The Third Annual Ybor Jazz Festival closed November 4th with a prolonged standing ovation for Rayzilla’s Dreamboats, who had the honor of playing the last set in the five-day event.
The Festival, presented by the Visual and Performing Arts Series at the Ybor City Campus presented eight concerts over five days with a stellar line up of the best of the prodigious Central Florida jazz community on display. Many artists were performing in support of recently released recordings.
Wednesday opened with vocalist and pianist Anthony Castellano and his quartet while a bit later upstairs LaLucha with very special guest Marty Morrell joining them on vibraphone. Morrell now a central Florida resident was for many years the drummer for jazz legend Bill Evans. HCC faculty member Patrick Hernly also joined them on Latin percussion for a couple of tunes.
Thursday, Katt Hefner rocked the Studio Theatre with Stan Heffner on the mighty Hammond B3 organ. Her smoky vocals entranced the room and for a finale had everyone up and dancing! Later, Saxaphonists Jeremy Powell and Austin Vickery presented a heartfelt tribute to jazz legends Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane.
Friday, the elegant Lisa Casalino turned the clock back with jazz standards in a classic style in the Studio Theatre, Lisa’s CD “Introducing Lisa Casalino” is making waves on the national charts and getting airplay coast to coast. Helios Jazz Orchestra went all “Spy Crazy” with their LICENSE TO THRILL concert featuring music from James Bond and other spy films with the full “big band” on stage and vocalists.
Saturday saw the Latin fireworks of Guisando Caliente on stage with such jazz stalwarts as Kenny Drew Jr at the piano (soon to be seen at the Village Vanguard in New York City). They presented a mixed bag of contemporary Latin jazz with some wonderfully faithful renditions of classics of the genre from the 40’s and 50’s!
Sunday the festival wrapped up with JAZZTEK - Ben Winkler on Keys, Tim Diehl on drums and John Shea on bass followed by a blistering set by Rayzilla’s Dreamboats with a powerhouse line up of Alfredo Rivero on Guitar, Jeremy Powell on Sax and Keys, Ray Villadonga on Bass and Joe Bencomo on drums. The sustained standing ovation at the end of their wildly eclectic set that went from stunning acoustical guitar work to “out there” saxophone electronics left even the band stunned.
Once again the Ybor Jazz Festival showcased the very best of the resident jazz community of Central Florida which is a truly gifted and talented group of dedicated musicians with national and international credits who have chosen to live and work here and grace our community. Cooperation and collaboration between artists was inspiring to watch and listen to and audiences were enthusiastic and immensely pleased with the wide variety of jazz styles that were presented.
Plans are already under way for YBOR JAZZ FESTIVAL 2013!
Article written by: Keith Arsenault