The Jazz Society of Pensacola (JSOP) is an organization of business and professional people, musicians, teachers, students and listeners working together for the purpose of advancing jazz music in Pensacola and the surrounding area. Originating in 1983, JSOP is incorporated as a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization, affiliated with the Arts Council of Northwest Florida, a founding member of the American Federation of Jazz Societies, and a charter Network Affiliate Member of Jazz Education Network (JEN).
Crystal Joy Albert — President
Crystal began her singing career as a toddler and continued her formal musical studies winning awards and scholarships until she eventually left Boston University to devote time to her flourishing singing career. Soon she was appearing at New York’s top clubs, gaining national acclaim. She was discovered by Steve Allen and appeared on his television show. She also recorded an album for him titled “The Fabulous Crystal Joy Sings Steve Allen.” Of Crystal, Allen said, “She has pure and simple talent and a beautiful style of her own.”
She has traveled all over the US, the Caribbean and Europe in various roles promoting her recordings, acting and directing. After retiring from a career in interior design she moved to Navarre, Florida to return to her first love, singing. For the last ten years Crystal has been Musical Director for the Pensacola JazzFest.
Tara Leigh Miller – Vice President
Born in Pennsylvania, Tara grew up in northeastern New Jersey, just across from NYC. She spent a great deal of time in New York, where she enjoyed the culture, music, arts and of course, Broadway. She has an extensive background in the arts, including theater, music, dance, voice and modeling, as well as business and marketing.
She has also bee involved in teaching, directing and mentoring children interested in the arts, and has served on the boards of several organizations. Tara has been a member of JSOP since 1996. She loves the music and the people, and appreciates all that JSOP offers to the community.
Kathy Beall – Secretary
A jazz lover since she was 15 years old, Kathy was happy to learn that Pensacola had an active jazz society when she moved here from Richmond, VA, in 2001 with her husband Larry. They have both enjoyed being JSOP volunteers since joining in 2001. Kathy and Larry have a grown son and daughter and one granddaughter who live with their families in Richmond, Virginia.
Kathy’s career was in health care, first as a nurse, then Director of Hospice, then V.P. of the Bon Secours Health System Richmond, Va., and developed their Senior Services Continuum of Care. Since 2000 she has traveled extensively as a project consultant for SB&A and Brooks Adams Research based in Richmond, VA. to develop senior living communities in the U.S. Now retired, she enjoys serving on the Board and advancing the continued success of JSOP.
Dave Jensen – Treasurer
“I first remember listening to jazz when I would tune in WWL New Orleans. I listened to a lot of jazz when I was in the Army in Washington, DC in the late 1950s, and used to go to the London House in Chicago when I was there on business in the 1960s. I have always enjoyed jazz. My wife Sue and I enjoy the Jazz Society very much and attend Jazz Gumbos and Jam Sessions whenever we can.
We first learned about JSOP when we attended a Jazz Fest a few years ago, and were happy to learn about JSOP and all its activities. I also enjoyed the trip to the French Quarter Festival in 2009 when JSOP chartered a bus and I look forward to taking the trip next year.
“I was trained as a chemist, played Baritone Bugle in an Army Drum and Bugle Corps, worked as a computer network engineer for IBM and then for the State of Wisconsin, and am now retired. I play Baritone horn in the Pensacola Civic Band and sing in a choir, and enjoy many flavors of music”.
Tom Sylte grew up on a farm in Minnesota, receiving the first eight years of education at a one-room country school. His biggest academic achievement took place when he graduated from eighth grade at the top of his class (there were 2 students in the class). He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in economics. The U.S. Navy brought him to Pensacola the first time. Later Tom returned to Minneapolis working for Land O’ Lakes and Honeywell, and finally got back to Pensacola through working in accounting departments of American Cynamid and Air Products. He has since been active with real estate development and is now managing investments while taking time to fish and shoot skeet.
Peg was born in Columbus, Ohio 1936. She earned a B.A. in Biology from St. Mary of the Springs College (now called Ohio Dominican University). She worked at Battelle Columbus Laboratorie 1958 -1994 as a Research Scientist, performing research in the fields of Cancer Chemotherapy, Carcinogenisis, Tissue Culture, Cleanup of Nuclear Research Sites. An active attendee at Jazz Society events in Columbus, Ohio, Peg moved to Pensacola in 1998, where she discovered the Jazz Society of Pensacola and has really enjoyed the association. Peg is a great supporter of live jazz in venues throughout the area.
Born in Roswell, NM, Roger lived in several states before enrolling at the University of Central Oklahoma where he earned a bachelors degree in music education. He taught band at schools in Oklahoma for three years. In 1971, Roger joined the Air Force serving a tour of Vietnam and attaining the rank of Lt. Colonel. He retired from the Air Force after 25 years, going on to earn a Master of Music Degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas in 2003. He and his wife Kat moved to Pensacola shortly thereafter, and became involved in JSOP. Roger is a trumpeter and local band leader. He is also an Adjunct Music Professor at Pensacola Junior College (PJC), Director of PJC Jazz Ensemble. Roger serves on the Music committee for the Pensacola JazzFest, is the musical programmer for Jazz Gumbos and leads the monthly Jam sessions.
Born in St. Paul, MN, Paul was raised in a small tourist town of Mercer, WI, until age 18. He taught himself to play drums as a teenager, and worked part-time at Knapps Drum Studio while in high school. He later organized a seven-piece group called the “Skyliners” during college. After college, Paul left home for Chicago, where he played with many different groups from duet to ten pieces. About that time, he joined the army, became an army aviator, and served as aviator in Vietnam. He continued to play drums throughout his Army career, until the obligations of raising a family put the music on the back burner. Paul retired from the army as a standards instructor pilot and instrument examiner along with aircraft accident investigator in 2004. Between military and civilian flying, he accumulated over 21,000 flight hours. Paul attended graduate school in 1974, after attending a number of schools, including Georgia Southern University. He received a couple of degrees, neither of which led to a career. Paul retired to Pensacola with his wife Marliese in 2004. After moving over 60 times, having a multitude of careers, jobs, kids and belonging to many organizations, Paul reports that he is happy to make Pensacola his home. As he commented, “theres is so much talent and fun to be had here in the ‘Redneck Riviera’.”
Steve Ferry teaches applied percussion, percussion methods and jazz history at the University of West Florida as well as applied percussion at the Pensacola State College. He also directs the UWF percussion ensemble and is assistant director of the UWF jazz ensemble.
He is currently a performing member of the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, the Pensacola Opera, the Pensacola Children’s Chorus Orchestra and the Gulf Coast Chorale. He also performs along the Gulf coast, playing drum set, steel pan, vibraphone and hand percussion in a large variety of ensembles and settings.
Steve has played with a number of big bands including the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Big Band USA, the Roy Russel Big Band, Don Snowden All-Stars, Joe Occhipinti Big Band and East Side West Side, as well as the UWF, PSC, University of South Alabama and Xavier University jazz ensembles.
He has performed in jazz festivals in Pensacola, Mobile, Magnolia Springs and New Orleans and in music festivals in Brussels, Belgium, Amsterdam, and Ouro Preto, Brazil.
He holds two Bachelors of Arts degreese from the University of West Florida, one in Interdisciplinary Humanities and one in Music Performance. He studied jazz at the University of New Orleans with Ellis Marsalis while studying drums and percussion with Conner Shaw, and David Lee (who had played and recorded with Sonny Rollins among many others).
Volunteer Executive Director, Emeritus
Andrew R. Metzger
To contact any of the Board members, email email@example.com or call the office, 850-433-8382.