Connecting Fine Art with Classic JazzA new and innovative concept will be on display at the 2014 Amelia Island Jazz Festival’s Big Band Bash. The prestigious Park West Gallery, the world’s leading dealer of fine art, will support the festival by providing jazz related paintings to be auctioned at the annual fund raising dinner/dance event, which will be held Saturday, April 19, 7:00 – 10:00 PM, in the ballroom at the Omni Resorts Amelia Island Plantation. AIJF Artistic Director Les DeMerle was ebullient in announcing the association, “We are quite pleased to have the support of this notable institution,” he said, “and I can’t wait to see the artwork that will result accordingly.” DeMerle said that one of Park West’s award-winning artists, Marcus Glenn, will create and donate an original painting for the auction. Glenn is the official artist of the 2014 Grammy Awards and is world renowned for his jazz inspired masterpieces.

The connection between the Jazz Festival and Park West came about recently when Gallery Director Morris Shapiro heard The Dynamic Les DeMerle Band and vocalist Bonnie Eisele live on the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship while sailing throughout Australia and New Zealand. Shapiro, also an accomplished drummer, had coincidentally studied and worked through several of DeMerle’s instructional books, and many of the Gallery executives, 100 of whom were also on the cruise, play drums as well. Shapiro and a few of his staff members wound up sitting in with the DeMerle band which led to much excitement. Then a discussion evolved as to how the two organizations could work together to combine their positive energies to bring the AIJF mission to its next exciting level with the support of the Park West Foundation mission. DeMerle said that “the band, Bonnie and our guest drummers were all on fire. Musically we all hit it off immediately, plus the match was perfect in another way: We have been performing with Celebrity cruises for several years and Park West is the exclusive Art Dealer for the company.”

Shapiro will fly to Amelia Island to attend the Big Band Bash and speak on behalf of Marcus Glenn and the Park West Foundation. “We are thrilled to be affiliated with such an excellent musical event,” he said, “and we welcome the opportunity to help support young musicians to develop their talents and pursue careers in jazz.”

Additionally, another of Park West’s artists, Tim Yanke, will showcase his talent by creating an original painting on a cymbal provided by one of DeMerle’s sponsors, Zildjian Cymbals. It will also be auctioned off at the event. Yanke draws his inspiration from great jazz and pop music as well as significant abstract painters of the 20th century, including Jackson Pollack, and Robert Rauschenberg.

The popular Benefit Gala Dinner/Dance will present The Dynamic Les DeMerle 17 piece Orchestra, featuring Eisele and special guests, in a salute to America’s legendary big bands. The music will pay tribute to greats like Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Harry James, with whom DeMerle played drums for several years. A Meet And Greet the Musicians cocktail party is set to begin at 6:30 PM and will include a complimentary glass of champagne.

The Park West Gallery headquarters is located in Southfield, Michigan, Its 63,000 square foot classical Greco-Roman building is designed in the style of many museums built in North America in the 20th century. Inside, 23 spacious exhibition galleries boast a vast array of prominent nationally know artists alongside masters like Paul Cezanne, Salvador Dali, and Joan Miró. Each of the galleries is devoted to a particular artist or type of art. Moreover, the Gallery operates an additional 181,000 square foot facility in Miami Lakes, Florida which acts as its distribution center, servicing cruise ships and land-based auctions.

Tickets for the Big Band Bash are priced at $75.00 per person, and the proceeds will benefit the Amelia Island Jazz Festival Scholarship Program. Requested dress is Semi-Formal/Casually Elegant.

For online ticket purchases and further information, please visit the festival website:

Tickets can also be purchased at the UPS Store, 1417 Sadler Road, in the Island Shopping Center, or at the AIFBY Chamber Of Commerce, Gateway to Amelia, A1A and Amelia Parkway.

For more information, please contact the Festival Hotline at (904) 504-4772

Email address:

A not for profit 501(c)(3) corporation, the Les DeMerle Amelia Island Jazz Festival distributes proceeds toward a scholarship program to fund college educations for aspiring jazz musicians.

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