Pensacola JazzFest 2013 Headliners
Harry Allen Quartet,
featuring Rossano Sportiello
Harry Allen has over thirty recordings to his name, which have earned numerous international awards, and have made the top ten list for favorite new releases in reader’s poll and critic’s poll, among other accolades.
Harry has performed at jazz festivals and clubs worldwide, including two previous appearances at the Pensacola JazzFest. He has performed with Rosemary Clooney, Ray Brown, Hank Jones, Frank Wess, Kenny Burrell, Herb Ellis, John Pizzarelli, Bucky Pizzarelli, among others, and has recorded with Tony Bennett, Johnny Mandel, Ray Brown, Tommy Flanagan, James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, and many others. Harry is featured on many of John Pizzarelli’s recordings.
Harry was born in Washington D.C. in 1966, and was raised in Los Angeles and Burrillville, RI. He currently resides in New York City. More information can be found on his website, www.harryallenjazz.com
Award-winning jazz pianist Rossano Sportiello, from Vigevano, Italy, began studying piano at age 9, and by 16, was performing professionally at jazz venues in the Milan area. In 1992, he joined one of Europe’s historic jazz bands, the “Milano Jazz Gang.” Legendary jazz pianist and educator, Barry Harris, who became a mentor and good friend, touted Rossano as “the best stride piano player” he has ever heard.
Stylistically, the influence of many great masters can be heard in his playing, such as Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, Art Tatum, Count Basie, and Earl Hines, to name a few. Rossano was introduced as a soloist by trombonist/arranger Dan Barrett and drew international acclaim while performing with the eight-piece, all-star American band led by Barrett. He was introduced to the American audience at the invitation of Mat Domber (Arbors Records) to perform at the 2003 “March of Jazz” party in Clearwater Beach, Florida. In 2007, Rossano established himself in New York City.
Rossano has performed with the many of the world’s finest jazz luminaries, such as Slide Hampton, Clark Terry, Dan Barrett, Bucky Pizzarelli, Harry Allen, Howard Alden, Eddie Locke, Joe La Barbera, Houston Person, Dick Hyman and others. In recent years Rossano has been in great demand at many major jazz clubs and festivals in the U.S. and internationally.
Since 2008, Rossano has performed regularly with the Harry Allen Quartet. Rossano has recorded four solo piano CDs, two duet CDs with bassist/singer Nicki Parrott on Arbors Records, and three jazz CDs featuring classical music. Learn more at www.rossanosportiello.com
Vocalist Giacomo Gates returns to Pensacola, having performed for JSOP on two prior occasions. Steeped in the traditions of the original vocal improvisers from Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald through their modern counterparts Betty Carter and Leon Thomas, Giacomo’s own approach draws most heavily from the bebop-rooted masters like Jon Hendricks, King Pleasure and Eddie Jefferson. Giacomo sometimes vocalizes as an instrument–trombone, flute, bass and even drums. Gates has five heavily acclaimed CDs, with his most recent release, “Songs of Gil Scott-Heron-The Revolution Will Be Jazz” on Savant, garnering rave reviews in the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, NYC Jazz Record, All About Jazz, Hartford Courant, JazzTimes, Jazziz and Downbeat Magazines along with great reviews on many jazz websites. This CD reached number one for six weeks on the National Jazz Week Chart and after 12 weeks on the charts is still in the top 12! He is in great demand in jazz clubs and festivals throughout the U.S. and internationally, and is also an active jazz educator at the University level, and through workshops. Learn more at www.giacomogates.com
Roman Street is a energetic band born and raised out of Mobile, AL dabbling in the arts of “new” flamenco, smooth and not-so-smooth jazz, and its own brand of fusion style music with a youthful and spontaneous approach to musical expression. The guitarists of Roman Street are internationally trained, seeking to incorporate their travels and experiences into their musical expression. The band as a whole seeks to create a unique sound by blending old styles and techniques with a modern twist, and conversely, giving modern music styles a historical elegance.The result is a style that appeals to the young and old alike; a juxtaposition of the new and the traditional that has something for every music lover. Through a varied repertoire and unique composition, they endeavor provide some enjoyment for everyone who hears them.
Noah M. Thompson, Classical Guitar Noah is a scientist turned musician in his mid-twenties. Always interested in the world’s many cultures…he has been loving world music long before studying it. A graduate of Lee University, Cleveland, TN., Noah now lives back on the Gulf Coast where he continues to develop the Roman Street band with his brother and co-founder, Joshua Thompson. Other interests include economics, espresso, Deutsch, and immersing himself in people.
Daniel Brett, Percussion Daniel Brett is a Daphne based percussionist with professional training from the Atlanta Institute of Music. A drummer at heart, Dan plays a variety of instruments, including the congas and other hand percussion that augment Roman Street’s unique sound. Over the past 10 years, Dan has toured the Southeast several times and recorded with a variety of bands. As the founder of local music school Modern Ensemble Music, Dan shares his passion and musical talent with his students every day.
Josh Thompson, Classical Guitar Josh Thompson is a founding member of Roman Street, forming the band with his brother Noah when he was 18. Now 22, he is a senior at Auburn University majoring in Exercise Science. His road with music began with him playing acoustic guitar in his local youth group, but this path took a dramatic turn upon his meeting of two guitar virtuosos (Tonic Strings) from Switzerland. They forever changed his perception of not only guitar playing, but what is means to be a musician. He has taken these lessons and applied them to Roman Street, where he creates and performs music that he considers to be an extension of himself. Though he plans to eventually attend medical school, his immediate plans are to continue to tour and craft music with his brother and three of his close friends.
More information can be found at www.romanstreet.com
Rick Trolsen begn playing trombone at the age of twelve. After studying with Phil Wilson at Berklee College of Music, he volunteered three years of duty with the U.S. Navy Band, stationed in New Orleans. Upon his “discharge” he quickly fell into good company, and was adopted as a regular call sideman in New Orleans. In 1991 he started the jazz/rock group “Neslort” as a vehicle for his original compositions.
A perennial favorite at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, “Neslort” has featured some of the finest musicians in town, and has recorded 2 CD’s. Versatile and at ease with contemporary and traditional jazz, blues, bossa nova, reggae, big bands, show music and club dates, Rick has performed and/or recorded with the following: the Woody Herman Band, Harry Connick Jr., the Temptations, Al Grey, Barry Manilow, Bob Hope, Steve Allen, Aretha Franklin, Boz Scaggs, the O’Jays, Natalie Cole, Keely Smith, Dr. John, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Henry Mancini, Rosemary Clooney, Earl King, Marva Swright, Allen Toussaint, Al Hirt, Doc Severinsen, Johnny Cash, and many otherss, as well as many gigs he’d rather not mention.
For more information, see www.ricktrolsen.com.
Throughout his distinguished career, Marvin Stamm has been praised for both the art and the craft of trumpet playing. Leonard Feather stated that “Mr. Stamm is an accomplished performer whose technical skill is used as a means to stimulating original ends.” While attending North Texas State University, a school noted for its innovative lab bands, Mr. Stamm was discovered by Stan Kenton. Upon graduating, he performed with the Kenton’s orchestra as his jazz trumpet soloist 1961-1962, recording five albums with the orchestra. In 1965-1966, he toured worldwide with Woody Herman. Marvin Stamm settled in New York City in late 1966, quickly establishing himself as a busy jazz and studio trumpeter. New York was bustling with jazz activity during that period, and Stamm performed at key venues with many of the significant players in the business. He gained considerable recognition for his playing with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra (1966-1972) and the Duke Pearson Big Band (1967-1970), as well as performing with Frank Sinatra (1973-1974) and the Benny Goodman Sextet (1974-1975), among others. Stamm was also a recognized first-call studio player (1966-1989). Some of the jazz artists with whom he recorded include Bill Evans, Quincy Jones, Oliver Nelson, Duke Pearson, Thad Jones, Wes Montgomery, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Patrick Williams, Michel Legrand, Lena Horne, Frank Foster, Paul Desmond, George Benson, and many other popular artists of the period as well. Currently, Mr. Stamm spends much of the year touring. His activities include performing as a soloist, touring with his jazz quartet, and playing in duo with pianist Bill Mays. Stamm and Mays recently formed and are touring with a new group, the Inventions Trio, which includes cellist Alisa Horn. Marvin Stamm also commits a good deal of his time and energies to helping young music students develop their own voices. His involvement in jazz education takes him to universities and high schools across the U.S. and abroad as a performer, clinician and mentor, perpetuating the traditions of excitement and innovation that jazz represents.
More information can be found at www.marvinstamm.com
Composer, arranger and saxophonist Steve Williams is the founder and leader of the Jazz Nation Big Band. He formed the group in 2010 as a vehicle for his original compositions and arrangements. Jazz Nation includes 17 of the most unique musicians in the metropolitan Washington, D. C. area. The band includes players such as the phenomenal Luis Hernandez on tenor sax, Mike Pope (bassist with David Sanborn and others) on bass, grammy winner Joe McCarthy on drums and well-known New York guitarist, Pete McCann. The group released its first album August 21, 2012 on OA2 Records. The album features the great Jazz clarinetist Eddie Daniels and is entitled “Steve Williams & Jazz Nation with Eddie Daniels.” During his thirty-five year career as a freelance musician, Steve has appeared on several albums including the Grammy winning “Caribbean Jazz Project/ Afro-Bop Alliance Big Band featuring Dave Samuels.” He has performed with The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, toured with several big bands and was a semi-finalist in the 1988 Hennessey Cognac Jazz Search. Steve has performed with Joe Williams, James Moody, Eddie Daniels, Marvin Stamm, Chris Potter, Bill Watrous, Dick Oatts, Lew Tabackin, Bob Mintzer, Linda Carter, The Temptations, Rita Moreno, Jim Neighbors, Linda Lavin, Hal Linden, The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Al Hirt, Boots Randolph, Wayne Newton, Maureen McGovern, The Dallas Jazz Orchestra as well as the Fort Worth, Richmond, and Baltimore Symphonies. Steve has played lead saxophone with the United States Navy Band Commodores in Washington, D. C. since 1997 and was the group’s music director from 2003 to 2009. He has composed/arranged over 50 compositions for the Commodores including arrangements for guest artists Branford Marsalis, Eddie Daniels, Jerry Bergonzi, Jim Snidero, Ralph Bowen and Antonio Hart. Steve has appeared on six albums with the Commodores and produced its recently released CD, “Directions.” A graduate of the University Of North Texas (formally North Texas State University), Steve played lead alto saxophone in the school’s famed One O’ Clock Lab Band. While attending North Texas he studied saxophone with Jim Riggs. He briefly attended Florida State University where he studied saxophone with Patrick Meighan and improvisation with Bill Kennedy. During these collegiate years, Steve led an ensemble that won the 1988 National Collegiate Jazz Competition. In High school he studied music with his father, Dr. Grier M. Williams and saxophone with Dr. Eugene Gonzales. Steve and his wife Marie reside in Springfield, Virginia a suburb of Washington D. C. Steve has three children and four grandchildren.
Guest Conductor, Eric Doney, a graduate of Pen Argyl High School, began classical studies in first grade and gave his first public performance by the age of seven. He started playing jazz in junior high school and began performing professionally at the many Pocono Mountain jazz clubs with local legends such as Al Cohn, Bill Goodwin, and Steve Gilmore. He earned a bachelor of music degree in Music Education from Susquehanna University with a piano/vocal major. Mr. Doney, who is mostly known as a pianist, is also a seasoned choral conductor and arranger. He recently appeared with his professional choir, featuring four- time Grammy Award winner, Phil Woods, with whom Eric has toured with extensively in Europe and Japan. Last year he sang at Carnegie Hall, under the baton of Cyril Stratansky, who was his choral director at Susquehanna. In 1978, Mr. Doney toured with scat vocalist, Jon Hendricks. Their 4 part vocal recordings of Ellington and Basie tunes earned a Grammy nomination for that year. After moving to New York, he joined the David Johansen band on a two-year tour, opening for such groups as The Who, Blondie, Duran Duran, the Clash, and R.E.O. Speedwagon. In 1983, he moved to Paris and toured with vocalist Kim Parker. Hired as a conductor for Connie Stevens, he relocated to Santa Monica, California, where he played with Les Brown’s Band of Renown for 5 years. During those years, he was the pianist for all of Bob Hope’s television shows, played for the LA Jazz Choir and performed at the opening ceremony of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. For three years, he was musical director for Englebert Humperdink and in 1993, returned to the Poconos and formed Pacific St. Records. To date, Mr. Doney has produced 20 recordings for his label, recording such local jazz greats as Phil Woods, Bob Dorough, John Coates, Jr. and Scott Jarrett. He just recorded a CD and played concerts in Tahiti for vocalist Chris Bennett, making that tropical island the 75th country he has performed in.
Formerly known as Playground Big Band, the musicians of DownBeat Jazz Orchestra are a diverse group, ranging from professional musicians and music educators to folks who just enjoy playing for the fun of it. They are based out of Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, and Destin area.
“In 2005 a bunch of us ‘has beens’ decided to put together a band for us, a band that would cater to our own selfish musical desires. None of that shlocky dance band crap, just the greatest Big Band charts we never got to play in high school. We play mostly for us and only the music that we like. Its nice to play for money, but its really about the fun for us. Louder, higher, faster!!!” (from their Facebook page)
The group features music from Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson,
Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, Sammy Nestico, among others.
Joe Occhipinti Big Band Plays the Music of Count Basie
If you are interested in applying to be considered for the 2014 JazzFest, send your information to:
Crystal Joy Albert, Director of Music – Pensacola JazzFest
6511 Calle De Lago
Navarre, FL 32566
If you prefer to send an EPK (Electronic Press Kit), send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: all applications should include: CD, resume, photographs and press release