Outdoor Gainesville Jazz festival returns to Tioga Town Center


The Gainesville Jazz Festival features four area bands including Little Jake & The Soul Searchers on Saturday at Tioga Town Center.

Submitted photo/Randy Batista
Published: Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 11:29 a.m.

Of all forms of popular music, jazz might be the most ethereal, the most loosely-defined genre. As legend has it, Louis Armstrong once said, “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.”

Facts

12th Annual Gainesville Jazz Festival

What: Annual outdoor concert presented by the Gainesville Friends of Jazz
When: 7-11 p.m. Saturday
Where: Tioga Town Center, 105 SW 128th St.
Cost: Free
Info: 379-0300,
Gnvfriendsofjazz.org.

Schedule:
7 p.m.: Gary Langford EOS Big Band, standards
8 p.m.: Ulisses Rocha and Friends
9 p.m.: Mindwalk, jazz fusion
10 p.m.: Little Jake & The Soul Searchers, R&B and blues

Those who still have questions will receive answers Saturday night as the Gainesville Friends of Jazz hosts the 12th Gainesville Jazz Festival at the Tioga Town Center.

Marty Liquori, executive producer of the event, says audiences will be treated to live performances from four stylistically different acts.

“We want to give people a taste of four different types of jazz so they can find what they like,” he says. “Except for Miami or Atlanta, Gainesville has the best jazz available in the Southeast.”

He says for this third installment of the festival, which previously featured smaller jazz combos regularly appearing at local restaurants, the scope was widened to include large ensembles local listeners may not be familiar with.

“Our goal for the past three years has been to showcase the quality of jazz groups available in Gainesville,” he says. “This year we’re widening to include big groups.”

The night will begin at 7 p.m. with Gary Langford EOS, which performs jazz standards with big band arrangements. Ulisses Rocha, a world-renowned Brazilian guitarist currently teaching at the University of Florida, and Mindwalk, a veteran jazz-fusion act, will follow at 8 and 9 p.m. respectively. Little Jake & The Soul Searchers will close out the night with their brand of soul and blues at 10 p.m.

Jake Mitchell, lead vocalist of the eight-piece Little Jake & The Soul Searchers, says audiences will hear both old R&B standards and original material. Mitchell, who has toured with soul giants like Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, and his godfather B.B. King, was the first African-American artist to perform at the UF Gator Growl in 1960.

“I love entertaining the crowds and seeing them enjoy themselves. I want them to leave enthusiastic and happy,” Mitchell says. “People will see a hell of a show, and that’s a fact.”

Liquori says jazz escapes definition because it’s an amorphous genre that changes as more cultures participate in its formation.

“Jazz is always evolving. It’s a worldwide thing. People from other countries bring things from their culture and add it to what we’re doing in America to create something new,” he says.

Still, he says, there are some loose guidelines that apply to the art form.

“I call ‘jazz’ music that’s improvised. The members of the band listen to each other, work off each other and create something on the spot,” he says. “It’s freedom to react to what you’re hearing at that moment.”

The 12th Gainesville Jazz Festival begins at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Tioga Town Center, 105 SW 128th St., Newberry. Admission is free.

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