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It's Tony Bennett. It's free. Go early.

Tony Bennett will be the Thursday night headliner at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday.

Tony Bennett will be the Thursday night headliner at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday.

CLEARWATER — Tony Bennett's signature song is I Left My Heart in San Francisco.

Come Oct. 16, he'll be out to capture the hearts of many Tampa Bay jazz enthusiasts.

Bennett will be the Thursday night headliner at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, set for Oct. 16-19. Classic jazz artist Patti Austin will close out the 29th annual event on Sunday night with the Clearwater Jazz Holiday Orchestra, festival organizers announced Tuesday.

Other artists who will grace the stage at Clearwater's Coachman Park will be saxophonist David Sanborn, pianist Joe Sample and the blues and swing combo Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Also appearing for the first time as a solo artist at the event will be Tampa's BK Jackson.

"We are excited and we have a variety that will appeal to all different kinds of jazz lovers," said Ray Biscoglia, the Jazz Holiday's music selection committee chairman. "It's going to be fabulous and fun for everyone."

The Jazz Holiday brings up to 60,000 people to Clearwater and is one the longest-running free jazz events in the country. More than a thousand local volunteers help to pull off the weekend.

"The key has been to continue to grow and evolve the event," said Gary Hallas, the Jazz Holiday's consultant. "We want to continue to make it a signature event for the city of Clearwater and the region."

Hallas said the Jazz Holiday is known as a marquee event throughout the Southeast and with the slumping economic climate, residents couldn't get a better family outing for free.

This year's event will include a new element. Lining the 400 block of the newly renovated Cleveland Street will be 25 artists from all the country showing their art.

Dubbed Clearwater Jazz N Art Walk, the artwork will be displayed 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday of the Jazz Holiday weekend. A winning artist from the showing will be awarded $5,000 and commissioned to create the poster for next year's 30th jazz festival.

"This is another way to bring residents downtown," said Joanie Sigal, who's heading the project.

For BK Jackson, 17, a senior at Tampa's Blake High School, he could not be more pleased to play his saxophone as a solo artist at the Jazz Holiday.

"I'm very blessed and do not take the opportunity for granted," he said Tuesday before performing at a reception to announce the lineup in the lobby of Clearwater's Lokey Mercedes-Benz dealership.

"The Jazz Holiday is the best thing because it brings in artists to this area that we would never get to see."

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at 445-4174 or

Clearwater Jazz Holiday schedule

Thursday, Oct. 16

5 p.m.: Gates open

5:30-6:30 p.m.: BK Jackson

7-8 p.m.: Kyle Eastwood Band

8:30-10 p.m.: Tony Bennett

Friday, Oct. 17

4 p.m.: Gates open

4:30-5:30 p.m.: Karen Benjey

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

7:45-9 p.m.: Joe Sample

9:30-11 p.m.: David Sanborn, below right

Saturday, Oct. 18

2:30 p.m.: Gates open

3:45-5 p.m.: Ken Loomer Big Band

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

7:15-8:45 p.m.: Brubeck Brothers Quartet

9:15-10:45 p.m.: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, above left

10:45 p.m.: Fireworks

Sunday, Oct. 19

1 p.m.: Gates open

1:45-2:30 p.m.: REH/CJH Jazz Youth Band with Billy Norris

3-4:15 p.m.: The Venturas

4:45-6 p.m.: Eldar Djangirov Trio

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

8:30-10 p.m.: Patti Austin and the Clearwater Jazz Holiday Orchestra

For more information on the festival, go to www.clearwater and

It's Tony Bennett. It's free. Go early. 09/09/08 [Last modified: Friday, September 12, 2008 9:02pm]
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