URBAN JAZZ COALITION
URBAN JAZZ COALITION

Jacksonville Beach 2015 Summer Jazz Series Announces Line-Up

Jacksonville BeachThe City of Jacksonville Beach, PRI Productions, 96.1 WEJZ, and WJXT Channel 4 The Local Station are proud to present the line-up for the 14th Annual Summer Jazz Series. This two-concert series is scheduled for Sunday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Seawalk Pavilion on June 14 and July 12, 2015. Come out and enjoy the combination of exciting music performed by national recording artists, the caress of cool sea breezes, and the rhythm of the ocean. Admission is free and open to the public. Bring your blankets or lawn chairs and enjoy refreshments available for purchase from local vendors.  Entertainment begins at 5:00 p.m.  This summer’s schedule is:

JUNE 14, 2015

7:30 p.m.          Headliner: Paul Taylor and Jackiem Joyner
6:15 p.m.           Second Act: Jeff Bradshaw
5:00 p.m.          Opening Act: Surge

JULY 12, 2015    

7:30 p.m.           Headliner: Eric Darius
6:15 p.m.            Second Act: Urban Jazz Coalition
5:00 p.m.           Opening Act: Band of Destiny

For more information visit our website at www.jacksonvillebeach.org.  Visit us on Facebook at Jax Beach Recreation and at PRI Productions.

Sponsors for the Summer Jazz Concert Series include The City of Jacksonville Beach, PRI Productions, WJXT Channel 4 The Location Station, 96.1 WEJZ, Holiday Inn Express, and Buzz Magazine.

JUNE 14, 2015

7:30 p.m.         Headliner: Paul Taylor and Jackiem Joyner
6:15 p.m.          Second Act: Jeff Bradshaw
5:00 p.m.         Opening Act: Surge

Paul Taylor, Summer Jazz SeriesPAUL TAYLOR    7:30 PM          

Known for his smooth and sensuous saxophone playing, PAUL TAYLOR  has been a major attraction at smooth jazz festivals since the mid-1990s. Born and raised in Denver, Taylor started playing sax when he was 7. He gained early experience playing in a high school garage band called Mixed Company, performing funk, Top 40 and soulful fusion. Taylor graduated as a music performance major from the University of North Las Vegas, had many gigs in the Las Vegas area, and occasionally performed in Los Angeles. In 1994 he worked with keyboardist-producer Dino Esposito at the Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival, where he was discovered by Keiko and Kazu Matsui. Taylor played with Keiko Matsui’s band for two years, recording as a sideman before Kazu Matsui produced Taylor’s debut CD, On the Horn, which reached the jazz charts and spawned a radio hit in “Till We Meet Again.”

His second album, Pleasure Seeker, followed in 1997 and was as equally successful.  Taylor released his third album, Undercover, on Peak/N-Coded Music in February 2000.

Subsequent albums Hypnotic (2001), Steppin’ Out (2003), Nightlife (2005), and Ladies’ Choice (2007), all issued by Peak Records, figured high in the contemporary jazz charts, with Ladies’ Choice going all the way to number one.  Taylor has also toured with Groovin’ For Grover, an all-star group with Jeff Lorber, Richard Elliot and Gerald Albright.  He has acted and played on the soap opera One Life to Live, worked on Norman Brown’s Summer Storm II tour and, in 2007, was one of the stars of Brian Culbertson’s All-Star Smooth Jazz Cruise.

Peak released Taylor’s eighth album, Burnin’, in 2009.  Two years later he returned with the album Prime Time.  In 2014, Taylor released Tenacity, which featured guest appearances from Jeff Lorber and Jonathan Fritzen.

Jackiem Joyner, Summer Jazz Series
Jackiem Joyner

JACKIEM JOYNER   7:30 PM

Born in 1980 in Norfolk, Virginia, JACKIEM JOYNER inherited some of his musical gifts from his professional bass player father, but developed most of his musical sensibilities from singing in the church choir and playing drums behind up-tempo gospel songs. After moving to Buffalo, New York, during middle school, the young musician was told he would “look good” playing the sax when he got to high school.  Joyner immediately took to his new instrument. Eager to play for as many people as possible, Joyner competed in the NAACP’s youth achievement program ACT-SO (geared towards African Americans demonstrating academic, artistic and scientific prowess and expertise) and won the local competition three times in three different categories:  instrumental contemporary, composition, and classical music.

After high school, he moved back to Virginia with his brother, Dinea Smith, where Bishop Michael Patterson of the World Harvest Outreach Ministries in Newport News made him head of the music department. Joyner not only sharpened his keyboard and production skills in this capacity, he also had a chance to play for audiences in Nigeria, Sudan, and Kenya on a mission trip in 2002. “It was fascinating seeing how happy people could be with so few material possessions,” he says. Attending a music symposium in Norfolk, he hooked up with music executive Orlando Mullins, who gave his demo CD to Marcus Johnson, who was starting up the label that became Three Keys Music.

Impressed with what he heard, Johnson immediately hired Joyner as his sax man. While playing with the keyboardist from 2001-2004, Joyner also had the opportunity to play the National Anthem at a Bulls-Wizards game at Washington D.C.’s MCI Center, perform with Jaared and Bobby Lyle, and perform at the Bermuda Jazz Festival. Angela Bofill was also on the bill in Bermuda, and she later suggested that Joyner participate in the 30 city tour with herself, Ronnie Laws and Jean Carne in 2003.

Johnson and Bobby Lyle, two contemporary jazz keyboard greats, came up with the perfect nickname for the rising saxman and his ultra-sensual, easy flowing vibe. “Ladies and Gentlemen,” they’d shout out, “give it up for Lil’ Man Soul!”—something urban jazz fans have been doing since Joyner broke through to genre stardom with his sophmore album Babysoul in 2007. Babysoul entered the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart at #15 and its hit single “Stay With MeTonight,” featuring guitarist Peter White stayed on Radio & Records’ (R&R) Smooth Jazz chart for 25 weeks, peaking at #13. With his own band, the saxophonist headlined at the Lexus Hyatt Regency Jazz Festival in Newport Beach, Jazz on the Green in Ft. Myers, Florida and the Atlanta Smooth Jazz Festival, and performed all three weekends at the Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival. He also played at the Denver Jazz and Blues Festival, which coincided with the Democratic National Convention.

In 2009, Joyner moved from ARTizen to Mack Avenue Records and released several more albums, including Lil’ Man Soul, 2010’s Jackiem Joyner, and 2012’s Church Boy, which featured contributions from Kirk Whalum and Jonathan Butler. In 2014 Joyner released his fifth studio album, and third for Mack Avenue, Evolve. An adventurous mix of smooth jazz and gospel, Evolve marked the first time Joyner wrote, arranged, and produced every track. Evolve also featured appearances from Gerald Albright and Keiko Matsui.

JEFF BRADSHAW, Summer Jazz Series

JEFF BRADSHAW      6:15 PM

JEFF BRADSHAW’s story began at a dusty floored church in North Philly where brass bands are the main attraction. He was born and raised in church and that is where he had his first musical experience. The first instrument he began playing was the snare drum. Following that, Bradshaw began playing the baritone horn and sousaphone. He recalls one very powerful day in high school when everyone was asked to stand in front of the instrument they would like to play. Of course, there was a crowd surrounding the drums, guitars, saxophones, trumpets, percussion, and woodwinds, but not one person was standing near the stack of trombones in the corner. Bradshaw believes that was the day the trombone was to begin its trek to becoming the coolest instrument in mainstream music, not just jazz. Bradshaw was determined to make the trombone hip, and not just an instrument for nerds in the high school band.

As he transitioned into adulthood, Bradshaw began altering the plans for his future, realizing he wouldn’t be afforded the opportunity for college. The finances weren’t there for him to continue his education, so he bounced from job to job trying to buy time, until his “right time, right place” moment came. Unfortunately that moment wouldn’t come for another seven years.

In 1994 Bradshaw began to meet the who’s-who of what is now the hierarchy of the Philly music community. People like James Poyser, Andre Harris, Vidal Davis, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Ahmir ”Quesluv” Thompson, Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter of the Legendary Roots Crew, DJ King Britt, Keith Pelzer, Darren Henson, Ivan Barrius, Carvin Higgins, and many others. It was because of these people that Bradshaw arrived into the real world of major  recording, with artists including Eryka Badu, Jill Scott, Floetry, Darius Rucker, Musiq, The Roots, Earth Wind & Fire, and Michael Jackson.

It wasn’t until one night at a popular live music spot in downtown Philly called Wilamina’s, that he got his chance to step to the front of a very popular band in which he was “side man”. The leader of the band was Bradshaw’s dear friend, trumpet master, Jafar Barron. This particular evening Mr. Barron was having personal difficulties and the band would not have had a leader for the rest of the night so Bradshaw stepped up to the front with a trombone and began to lead this hip hop soul band as if he had been waiting for that opportunity all his life.

A few years after that experience, the beautiful Jill Scott had begun to record her first album.  Bradshaw was invited to become a part of it. He enjoyed every bit of recording on that record and soon they were on the road showing the world who Jill Scott was. It wasn’t until the launch party of Hidden Beach Recordings where Mr. Bradshaw met the man who would forever change his life, Steve McKeever (the CEO of Hidden Beach Recordings). He was a bright smiling music lover of epic proportion, but it wouldn’t be until 2002 when  Bradshaw took advantage of a break taken by Ms. Scott.

Bradshaw had begun to record some original material with a producer that he’d met at Wilamina’s, named Will Brock (Can You Come Over, Little One). This marked the beginning of a nine-song demo CD that landed Bradshaw his record deal with Hidden Beach Recordings. Bradshaw explained to Mr. McKeever that they could change what people thought should be a lead instrument in mainstream music.

He explains his unique fascination and love with the trombone, stating, “It’s an incredibly funky instrument, and there is a deep and important history behind it. Whether with marching bands, or in the realm of Funk, R&B and Jazz, the trombone is a staple in music. Just listen to those James Brown records, which feature Fred Wesley, who is one of my idols and mentors, and one of the greatest to ever play the instrument. God blessed me with something different, something special, which is why I’ve been able to walk through to the forefront with this instrument, whether as a solo artist or on tour with other acts. Every day I get to play my horn and share my gift with the world is always a blessed day. Putting that together with all I do, it’s time for the trombone to be out front and sexy.”

The Trombone may be the instrument that Jeff has most embraced, but like a modern day Louis Armstrong he plays an array of instruments including piano, drums, trumpet, sousaphone, baritone, and tuba.

Another influence when it came to the trombone was Jeff’s dad, Norman Bradshaw. He too was an accomplished trombonist, singer and musician. Norman Bradshaw passed away in October 2011.  For Jeff it was like losing his best friend. “He was an amazing guy. He was my biggest fan,” he says. “I wanted to be just like him. He was the best of everything.”

Whether interacting with family, reaching personal best benchmarks, or creating and performing great music, Jeff continuously attests that there is a higher power at work in all things. “I know that tomorrow is not promised, and that God is in control of everything,” he says. “Everything that we have can be gone tomorrow. I know that I will eventually die, no one lives forever, so I’m trying to leave a legacy and I’m enjoying the route along the way. The positive way in which we speak about the people who have gone on before us, is how I would like for people to speak about me. I know who I am. I know that I love my children. I know that I have great parents. I know that God is first in my life. And I know up to this point, I’ve truly been blessed.”

SURGE     5:00 PM

Generating their own unique sound with a fat grooving mix of sax, guitar, keyboards, bass, percussion, and drums, SURGE has been performing and recording smooth jazz since 1992.  These passionate musicians have each enjoyed success in either producing, touring, and performing alongside jazz greats including the Rippingtons, Eric Marienthal, Rick Braun, and the Neville Brothers.  Surge brings a powerful and unified deliverance to the state with all the trimmings.

Surge originally started with three members working as recording artists in studios up and down the east coast in 1990. The release of their first CD “Too Hot To Sleep” launched them into a musical career of performing at nationally known jazz festivals and clubs. Band members include founding members Dennis Cooper (keyboards) and Gregory Timmons (bass guitar).

JULY 12, 2015

7:30 p.m.           Headliner: Eric Darius
6:15 p.m.            Second Act: Urban Jazz Coalition
5:00 p.m.           Opening Act: Band of Destiny 

ERIC DARIUS Summer Jazz Series

ERIC DARIUS      7:30 PM

Saxophonist, composer, producer, and vocalist ERIC DARIUS likes to play by his own rules. He is a visionary who has learned to listen to his own inner voice. Steeped in tradition and grounded in the lessons learned from his mentors, Darius is not afraid to push himself and his art forward. The Renaissance man reaffirms this credo on his sixth album as a leader and second recording for Shanachie Entertainment. “Retro Forward represents my musical statement as an artist who’s not confined by any boundaries, genres, or rules. As a younger person with roots in the contemporary jazz genre, I feel it’s my responsibility to pay homage to the greats that founded this music, but also push it forward to a new, exciting direction that will keep the music alive and relevant for the younger generation,” confesses the astute business scholar.

Eric Darius’ infinite vision has allowed the musical chameleon to collaborate with such diverse superstars as Prince, Jamie Foxx, David Foster, George Benson, Mary J. Blige, and Wynton Marsalis. He has appeared on the popular Simon Cowell TV series, The X Factor and TNT’s hit TV drama series, Mob City. For Retro Forward, the Billboard chart-topping saxophonist aligns himself with a new crew of producers and writers and the result is a new found energy and sound. “My goal was to work with producers, writers and musicians who would interpret my music from a completely different and fresh perspective, in order to reinvent myself and redefine my music. I took everything that I had done in the past and pressed the reset button. I had to put myself in a new environment and get out of my comfort zone,” shares the Tampa, FL raised and Los Angeles-based musician.”Retro Forward joins Darius with Grammy-winning songwriter and producer Antonio Dixon who is one half of the hit-making FaceTone Productions team with Babyface. Dixon’s credits also include work with Beyoncé, Celine Dion, Janet Jackson, Toni Braxton and Christina Aguilera, to name a few. Darius also called upon super-producer Blu2th who has created hits for everyone from Chris Brown to Tyrese, Jordin Sparks and Boyz II Men. “Their musical vision and experience working with so many other incredible artists really helped to craft the new sound on this project, breathe new life into my music, and push my playing to another level,” states Darius.

Retro Forward shines light on Darius’ rich melting pot of influences that range from jazz, R&B, pop and hip-hop to gospel, reggae and rock. “With this album, I really wanted to take my listeners on a musical journey, capturing sounds from one era to the next,” shares the ambitious and adventurous sax man. “I want this album to be the soundtrack to their lives from past, present, to future spreading love and joy in the process.”

Retro Forward also features the Pop dance tune “Broke Down” with a retro 90’s twist. “In order to stay relevant, I always love going to clubs to see what DJ’s are spinning and what people are dancing to,” confides Darius. “As an instrumentalist, I strive to make music that can even be played in a dance club.

Choosing a cover song for me has always been kind of difficult because there are so many great songs to choose from,” shares Eric Darius, who features two covers on Retro Forward. He transforms Barry White’s 1974 #1 hit “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love” into a sultry duet and ballad with singer /songwriter Terry Dexter. Eric works overtime on this one, as he augments his sax playing by showing off his vocal stylings. This is the first time he has recorded his vocals since his debut album Night On The Town in 2004. The inclusion of his version of Pharrell’s smash hit “Happy,” a top 25 Billboard hit for Darius at radio, was an easy one as the song has been a part of Eric’s repertoire during his live shows over the past year. “With so much negativity going on in the world today, I felt like Pharrell’s song was that perfect song that spreads happiness and positivity, which is truly the essence of my music,” states Eric. “The crowd’s response every time we performed that song live really indicated to me that it was a song I needed to record and put on my album!”

“Artists such as Prince, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Miles Davis have always inspired me because of their fearlessness to express themselves freely from a musical standpoint and allow their music to evolve with each album,” states Darius. Hailing from a musical family with rich traditions in Caribbean music (his father is from Haiti and his mother is from Jamaica), Eric realized his calling for music at an early age. “I remember being nine years old and hearing a saxophonist play at my church. I instantly loved the sound…I remember being blown away by the soul and emotion of the instrument. It was as if I could almost hear the words and lyrics with each note being played…it was at that point that I fell in love with the instrument. The saxophone has a way of connecting with people in a way that no other instrument does. To me, its expressions are closest to the human voice.”

Darius is one of those musicians who was fortunate to benefit from music programs in the school system. As a result the young musician has made it a mission to pay it forward and has spent a considerable amount of time exposing young students to music in the public school system with his On A Mission in the Schools campaign. He shares, “It is important to me that these types of music programs remain available for children. One of my goals is to expose young kids to music with substance and to help make them aware that music can be an outlet for their emotions…that it can be a positive influence in their lives. By age eleven—after only playing for one year—Darius was chosen to be in Sonny LaRosa and America’s Youngest Jazz Band, which consisted of young musicians, ages five to twelve. The group toured the country and played at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

Throughout Darius’ young but already dynamic career, he’s had the tremendous opportunity to travel and perform worldwide with numerous groups. Even as a high school student at Blake High School of the Performing Arts and college student at the University of South Florida in Tampa, he had the fortune to travel internationally at such a young age. The much in demand saxman’s worldwide gigs include Japan, Indonesia, London, Spain, Germany, France and Italy.

“My goal is to really help bridge the generational gap and make music that has infinite possibilities,” concludes Darius. With the release of Retro Forward, Darius is building bridges, forging new paths and ensuring that his heartfelt, organic and honest approach to the music will stand the test of time.

URBAN JAZZ COALITION Summer Jazz Series
URBAN JAZZ COALITION

URBAN JAZZ COALITION      6:15 PM

Urban Jazz Coalition has been one of the hottest live performance ensembles on the contemporary jazz scene for some time now, and they have created a major buzz on the national smooth jazz festival circuit over the past several years.

UJC has electrified audiences across North America while performing their energetic blend of Soulful Jazz/ R&B at many of the nation’s most prominent festivals and concert venues including The Seabreeze Jazz Festival, Jazz Fest West, The Capital Jazz Fest & Capital Jazz Supercruise, The Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival, and numerous other festivals and concert venues.

JazzTimes Magazine’s award winning columnist, Brian Soergel, described the UJC sound as “flush with rhythmic grooves, funky bass lines, and beautiful melodies.”

Urban Jazz Coalition has made a strong impression with traditional, satellite, and internet radio stations over the past few years and their last three CD projects, including “One Step Closer”, “Gravitate”, and “A New Day”, have all achieved “Top 30” status on multiple international airplay charts.  “One Step Closer” has also recently been named as one of the “Top 100 Records of 2014” on the year-ending Groove Jazz Music chart.

UJC’s music has also been featured in network television programming, international film soundtracks, McDonald’s regional advertising campaigns, and as part of an eclectic group of artists on a Gospel/Jazz compilation project released by Capitol/EMI Records.

In addition to the notoriety UJC has earned as a self-contained group, they have also become one of the most in-demand back up groups in the smooth jazz genre, having performed as backing sidemen for a number of top contemporary jazz artists including Peter White, Nick Colionne, Jeff Lorber, Paul Taylor, Chuck Loeb, Marion Meadows, Brian Simpson, Jackiem Joyner, Cindy Bradley, Tom Braxton, Ken Navarro, Jessy “J”, Althea Rene’, Oli Silk, Nils, Joey Sommerville, Marcus Anderson, Gail Jhonson, U-Nam, Karen Briggs, Lin Rountree, Paula Atherton, and Matt Marshak.

When asked why this group has generated so much excitement in smooth jazz circles, Radio & Records chart columnist Carol Archer was quoted as follows, “A lot of artists aspire to sound as tight and as funky as The Urban Jazz Coalition, but these gentlemen really do pull it off!” 

With the success of the band’s previous CD projects, and the positive buzz generated by their legacy of energetic live performances, UJC definitely has the momentum rolling as they prepare for another busy summer touring season. Visit their website at www.urbanjazzcoalition.net.

BAND OF DESTINY     5:00 PM

Band of Destiny, a group of well-seasoned musicians based out of Jacksonville, FL, is on a quest to help uncover and bring live music back to life.  They have been captivating audiences since 1999 with the basic ingredients of a rhythm section, the melodic sounds of the saxophone, and vocals that produce melodies best described as soulful.  Their tunes will have your spirit saying aaaahhhh.

Band of Destiny have performed, recorded, and toured with many of today’s top artists, including Boney James, Gerald Albright, Alex Bugnon, Glenn Jones, Bilal, CeCe Winans, Kim Burrell, Allen and Allen, and Georgia Mass Choir. Some band members participated in the B.B. King All Star band at the B.B. King Blues Club in West Palm Beach, FL.

Band of Destiny won Best New Jazz Group of the year at The Urban Gospel Industry Awards in Los Angeles, California in 2005. Sit back and relax with the musical journey you will experience with Band of Destiny.

About FOLIO

april, 2022

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