Pensacola’s jazz scene is definitely heating up as we move into March.

I hope to see you at Jazz Jam 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 6, at Horizen Restaurant in Pensacola. Come enjoy the fun evening of spontaneous collaboration.

And don’t miss the Student Jazz Competition. Finals are 7 p.m. Friday, March 17, at the Ashmore Fine Arts Auditorium on Pensacola State College’s main campus, 1000 College Blvd. Now, in its seventh year, it is once again shaping up to be a super evening of jazz by our excellent student musicians. Preliminary judging is underway, and you can check out the finalists next week on jazzpensacola.com.

I am also leading an excellent sextet for the 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 20, Jazz Gumbo featuring music of Miles Davis, specifically his famous Kind of Blue album made in 1959. This album highly influenced my younger jazz years. I heard it for the first time at Altus High School, Oklahoma, in 1962, played on a small record player by my trumpet teacher, a jazz trumpeter named Lawrence White. I loved it! It was a jazz discovery moment that sparked my jazz aspirations from then to today. Over the years, others have apparently liked it too, since it is one of the all-time great jazz recordings. If you have not heard Kind of Blue, please treat yourself – then, you can listen to our rendition at the Jazz Gumbo with educated ears.

And here comes the 34th annual Pensacola JazzFest, April 1-2, at historic downtown Pensacola’s Seville Square. We are extremely excited about the Gulf Coast All-Star Collegiate Jazz Band playing with world-famous trumpeter Wayne Bergeron. The band consists of top players from PSC, University of West Florida, Northwest Florida State College and Faulkner State College in Alabama. The band’s last rehearsal (7 p.m. Friday, March 31, at PSC) is also a learning clinic open to the public. We expect to see many music students from area high schools and colleges. The All-Star Band also plays 2 p.m. Saturday, April 1, on the Gazebo Stage. Please check out jazzpensacola.com for the complete Pensacola JazzFest lineup. It’s going to be a great show.

Roger

Roger Villines

Jazz Pensacola President