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In addition to the big names, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday features some great unknowns

For its 29th edition, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday offers another jazz-and-miscellaneous sampler, ranging from superstar crooner Tony Bennett to 16-year-old rising star Grace Kelly. • Some of the names on the program are familiar to even the most casual fans — R&B singer Patti Austin, smooth-jazz saxophonist David Sanborn, neo-swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Here are some performers you may not know, but you don't want to miss.

Philip Booth, Times correspondent


Kyle Eastwood, 7-8 p.m.

Tony Bennett may top the opening-night bill, but take note of Kyle Eastwood, making his bay area debut from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastwood is a fast-rising bassist whose famous father, actor/director Clint Eastwood, likely influenced his son's career path.

Eastwood, who played rock 'n' roll and R&B as a teen, switched to jazz while studying film at USC and released his debut album a decade ago. Recently, he worked on the score of his father's forthcoming film, Changeling. A new album is due next spring.

Eastwood, last heard on 2006's decidedly smooth Now CD, will be joined by trumpeter Graeme Flowers, saxophonist Graeme Blevins and keyboardist Andrew McCormack.

Also playing

Bernard "B.K." Jackson, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Jackson, an alto saxophonist at Blake High School for the Performing Arts in Tampa, won the "Capital Jazz Challenge" at the Capital Jazz Fest Competition in June in Washington.

Tony Bennett, 8:30 to 10 p.m. (See story, Page 20.)


Stefon Harris & Blackout, 6-7:15 p.m.

Led by the in-demand New York vibraphonist and marimba player, the band is built on an intriguing mix of acoustic music and progressive sounds, as demonstrated on the 2004 CD Blackout, with keyboardist Marc Cary, alto saxophonist Casey Benjamin, bassist Darryl Hall and drummer Terreon Gully.

Harris, who played at the University of South Florida in June, showcased his considerable skills as a composer in 2003 with The Grand Unification Theory, an 11-movement piece drawing from jazz, African, Latin and classical traditions.

Also playing

Karen Benjey, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.: A stalwart of the Tampa Bay area jazz scene, Benjey, a singer-pianist, last year released All of You with trumpet great Randy Brecker and drummer Joe La Barbera.

Joe Sample, 7:45 to 9 p.m.: Sample made his name as a founding member of the Jazz Crusaders, playing funky, blues-drenched electric piano lines on the 1979 single Street Life. Last year he joined that hit's singer, Randy Crawford, for the CD Feeling Good.

David Sanborn, 9:30 to 11 p.m.: Sanborn's ultra-bright alto sound has influenced a couple of generations of saxophonists. For his recently released 23rd album, Here & Gone, he worked with Eric Clapton, Sam Moore and Joss Stone to create a jazz-funk tribute to Ray Charles.


Grace Kelly, 5:30-6:45 p.m.

Kelly is a 16-year-old alto saxophonist and singer with a surprisingly deep and mature sound. Her forthcoming CD, Mood Changes, is her fifth disc.

In an e-mail interview, Kelly said she started playing at 10 and strives to listen to as wide a range of jazz artists as possible. As for her music, "I like to stay as spontaneous as possible," she says. "Improvising in the moment is my goal — and staying free of cliches, if possible."

The Massachusetts native has worked with a who's who of jazz artists and begins studies at Berklee College of Music in September.

Also playing

The Ken Loomer Big Band, 3:45 to 5 p.m.: Led by the busy Tampa Bay area drummer, this is a hard-swinging group of 15 musicians specializing in charts by contemporary composers Don Menza, Jeff Jarvis and John LaBarbera as well as new arrangements of works by Woody Herman, Buddy Rich and Count Basie.

The Brubeck Brothers Quartet, 7:15 to 8:45 p.m.: The quartet, with trombonist-bassist Chris and drummer Dan (sons of jazz legend Dave), recently released Classified, which features a classically flavored five-part suite and a creative cover of their dad's Blue Rondo a La Turk.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, 9:15 p.m. to 10:45 p.m.: These neo-swing hipsters became a '90s sensation thanks to an appearance in the movie Swingers. The septet's Mr. Pinstripe Suit was recently heard on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance.


Joey DeFrancesco, 6:30-8 p.m.

DeFrancesco is probably the best-known inheritor of the B-3 organ jazz tradition exemplified by Jimmy Smith and Brother Jack McDuff. The Philadelphia native, a third-generation jazz musician, was a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, and he toured with Miles Davis in the late '80s before starting his solo career.

When performing live, as demonstrated by a set with guitarist Pat Martino at the Montreal Jazz Festival, DeFrancesco turns in knockout solos while giving generous space to his bandmates. "It's not about one person," he said during a February radio interview. "It's about how it sounds together. It's about the music for me."

Also playing

Ruth Eckerd Hall/Clearwater Jazz Holiday Jazz Youth Band with Billy Norris, 1:45 to 2:30 p.m.: Norris, a bassist and Seminole High alum, now studies at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music.

The Venturas, 3 to 4:15 p.m.: Fronted by singer Ally Couch, this Sarasota-based band (formerly Jennifer and the Venturas) mixes bebop tunes and standards with swinging jazz- and blues-based material.

The Eldar Djangirov Trio, 4:45 to 6 p.m.: The 21-year-old pianist, a native of Kyrgyzstan in the former Soviet Union, and his blue-chip rhythm section — bassist Armando Gola, drummer Justin Brown — are fresh from a run at New York's Blue Note nightclub. The trio will play music from last year's Grammy-nominated Re-Imagination, and new tunes.

Patti Austin and the Clearwater Jazz Holiday Orchestra, 8:30 to 10 p.m.: The '80s R&B hitmaker (Baby Come To Me, How Do You Keep the Music Playing?, The Heat of Heat) joins the Orlando-based Craig Turley Orchestra, augmented with a string section. They will perform pieces from the book of great jazz composer/arranger Pat Williams. Austin's most recent CD, 2007's Avant Gershwin, landed a Grammy.

Tampa writer and bassist Philip Booth contributes to Down Beat, Jazziz, Bass Player and other publications.



Jazz Holiday

The festival is held at breezy Coachman Park in downtown Clearwater. Hours are 5 to 10 tonight, 4 to 11 p.m. Friday, 2:30 to 10:45 p.m. Saturday (with fireworks at 10:45) and 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is free. (727) 461-5200 or

Festival tips

Be courteous: Turn off cell phones or pagers during performances and use the trash and recycling bins.

What to bring: Lawn chairs, blankets, sunglasses, sunscreen, ID tags for small children.

What to leave at home: Food and drinks, coolers, pets (except registered guide dogs), audio- and video-recording equipment, umbrellas, grills, fireworks, laser pointers, tents and overnight camping equipment.

In addition to the big names, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday features some great unknowns 10/15/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 4:30am]
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