Amelia Island Jazz Festival set for weeklong celebration


This year marks the 19th Annual Amelia Island Jazz Festival, which will once again feature a weeklong celebration of the wonderful sounds that make Jazz what it is Oct. 3-9 in Fernandina Beach.

The week of fun will begin Oct. 3 with the festival’s sponsor party, which will be followed by a Jazz and wine tasting event Oct. 4, Jump Jive and Wail/ Swing night Oct. 5, Latin Jazz concert and dance Oct. 6, weekend concerts and late-night jams Oct. 7 and 8, and the week’s festivities will wrap up with the Dixie to Swing Jazz Brunch Oct. 9.

The sponsor party will kick things off with an event hosted by world-class drummer Les DeMerle, who is also the festival’s founder and director. He will be accompanied by Bonnie Eisele and guests providing vocals from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Courtyard Amelia Island/Springhill Suites by Marriott.

Two shows will be held as part of the Jazz and wine tasting showcase Oct. 4, with the first one scheduled from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. followed by a second from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at The Decantery in Historic Fernandina Beach.

Attendees will have a night to cut loose and show off their dance moves during the Jump Jive and Wail/Swing Night Oct. 5 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Sadler Ranch in Fernandina Beach.

Sadler Ranch will be the place to be once again Oct. 6, this time for a Latin Jazz concert and dance 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

A pair of featured concerts by world-renowned jazz musicians will take place Oct. 7 and 8. Legendary Jazz clarinetist and saxophonist Ken Peplowski.

He is one of the most recorded Jazz players to date with more than 50 CDs made as a soloist and nearly 400 as a featured sideman.

John Pizzarelli will be the featured act for concert Oct. 8. His career includes producing numerous tribute recordings honoring both Jazz and Pop artists.

Both nights of concerts will be held in the ballroom at the Courtyard Amelia Island/Springhill Suites by Marriott.

Late Night Jam sessions will be held after the concerts on both nights at the Dizzy’s Den at Mocama Beer Company on Eighth Street in Fernandina Beach.

The weeklong festival will come to an end with the Dixie to Swing Jazz Brunch, which is the popular grand finale for the event as a whole.

The event will be broken up into two sessions with the first seating taking place 10:30 a.m. and the second starting at 1 p.m.

Entertainment during the brunch will be performed by Spare Rib Six, which will include J.B. Scott on trumpet, Dr. Bill Prince on clarinet, Mike Levine on piano, Dennis Marks on bass and Les DeMerle on drums, plus Bonnie Eisele and other special guest appearances.