Jazz Festival Includes New Venues for 2011

Amelia Island Jazz Festival eyes expanded setting with new venues for 2011

Buckwheat Zydeco

Buckwheat Zydeco

The 2011 edition of the Amelia Island Jazz Festival, scheduled for October 2-9, will showcase an all-new setting for its major concerts and feature more venues to add wider variety to its shows. Artistic Director Les DeMerle and the AIJF Board Of Directors have structured an expanded look for this year that will present headliner events over a large portion of the St. Peters Episcopal Church campus in downtown Fernandina Beach.

“We’ve worked out a much wider seating arrangement within the courtyard,” said DeMerle, “and we will use the lawn and parking lots for additional music, food vendors, plus dining and cocktail areas.”

Up first for the revised St. Peters layout on Thursday, October 6, will be Latin Night, a concert and dance presenting popular Jacksonville rhythm masters, Impacto Latino, in a tribute to Tito Puente and Santana.

Nicole Henry

Nicole Henry

On Friday, critically acclaimed songstress Nicole Henry and her 8-piece band’s performance will follow “Gypsy Rendezvous,” a set by the Dynamic Les DeMerle Band featuring Bonnie Eisele with special guest, Virgin Records recording artist and much heralded violinist Doug Cameron, performing music in the style of the late great fiddler and Django Reinhardt accompanist, Stephane Grapelli.

Grammy Award winning Zydeco artist Buckwheat Zydeco will take the main stage on Saturday, October 8, in a full evening program that will include True Blue, an all-star tribute to jazz organ great Jimmy Smith, with Scott Giddens (organ), Barry Greene (guitar) and then Don Zentz (sax) opening with 2010 AIJF Scholarship winner, vibist Nathan Skinner & Good Vibes, featuring the 2011 AIJF Scholarship winner, John Sheard on saxophone.

The week will kick off via the now traditional free concert in Amelia Park, Sunday, October 2, with Orion, the 18-piece U.S. Navy Big Band Southeast. The following Tuesday, Jazz At The Movies, will offer JAZZ ON A SUMMER DAY, a classic documentary on the first ever Newport Jazz Festival, at the Hampton Inn at the Marina. Additionally, the October 5 Blues Night and Wine Tasting at new venue, Sandy Bottoms, will showcase exciting jump blues artists, Toots Lorraine and the Traffic. “This will be our most complete Festival to date. We plan to have swinging jazz going on in various spots throughout the entire week,” DeMerle added.

Tickets for all shows may now be purchased online from the AIJF website: www.ameliaislandjazzfestival.com

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