Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Opinion

Tampa Bay jazz musicians gather to help Rose Bilal

A host of local musicians are coming to the aid of one of their own.

"For the Love of Rose" will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Palladium.

The rose is jazz vocalist, keyboardist and all-around community friend Rose Bilal.

For organizers, it's an opportunity to help a neighbor in need while enjoying some of the best jazz musicians in the Tampa Bay area.

Back in May, Bilal suffered a stroke and was hospitalized for a month. Her medical bills exceeded $250,000 and her rehab requires therapy and home health care.

The event, to help defray medical costs, is organized by the Al Downing Tampa Bay Jazz Association, the Palladium Theater and WUSF-FM 89.7.

"She has made a great contribution to keeping jazz alive, as well as making a great contribution to bringing entertainment and motivation to many types of groups," said Bette Gregg, vice president of the jazz association.

The list of performers coming to help is a Who's Who of the area's best jazz performers: Ernie Calhoun, John Lamb, Theo Valentin, Belinda Womack, Shawn Brown, Rita Wilson, Kenny Drew Jr., Stan Hunter, Alejandro Arenas, Mark Neuenschawander and others.

Some members of the impressive lineup have had their own physical challenges.

I last saw Bilal perform at the St. Petersburg Country Club at an event honoring outstanding men and women in the community. She had been a recipient of the Gathering of Women honor a few years earlier and had since provided entertainment at the annual event.

A flier promoting the event captures what Bilal has meant to the community: "We all know how much she has helped our community thrive, grow and bloom. Now is our time to help her."

Through the years, she has visited hundreds of schools and juvenile centers and offered hands-on training to many young people interested in music.

Few would argue about the impact Bilal has had with the simple gesture of sharing her talents by performing at homes, churches, family reunions and special events.

Tickets are $20 and on sale at the Palladium box office.

• • •

It's an idea that is long overdue — offering entertainment at a popular eatery on the southern edge of St. Petersburg.

Residents there have long complained about the dearth of shopping and dining choices along 34th Street S, with little hope in sight.

Well, last week, the folks at Brewburgers, at 4195 34th St. S, launched Open Mic Nights — thanks to local blues favorites Dave Slater, Willie Waterman and Adam Mann.

Management intends to host the event on Thursdays at 7 p.m., inviting all singers, songwriters or anyone who wants to belt out a song with the band.

For more information, call (727) 866-2414.

Sandra J. Gadsden can be reached at [email protected] or at (727) 893-8874 and on Twitter at @StPeteSandi.

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