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Three Days Of Music, Fun Comprise Jazz Pensacola


Fans can enjoy more than 20 regional and local acts during the coming Jazz Pensacola event, a free, three-day celebration in downtown’s historic Seville Square.

“JazzFest delivers a roster of the best talent from around the region,” said Roger Villines, president of Jazz Pensacola.

This year, musical routines include Jacksonville native percussionist and band leader Terry “Doc” Handy and his group. Also, pianist and keyboardist Gino Rosaria and his band Groove Symphony will perform, as will eclectic band the Guffman Trio and saxophonist Joe Occhipinti, who showcases big band flair.
The festivities kick off with student jazz competition at 7 p.m. Friday, April 1. The competition includes three divisions: college instrumental, high school instrumental and jazz vocal.

Each finalist will perform two songs, with backing by a professional rhythm section before three judges and a live audience. While the judges’ score are calculated, Immersion, a Christian big band will entertain the audience. Immersion is comprised of musicians from various Baptist churched around Pensacola.
Besides the music, the family friendly event, which continues from 11:45 a.m. to 7: 45 p.m. Saturday, April 2, and Sunday, April 3, includes fine arts and crafts exhibits, food and a Jazz Jam for Kids event in the playground area toward the back of the park. Children can play complimentary harmonicas and kazoos to introduce them to the joys of making music.

The event closes with an After JazzFest Jam from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Apple Annie’s in Seville Quarter. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs because seating is limited.

The two pieces of music that play during the audio portion of this report were performed at the 2015 JazzFest. The first was presented by Dillon Buckley, who attends Niceville High School, and the second song was performed by Isabelle Peterson, who now attends Pensacola State College.  Both students are entered in the 2016 student competition.


This article is part of a collaboration between WUWF and the UWF Center for Research and Economic Opportunity.