard

David “Lebo” Le Batard working on “Ode to the Muses” for the Amelia Island Jazz Festival (Photo courtesy of Lebo)

In his artwork for the festival, “Ode to the Muses,” Lebo captures the themes of jazz and the euphoria of listening to great music, using imagery that is both representational and abstract in his signature post-modern cartoon expressionistic style.

“I wanted to create something that was both progressive but steeped in the past,” he says. “I was looking to create a visual representation of the feeling one gets from a really transcendent piece of music as well as the feeling of the actual musicians themselves locked in a tight groove.”

Along with its workshops, music education is at the forefront of the festival with its Amelia Island Jazz Scholarship. The scholarship is granted on an annual basis to a graduating high school senior and must be used toward expenses that lead to earning a major or minor in music, preferably in jazz.

 

 

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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DeMerles return and gear up for Big Band Bash Gala Dinner/Dance on Valentine’s Day

AIJF Big Band Bash 2014

Amelia Island Jazz Festival Artistic Director Les DeMerle and his wife, vocalist Bonnie Eisele, return to the Island this week from a three month sojourn cruising Australia and New Zealand. They’re more than warmed up after performing nightly on the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship and thus eager to swing at the 4th annual BIG BAND BASH Benefit Gala, which will take place Valentine’s Day, Saturday, February 14 at the Omni Resorts Amelia Island Plantation , in the Amelia Ballroom. The popular Dinner/Dance will present The Dynamic Les DeMerle 17 piece Orchestra, featuring Eisele and special guests, in a salute to America’s legendary big bands.

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BIG BAND BASH GALA DINNER/DANCE SET FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

AIJF Sets Randy Brecker and Tony Monaco as 2014 Headliners

Randy Brecker 2014 AIJF Headliner

 

 

Jazz trumpeter and composer Randy Brecker, a multiple Grammy Awards winner, and monster jazz organ player Tony Monaco, are set to headline the 2014 Amelia Island Jazz Festival, it was announced recently by AIJF Artistic Director Les DeMerle. A hugely successful performer who has sold well over a half million albums as a solo artist, Brecker will be performing a tribute to the Brecker Brothers in honor of his late brother Michael, on Saturday, October 18, at the Omni Resorts Amelia Island Plantation. Credited with augmenting the sound of jazz, R&B and rock for more than four decades, Randy Brecker’s trumpet and flugelhorn performances have graced hundreds of albums by a wide range of recording artists from James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen and Parliament/Funkadelic to Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, and Jaco Pastorius.

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