Jazz at the Ritz

The second wave of Jazz Discovery Series artists is rolling in this fall at the Ritz Theatre & Museum. The series is curated by The University of North Florida graduate and jazz arranger, producer and artist John Lumpkin.

“Jacksonville loves jazz,” says Lumpkin. “The Jazz Discovery series introduces our community to amazingly talented musicians that are leading the next generation of jazz.” His band will serve as the house band for the newly created venture. In addition to being on staff at UNF and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Lumpkin holds a Master’s Degree from Florida State University and has shared the stage with notable musicians, including Delfeayo Marsalis, Wycliff Gordon, Marcus Roberts, Arturo Sandoval, Curtis Fuller, Marcus Printup, Houston Pearson, Rufus Reid, Ben Tucker, James Moody, Nathan Davis, and David Baker.

The Jazz Discovery Series (JDS) kicked off last month with Jacksonville drummer, composer, bandleader and singer, Jamison Ross. After winning the 2012 Thelonius Monk International Jazz Competition, Ross toured and recorded with a variety of esteemed jazz artists, including singer Cécile McLorin Salvant, pianists Jonathan Batiste, Dr. John and Jon Cleary and bassist Christian McBride. (www.jamisonrossmusic.com)

Ulysses ‘Bim’ Owens Jr. and his New Century Jazz QuintetAnother First Coast native and multi-Grammy Award-winning drummer and percussionist Ulysses ‘Bim’ Owens Jr. and his New Century Jazz Quintet are slated to perform Oct 16. Owens is a two-time Grammy Award winner who has performed as a member of bassist Christian McBride’s acclaimed trio and the driving force of McBride’s famed big band. His debut recording “It’s Time For U” featured several original compositions and arrangements. In 2010, Owens received his first Grammy for his performance on Kurt Elling’s “Dedicated To You,” and his second Grammy for the Christian McBride Big Band album, “The Good Feeling” and received a third nomination for Christian McBride’s Trio album, “Out Here.” www.newcenturyjazzquintet.com

Singer Chante’ Caan takes the Jazz Discovery stage on Nov 19. A Chicago native, Caan has travelled the world as a background vocalist for the likes of Leon Timbo, Darlene McCoy, P.J. Morton, Gramps Morgan, and Grammy Award winning artist India Arie.  She as collaborated with artists/bands such as, Jaspects, The Foreign Exchange, Zo!, Mike Hicks, Sho Baraka, Khari Cabral Simmons and most recently Snarky Puppy. (www.chantecaan.com)    

Closing the 2015 Jazz Discovery Series season is vibraphonist Warren Wolf, performing Dec 11. Wolf has been trained on the Vibraphone/Marimba, Drums, and Piano. Under the guidance of his father Warren Wolf Sr., Warren has a deep background in all genres of music from classical composers  to the ragtime songbooks and jazz artists and composers like Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. He has performed and recorded with legendary artists like Wynton Marsalis and The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Jeremy Pelt and “Creation”, Nicholas Payton, Tim Warfield, Adonis Rose, Donal Fox, Anthony Wonsey, Aaron Goldberg, Cyrus Chestnut, Esperanza Spaulding and more. (www.warrenwolfmusic.com)

The Ritz Theatre recently wrapped a successful Jazz Discovery Series show with international jazz vocalist Gina Saputo performing with Jacksonville’s own John Lumpkin Trio in front of a standing-room-only-crowd. Previous JDS shows featuring jazz vocalists Charenee Wade last June and Brianna Thomas last July played before a sold out audience. Tickets start at $15 and are available at the Tom Bush Family of Dealerships Box Offices located at the Ritz Theatre and Museum, 807-2010 www.ritzjacksonville.com 

About Liza Mitchell