Jax Beach Jazz

photos by Maya Adkins
photos by Maya Adkins
photos by Maya Adkins

by Liza Mitchell
Cool ocean breezes meet the sounds of hot summer jazz in a three-concert series beginning June 13th at the Sea Walk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach. The 9th annual Summer Jazz Series features a blistering lineup of local and national artists.
The series kicks off at 5 pm with a performance by the Jacksonville Mass Choir and Trio followed by the Urban Jazz Coalition. Peter White will headline the first concert of the series. As a multi-instrumentalist, White has developed his own unique smooth jazz style driven by piano, accordion and Hendrix-inspired guitar. He has an impressive catalog of 19 studio releases and is a favorite at the Florida Theatre with his Peter White Christmas tour.
White is among the elite in the jazz community that have graced the Sea Walk Pavilion stage. Special events coordinator Marilyn Matejcek says she was amazed at the level of interest, from both the public and artists alike, when the summer jazz series first began heating up eight years ago.
“I was surprised at the interest, that it seemed to fill a need,” she said in a telephone interview. “A lot of us don’t have a much time to spare. Time-wise, many people just can’t afford to go do a whole weekend. But it’s easier to set aside four or five hours once a month to go to something like that.”
What started as a little Sunday afternoon concert has blossomed over the years into a nationally recognized event. Matejcek says she has received calls from festival goers from Atlanta to the opposite coast. “I heard from a fan in Seattle who heard about our event on a jazz station in Seattle,” Matejcek says. “The jazz community as a whole from magazines to satellite radio promotes events all over the country. There is a very large following. Ours generated interest because we feature national acts and it’s free.”
Matejcek says she relies on information from those she knows in the business for direction when seeking out new acts. But many times, past performers come calling for the chance to perform again at the seaside stage.
“We have a very good reputation with the artists,” she says. “They love being right by the ocean. We know we are limited by price but we love them and treat them well.”
It’s not just the artists that love the location. Matejcek says the Summer Jazz Series also offers the perfect setting for the locals to come and enjoy one of the most prized assets of their community. And the live jazz isn’t bad either.
“We keep our music the kind you can’t sit still to. It’s like comfort food but it keeps the weight off as long as you keep moving… We’ve got something befitting a niche. You can make a long weekend out of it or just come out and just sit by the ocean for a few hours. It’s unique. People love it.”
The series is a free event sponsored by Pizza Hut and the city of Jacksonville Beach. Visit www.jaxbeachjazz.com or call the city’s special events hotline at 247-6100 ext. 3 for information.
Jacksonville Beach 2010 Summer Jazz Lineup

5 pm Jacksonville Mass Choir & Trio
6 pm Urban Jazz Coalition
7:30 pm Peter White
5 pm Will Donato
6 pm Tizer featuring Lao Tizer & Karen Briggs
7:30 pm Nick Colionne
5 pm Jacksonville Mass Choir & Trio
6 pm Matt Marshak
7:30 pm R n R featuring Rick Braun & Richard Elliott