CLEARWATER — The 31st annual Clearwater Jazz Holiday certainly won't be the same old jazz Oct. 14-17 at Coachman Park.
This year's lineup — a mix of smooth jazz, jam bands, rhythm and blues, Latin and fusion sounds — is aimed at attracting some new fans, said Allon Sams, chairman of the music committee.
"We have new artists that we've never featured before and we're excited about that," he said. "Hopefully, it will expose some new crowds to the jazz festival."
The headliners for the free festival:
• New Orleans gumbo band, Dr. John and the Lower 911.
• Grammy award-winning guitarist Norman Brown.
• Soulive, a funky jazz trio.
• Eric Darius, who will bring the festival to its "saxy" conclusion.
The lineup was announced Tuesday night at a special party that drew more than 400 people at the Venue, a chic establishment at 2675 Ulmerton Road.
The "2010 Artists Line-Up Party" featured live jazz by Level 10 and Mark Barrios, both slated to appear at the four-day concert.
As the savvy music fans sipped drinks and munched hors d'oeuvres some speculated on who they'd like to see at the free, eight-to-the-bar event that usually attracts tens of thousands to Clearwater's Coachman Park.
Mark Hall, 52, of Valrico said he has been going to the festival since 1987, but it was his first time at the announcement party.
"We love it," he said. "It's the beginning of the holiday season, the first chance to get out and enjoy the usually cool fall weather."
Marcus Taylor of Clearwater has been volunteering at the festival for the last 18 years.
"It's the best event in the entire state of Florida," said Taylor, who declined to give his age. "It brings together people of all backgrounds and cultures."
As the crowd waited for the 7 p.m. announcement, Taylor said he was hoping for more national acts and fewer local performers.
Danielle Kahl of Clearwater said she was one of the founders of the High Note Society, a group of jazz enthusiasts that provides support for the festival.
This is the first time the announcement party has taken place in such a big nightclub, she said.
"The turnout and excitement is fantastic tonight," said Kahl, who also declined to give her age.
When asked about her lineup expectations, she said, "I'm just one of those grateful happy people. I just want to keep it free."
Mayor Frank Hibbard said the Venue helped bring out a good crowd for the party.
"The Jazz Holiday does a good job of reaching out to people," he said. "It goes beyond Clearwater. It reaches out beyond Tampa Bay."
Hibbard said he had heard the buzz about the lineup.
"I think it's got something for everyone," he said. "From the true jazz aficionado to someone who is just starting to cut their teeth on jazz."