Donate to Jazz Pensacola online

015Jazz Pensacola conducts two main projects that depend heavily on special donations from the membership. We invite you to help support Pensacola JazzFest as a JazzFest VIP Donor and our Jazz Education Program and Student Jazz Competition as a Jazz Education Team Supporter, also known as JETS.

Donations now can be made directly on this website by visiting our Join/Support Page.

VIP Donors

VIP BadgeIf you haven’t been a VIP donor in the past but have attended JazzFests, you may have noticed the nice tent strategically placed to see both stages, with people sitting in the shade sipping soft drinks and enjoying snacks. This special tent is for our VIP donors and corporate sponsors. You can become a VIP donor for only $100 (or more if you wish), and invite a guest to join you in the VIP tent. Your name will also be listed in the program as a VIP, acknowledging your special contribution toward making Pensacola JazzFest a reality.

Remember, Pensacola JazzFest may be free to the public, but it is not free to Jazz Pensacola. As an organization, we have bills to pay. We need to maximize fundraising of corporate and personal donations to ensure the future of Pensacola JazzFest. Your contribution helps substantially in keeping our $40,000-plus JazzFest alive and well.

Please consider joining the other VIP donors by giving a special contribution and enjoying the best seat in the house.

JETS Donors

JETS BadgeWe also invite you to join JETS for the current school year by making a tax-deductible donation of $100 or more to help make our jazz education programs possible.

When we launched our jazz education initiatives in 2010, it was a brand-new effort by the Jazz Society of Pensacola to reach out to younger musicians as they begin their lifetime adventure with music. The first year’s program included our first Student Jazz Competition and 12 in-school workshops, presented by top musician educators who worked one-on-one with area middle and high school jazz bands. Feedback from the band directors and the young musicians was uniformly positive and exciting.

Since that first year, we have presented more workshops and continued through our sixth annual Student Jazz Competition. Over $16,000 in monetary support awards earned by the winners went toward jazz camps, school tuition, purchase and repair of musical instruments, and lessons, helping these young musicians continue their development. Encouraging these students is vital to the future of America’s music—Jazz. We feel helping students discover jazz and their place in the jazz community will serve them throughout their lifetime.

Now, as we enter our seventh year of these initiatives, our main goal is to continue with the 2017 Student Jazz Competition. This will require approximately $5,000 in funding. As a member of JETS, you will help make the next Student Jazz Competition possible. You will be recognized with our special thanks on and in the program for the Sixth Annual Student Jazz Competition planned for Friday, March 17, at the Ashmore Fine Arts Auditorium on the campus of Pensacola State College. We hope you will give that extra support to our jazz education programs, highlighted by the annual Student Jazz Competition, and the young jazz musicians we seek to encourage, develop and inspire.

Make your special VIP, JETS and/or general fund donation online by clicking here. If you’d like to pay with a check at our offices, make the check payable to Jazz Pensacola. You also can pay via credit card by phoning the office at (850) 433-8382 during office hours, 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. Donations to Jazz Pensacola are considered tax-deductible contributions, and any amount you choose to give will be greatly appreciated.

The F. Norman Vickers Artist in Residence Fund

On the thirtieth anniversary year of the JSOP, the Board announced the establishment of The F. Norman Vickers Artist In Residence Fund in honor of our founder. This is the first permanent fund created by the Society, and it offers an exciting new avenue for your support.

The F. Norman Vickers Artist In Residence Fund is designated to further the long term mission of the JSOP. It would support bringing noted jazz musicians and educators to Pensacola to provide instruction, performance and assistance to our membership and community constituents. The jazz artists selected would be made available for workshops and instruction to area schools and institutions of higher learning. The artist in residence would also provide special concerts that would augment the existing scheduled performances of the JSOP.

Contributions to, and earnings from the F. Norman Vickers Artist In Residence Fund, will be kept and reported on separately from other JSOP finances and activities. Rules for fund administration and financial reports will be made available to members and donors upon request. As a designated fund, the F. Norman Vickers Artist in Residence Fund meets the requirements of the 501(c) (3) not for profit requirements, and expenditures from the Fund are restricted to its stated purposes.

Please consider contributing to the goals of this important and exciting venture, personally, or in honor of a birthday, anniversary, or in memory of a loved one. You may also find it an appropriate estate planning option. Make contributions payable to The F. Norman Vickers Artist in Residence Fund and mail your check to Jazz Pensacola, 3 West Garden St., Suite 418 • Pensacola, FL 32502-5633.

Jazz Pensacola membership dues to increase

004PENSACOLA, Fla. — The Jazz Pensacola Board of Directors announces a slight increase in membership dues, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

The new membership dues: $60, per couple; $40, per individual.

You can renew by sending a check to Jazz Pensacola, 3 West Garden St., Suite 418, Pensacola, FL 32502-5633, or renew here on the site to pay your membership dues by credit card.

Jazz Pensacola is a non-profit organization of business and professional people, musicians, teachers, students and listeners working together for the purpose of advancing jazz music and education in Pensacola and the surrounding area.

For information, call (850) 433-8382 8 a.m. to noon MondayFriday, or explore our site.

CD Review: 'Summer Breeze' by Greg Murphy

Greg Murphy, piano
Whaling City Sound, New Bedford, MA

murphyGreg Murphy is a seasoned pianist and composer who has assembled a great team for this, his fourth CD as leader. It’s a mix of jazz compositions by outstanding artists as well as Murphy’s own well-honed compositions. Trio work includes bassist Eric Wheeler and drummer Kush Abadey.    

Wheeler has recorded with vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater and jazz musicians, among whom are, Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller and Russell Malone. Drummer Abadey is in his early 20s but his resume is outstanding. He has recorded with Wallace Roney, attended Berklee School of Music and had recorded with Terrance Blanchard, Barry Harris and others.

Trumpeter Josh Evans joins the ensemble on most tunes and does an outstanding job. Corey Wilson joins on a Murphy composition, A Reason To Smile. Vocalist Malou Beauvoir is featured on A Reason to Smile, Ellington’s Sophisticated Lady and the Seals and Crofts composition, Summer Breeze.  

Besides those listed tunes, composition other than Murphy’s are Miles Davis’ Solar, Wayne Shorter’s Fall, Sonny Rollins’ Solid and Leo’s Lullaby by Scott Robert Avedon. The other six tunes, completing the dozen on the album, are Greg Murphy compositions.

To this reviewer, the smooth and tuneful execution and rhythmic piano suggest influence of George Shearing and Dave Brubeck.  Well done, Greg Murphy. We look for your next output.

Book/CD Review: '12 Preludes for Solo Guitar'

12 Preludes for Solo Guitar
By Ken Hatfield
Music Book and CD
Arthur Circle Music

hatfieldWhile Ken Hatfield’s 12 preludes aren’t exactly in the jazz category, they are lovely pieces in themselves as well as a didactic exercise for guitar student at intermediate or advanced level.

Personal disclosure, Hatfield has been a performer at Pensacola’s Songwriters Festival in previous years. We had opportunity to meet and hear him when he gave a guest appearance at one of Jazz Pensacola events. Yes, he is a personable artist and skilled performer.

Interestingly, the 12 preludes are arranged to progress around the circle of fifths. If the reader is not familiar, don’t worry, it’s clearly explained. And, it takes 12 steps (different key signatures) to complete that circle. The intermediate or advanced student should have, at maximum, only moderate difficulty. These etudes are not recommended for the rank beginner. But, even for the non-guitarist, listening to Hatfield perform these is most pleasant and should inspire us all to become more musical. The book and CD normally are sold together, but the CD may be purchased separately, exclusively at

Hatfield’s background is eclectic. He’s written jazz pieces, choral and ballet scores and has written scores for TV and film. In 2006 the ASCAP Foundation honored him with the Vanguard Award in recognition of his “innovative and distinctive music that is charting new directions in jazz.” At age 19, after completing studies at Berklee School of Music in Boston, he joined the faculty.

Hatfield’s book and CD will be part of the collection in our Jazz Room at the West Florida Public Library downtown for check-out by interested patrons.

Book Review: 'Anatomy of a Song'

Anatomy of A Song:
The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed, Rock, R&B and Pop
By Marc Myers
Grove Press, New York © 2016, pp.223

anatomyofasongFor those who aren’t previously acquainted with this writer, Marc Myers is a trained historian who writes about jazz for the Wall Street Journal and also posts daily to his blog He has been honored twice by the Jazz Journalists Association with its Blog of the Year Award.

Whereas this book doesn’t review jazz tunes, Myers has selected forty-five songs — popular, R&B and rock — to relate the reader to the performers and to examine the song’s effects on the individual listener and also popular culture. He indicates that some have been selected from his previous WSJ columns and that many have been expanded to include additional information and anecdotes.

To give a few examples, In the chapter called Suspicious Minds, Myers interviews songwriter Mark James and producer Chips Mohan. They give the background of how the song was written and circumstances of how it was produced in the recording studio with Elvis Presley on vocals. In addition, there are a couple of photos of Elvis.

For the Proud Mary chapter, Creedence Clearwater Revival singer-songwriter-lead guitarist John Fogarty is interviewed. He related the circumstances of how the song was written — he’s just gotten his honorable discharge from the service, 1967, and was therefore not likely to have to serve in the Vietnam war. He was fascinated by riverboats, though he’d never previously seen one. And he used Beethoven’s introductory chord changes for Fifth Symphony.

Other artists and songs covered include The Dixie Cups, The Temptations, Janis Joplin, The Rolling Stones, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard and Pink Floyd.

This is a book with self-contained chapters — 45 in all — so one can read at random or straight through as desired. It’s also an ideal gift for a musical friend. And, with the availability of YouTube and similar features, one may review the song while reading its background. This book will go in the jazz collection at the downtown West Florida Public Library and be available for check-out by library patrons.

Myers’ previous book is entitled Why Jazz Happened. He takes a unique point of view and tells how technology had influenced the music — first came recorded sound, then radio followed by television. Seventy-eight rpm recordings then to 45 rpm and LPs transitioned to CDs and now streaming sound and video. Also, sound amplification contributed to rock & roll. This was all told with a historian’s interesting view-point.

Ken Peplowski jazz CD is charming

Capri Records, Ltd.

Ken Peplowski assembled his teammates for this charming CD and chose a variety of tunes, some of which are outside the usual jazz repertoire. His musical associates were pianist Ehud Asherie, bassist Martin Wind and drummer/percussionist Matt Wilson. Of course, likely all who read this column already know that Ken is clarinetist/saxophonist of great talent and renown.

enraptureIn order for the reader to appreciate the diversity of music on this CD, the titles and composer/lyricist are listed.

The Flaming Sword (Duke Ellington)
An Affair to Remember (Harry Warren/Leon McCarey/ Harold Adamson)
Oh, My Love (John Lennon/Yoko Ono)
Cheer Up, Charlie (Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley)
I’ll Follow My Secret Heart (Noel Coward)
Enrapture (Herbie Nichols)
Twelve (Peter Erskine)
Vertigo Scene D’Amour (Bernard Hermann)/Madeline (Love Music from “Vertigo”)
When October Goes (Barry Manilow/Johnny Mercer)
Willow Tree (Thomas “Fats” Waller/ Andy Razaf)

Peplowski explained, “A year or so of sifting through material, a year or so of playing with these great musicians and very little time in the studio; we really wanted to approximate what we do in the clubs. This is us, in as close to a live setting as one could ask for in a recording environment —every song is pretty much one take — we just like to capture the spontaneity and interplay of four people who enjoy making music together.”

For the musical cognoscenti, Peter Erskine’s “Twelve” is explained by Peplowski: “… a twelve-tone row based on the standard ‘Easy to Love.” This is an example of us doing a kind of collective improvisation, something this quartet has become quite adept at — this was not even rehearsed, just talked through by me — one take and that’s that!”

I was intrigued about the background of “When October Goes” credited to Barry Manilow and Johnny Mercer. With some research I learned that toward the end of Mercer’s life, he and Manilow became close. After Johnny’s death, his widow Ginger offered some of Johnny’s unpublished lyrics to Manilow, who composed the tune to fit Mercer’s lyrics.

One other item that intrigued me: The photo on the cover shows an unusual bridge taken at the level of a pedestrian with skyscrapers in the distance. I puzzled over the significance of the cover photo and the title of the CD. I inquired of Tom Burns of Capri Records and learned that the significance was only tangential. It’s a photo of the Brooklyn Bridge taken by Des McMahon, a friend of Pep’s.

Jazz writer Will Friedwald has described the musician as such: “Peplowski sounds the way (Benny) Goodman might if he had kept evolving, kept on listening to new music, kept refining his sound, polishing his craft, and expanding his musical purview into the 21st century.”