The North East Florida Jazz Association (NEFJA) and the City of Palm Coast are pleased to announce that the Dave Valentin Quintet will head the lineup for the 2nd Annual NEFJA Jazz Festival, which is set for March 23 - 25 in Palm Coast, Florida. The venue for the multi-stage event will be Matanzas High School. "For two decades, the NEFJA's goal has been to bring first-class, live jazz to northeast Florida," says NEFJA President Muriel McCoy. "There's nothing like listening to live jazz. We bring in good music at a price that is reasonable for the people in this area. Our primary purpose is to ensure the perpetuation of this unique form of American art by giving scholarships to promising young musicians."
NEFJA has been successful in their quest. For years, they have presented a series of well- attended concerts featuring local and world-class performers. Last summer, NEFJA took a huge step forward. They organized and presented their 1st Annual North East Florida Jazz Festival. It was a huge success with more than 800 people attending the event. The proceeds from the Festivals go towards providing scholarships to talented young musicians attending Florida colleges and universities.
The 2nd Annual Festival will open on Friday, March 23rd at 7:00 PM with a "Gala Under the Stars" featuring performances by NEFJA scholarship recipients. On Saturday, March 24, the Matanzas High School Steel Band will join a star-studded lineup of the Vincent Herring Quartet, the "Trombone Summit", Alex Nguyen Quartet, vocalist Queen Aaminah, and the NEFJA All Star Band. Highly acclaimed Latin jazz flutist and recording artist Dave Valentin and his Quintet will wrap up the evening's performances. Concurrently throughout the day, there will be open jam sessions in the courtyard. On Sunday, there will be a Jazz Brunch featuring the Doug Carn Big Band with vocalist Mary Louise. They will provide a variety of standards, blues and original compositions.
Widely recognized Hammond B3 Master, keyboardist, and recording artist Doug Carn also serves as NEFJA's Vice-President. "We are really excited about this year's lineup," he comments. "Years ago, you could only hear live jazz of this caliber at some of the finest venues in the country - and the world. Our goal has been to bring this level of performers home to northeast Florida. It's always been my hope and dream that we could have real good jazz right here without having to go to the big cities of the world."
In addition to performing at the Jazz Festival, Doug and other performers will conduct special workshops for music students attending Matanzas High School in Palm Coast. "As with our scholarship program," Carn continues, "we feel it's important to expose today's music students to jazz and to do everything we can to support them. They are the ones who will be taking jazz into the future".
Festival headliner Dave Valentin started playing Latin percussion at the age of five and performed professionally at the age of eleven. He switched to flute at the age of sixteen and studied under Hubert Laws, one of the best jazz flutists in the world. Since then, Valentin has become known throughout the world for his unique brand of crossover jazz, which combines the influence of pop, R & B, and Brazilian music with Latin jazz. A 1985 Grammy nominee, Valentin was the first artist to sign with the popular GRP label and has subsequently recorded with other well-known jazz labels. Also performing at the Jazz Festival will be such jazz notables as the Vincent Herring Quartet and the Trombone Summit. Alto saxophonist, Herring, is a veteran of the Nat Adderly Quintet and carries on the tradition of Cannonball Adderly. He has released several best-selling recordings in the past decade. The Trombone Summit will feature well-known Teddy Adams, along with Fred Wesley, a veteran of the James Brown Band, and Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra's master trombonist, Stan Wilkerson.
Other outstanding jazz artists being featured at the Jazz Fest will be the Doug Carn Big Band; the University of North Florida's international trumpet competition winner, Alex Nguyen, who will co-lead his exciting group with veteran drummer Von Barlow who has performed and recorded with Roy Ayers, Jack Wilson and Ray Charles; New York vocalist Queen Aaminah; and the NEFJA All Star Band comprised of NEFJA scholarship recipients.