September! A great time to escape for a week and head south for my first New Smyrna Beach Jazz Festival in my new favorite Florida town! And great to see it recovering wonderfully from Hurricane Irma so well.
I didn’t really know what to expect since I did not recognize any of the performers’ names, but that means nothing in the world of music where talent can be anywhere and anyone! I made it to 5 of the events and loved visiting the various locations – the only issue was so many people at some of them and it would have been great for patrons to listen rather than talk through the performance-
The first night was great with Linda Cole, whose father was Nat King Cole’s cousin, and the Greg Parnell trio who have a classic sound. Great acoustics in the Atlantic Center for the Arts in the north end of the city, which is a wonderful venue for artists.
Lunch the next day at the Courtyard Cafe on Flagler Ave with an amazing concert by Eiriin Abu, whose credentials are impressive, and who definitely had a ‘Chris Botti” feel to his sound. He performed some unexpectedly beautiful hymns with a lot of soul and it was such a pleasure to listen!
Later that evening at the Corkscrew Grille on Canal St (which had amazing food and atmosphere!) Valerie Gillespie and her band provided a wonderful show – love a woman on saxophone!!
Norwood Tree House on Sunday (one of my favorite places in NSB) had tropical jazz with Eddie Marshall and Chris Cortez fun and upbeat, while the festival ended at the Garlic with Annie Sellik and the Joshua Bowlus Trio – smooth and elegant styling!
The festival producer, Marc Monteson, did a fabulous job coordinating the event and was always visible and available to meet and greet guests and it was obvious he is well loved in the NSB community! It was also great to see people of different age groups come out to enjoy the music -I will be back in the future, especially since I made new friends and LOVE New Smyrna Beach!