1. News

Artists will float into Gasparilla parade with a smooth jazz vibe

Keyboardist and musician Nathan Mitchell will be one of the artists on a Gasparilla float sponsored by JazzTyme Productions. Photo courtesy of Nathan Mitchell.
Published Jan. 26, 2018

TAMPA — If you're attending the Gasparilla Parade this Saturday, keep an eye – and ear – out for the black, red, and white float whose passengers will be playing live smooth jazz.

Yep, you read that right – live jazz.

Sponsored by the West Wing Boutique Hotel, the JazzTyme Gasparilla Float will feature nine musicians playing throughout the length of the parade.

Artists include Marcus Anderson, Kyle Schroeder, Dee Lucas and Nathan Mitchell. Actor Quinton Aaron, known for his starring role in the movie The Blind Side, also is scheduled to appear.

They'll keep the party going at an after-party at the hotel.

It's the first float of its kind to participate in the parade and is sure to get lots of attention – just as Ken Gray, JazzTyme's spokesman, was thinking when he came up with idea.

With jazz's popularity on the decline nationally, it's up to lovers of the genre to do whatever they can to keep the music at the forefront – even if that means putting it on a float in a parade bombarded by pirates, Gray said.

"This was an opportunity for us, really exposing the city to jazz again," he said. "(Parade attendees) will get a feel for smooth jazz with common hits."

Bob Seymour, president of the Tampa Jazz Club, applauded Gray's creativity.

In Tampa Bay, there are few venues for aficionados to hear jazz played live and connect with artists, so a float that brings the music to the people, "is a really nice surprise," he said.

One of the musicians who'll be taking the stage is Nathan Mitchell, a keyboardist who has lived in Tampa Bay since 2010.

Mitchell, who's latest single Inspiration is currently No. 22 on the Billboard smooth jazz charts, said he never thought he'd make his Gasparilla performance debut playing on a float.

"It's an honor," he said. "To have a (Billboard-charting song) accompany this, that's a good feeling."

The float will give Mitchell a chance to expand his fan base, but he's looking for something greater.

He built his reputation as a dynamic side man for such R&B acts as Nick Colionne, Lin Rountree, Paul Brown, Dawn Robinson (En Vogue), Irene Cara, Stokley of Mint Condition and the Commodores.

In 2012, he released For All Eternity, which featured My Angel, a heartfelt tribute to his wife, who passed away of cancer in 2010.

The Gasparilla Parade could represent another milestone.

"My goal is not to win fans, my goal is to inspire people," Mitchell said. "I would love for Tampa to support my music. However, I'm more interested in sharing my talents, to see people blessed by my musical gift."

Contact Kenya Woodard at


  1. Visit for the latest updates.
    Charges in the accident are pending.
  2. Florida Supreme Court Justices Barbara Lagoa, left, and Robert Luck, right, were appointed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta by President Trump. Florida Supreme Court
    Ok losers, who needs access to our state politicians, anyway?
  3. Earlier today• Pasco
    The Dade City Monarch Butterfly Festival will be Oct. 12 in Hibiscus Park. AP
    News and notes from Pasco County
  4. Bubba's 33 recently broke ground on its first restaurant in Florida, which will open in Wesley Chapel in December. Pictured, left to right: Experience Florida's Sports Coast (Tourism) Director Adam Thomas, Bubba's 33 marketing director Crista Demers-Dean, Bubba's 33 managing partner Jeff Dean, Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore and North Tampa Bay Chamber CEO Hope Allen. Andy Taylor
    News and notes on local businesses
  5. Taylor Bland-Ball, 22, posted this photo and open letter to Judge Thomas Palermo to her Instagram account on September 10, the day after she lost custody of her 4-year-old son Noah McAdams. The boy's parents wanted to treat his leukemia with natural health care remedies instead of chemotherapy. [Instagram] ANASTASIA DAWSON  |  Instagram
    The couple refused chemotherapy for their son, instead seeking alternative treatments including dietary plans, alkaline water and THC and CBD oil treatments
  6. Mos Antenor, 42, drives a bulldozer while clearing the road after Hurricane Dorian Mclean's Town, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) RAMON ESPINOSA  |  AP
    Threatening to exacerbate islands’ problems, Humberto’s rains were falling on Abaco island.
  7. Check for the latest breaking news and updates.
    His infant daughter suffered life-threatening injuries, officials said.
  8. In this Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, photo, Rod and Tonya Meldrum hold a portrait of their son Devin Meldrum, in Provo, Utah. He suffered from debilitating cluster headaches and fatally overdosed after taking a single fentanyl-laced counterfeit oxycodone pill purchased from a dark-web store run by Aaron Shamo, according to his family and authorities. Shamo was not charged in Meldrum’s death, and his lawyers have argued that and other alleged overdoses can’t be definitively linked to him. RICK BOWMER  |  AP
    A clean-cut, 29-year-old college dropout and Eagle Scout named Aaron Shamo made himself a millionaire by building a fentanyl trafficking empire with not much more than his computer and the help of a...
  9. This photo of Patti Baumgartner, a Montana grandmother who wanted to slow down speeding drivers, went viral. Noah Pesola
    The photo of her sitting on the side of a road went viral.
  10. Members of the fire rescue team Task Force 8, from Gainesville, Florida, help remove a body one week after Hurricane Dorian hit The Mudd neighborhood in the Marsh Harbor area of Abaco Island, Bahamas, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. Dorian, the most powerful hurricane in the northwestern Bahamas' recorded history, has killed at least 44 people in Bahamas as of Sunday, Sept. 8, according to the government. GONZALO GAUDENZI  |  AP
    Many in the northwestern Bahamas, known for its casinos, golf courses and mega yachts, worry they will be forced into deep poverty.