Thursday, 30 October 2008 12:42

And All That Free JAZZ! Featured

Written by  Angela LeMay
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Karl_Hunter.pngOnce again, one of the longest running and well known free live Jazz events in the country was a huge success.

The popularity of jazz in Clearwater began in the 70’s with a 10 day series of jazz concerts held from the back of a flatbed truck at various venues around the City of Clearwater including concerts series performed at the historical Ft, Harrison Hotel.  From there the jazz craze developed into our present day “Clearwater Jazz Holiday” drawing tens of thousands of jazz fans each year.

Over the years, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday has presented in concert almost every jazz star and has become internationally renowned for hosting such legends as Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Mann, Dave Brubeck, Tito Puente, Stephan Grappelli, Stan Getz, and the Count Basie Orchestra to list a few.

Hundreds gather to enjoy the music and superior sound quality showcased at the Jazz Festival  Celebrating its 29th year, this year’s 4 day 4 night event opened Thursday with a refreshing seventeen year old, Bernard “BK” Jackson from Tampa on saxophone.  BK’s energy in performance invigorated the audience who watched in awe as his adeptness far out weighed his years. Next the Kyle Eastwood Band wetted the crowd’s appetite for the indefatigable 15 Grammy Award winning jazz signer, Tony Bennett.  Tony who celebrated his 82nd birthday on August 3rd drew in bus loads of fans from all around.

The next 3 days were packed with jazz talent including, headliners Joe Sample, David Sanborn, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Patti Austin.

On Saturday another seventeen year old from Boston, Grace Kelly inspired us with her soulful signing and maturity (beyond her years) on sax.  Grace has performed in many notable venues in the U.S., EurGrace Kelly performing at the Jazz Festivalope ad Asia such as Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Dizzy’s Club Cocoa Cola and more.

Along with the spectacular jazz line up at this years Clearwater Jazz Holiday there was great food from vendors and a fireworks show presented by Sandpearl Residences.

According to their website ( the Clearwater Jazz Holiday has also been center stage for scholarship and educational activities that benefit the music students of our community from the blues loving beginners to piano playing protégés.

This FREE community event funded by corporate partners, grants, foundations and individual contribution through “The High Note Society” is an interactive way for partners to reach their target markets through sponsorship opportunities and show community support.

Joe Sample performing at the Jazz FestivalThe Clearwater Jazz Holiday is continually made Free by the collaboration of The Clearwater Jazz Holiday Foundation, City of Clearwater, and The Clearwater Jazz Holiday Jazz Force and the volunteer staffs that help orchestrate every aspect of the event and make it better and better each year.

One of the most notable improvements in this year’s event was to the sound quality. Jann Spalding who volunteered her time as a site service coordinator exclaimed, “This year the sound was just soooo much different…other people have noticed it too! Other people who come here all the time I’ve heard them say it’s different, its good…just wonderful!” Kevin Manning a fourth year stage crew volunteer who works as a Financial Advisor in his day job remarked, “The sound system is exceptional this year. The minute I got out of my car in the parking lot you could hear how much clearer it is all throughout the park; a major upgrade!

Norbert Hauser the CEO of KS Audio USA, based in Clearwater was the man responsible for this years upgrade in the sound system.  Upon moving here from Germany Norbert attended his first Clearwater Jazz Holiday five years ago.  Norbert observed and admired all the hard work and investment that went in to making the holiday first class and keep it free. He had never seen anything like it in his life. Yet, when he heard the sound quality it puzzled him. So, he started developing a relationship with the powers that be and continued to approach them with his sound system which uses a technology that is not only unique to this country but is the only company in the world that has this technology. This year he obtained the opportunity to show his stuff. And, boy did he, Norbert not only customized the sound system specifically to meet the needs of Coachman Park but he also flew in a special technician from their manufacturing plant in Germany to assist the sound engineers who were new to this unique sound technology. Norbert proudly commented, “At the end of the day what’s important is that the sound is clear, clean and pleasant.”
We look forward to having Norbert Hauser and his KS technology as a returning star to next years event!

- Tampa Bay Informer
The Good News Newspaper

Read 1033 times Last modified on Wednesday, 21 October 2009 16:07