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Florida Tour 2008: WMNF FM 88.5 and the Studio @ 620

June 24, 2008

In May 2008 my trio and I were given a great opportunity – travel to Florida, meet some great jazz fans, and play some music! It doesn’t get much better than that…:-)

The Florida connection started when a good SF Bay area friend (and all around jazz guitar aficionado) of mine, Jeff Kross invited Wendy Durand (the Studio @ 620, St. Petersburg, FL) to come check out the band. After hearing us Wendy thought we would be a good fit and a nice addition to the type of programs the Studio @ 620 was currently running. The Studio @ 620 is a famed St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay area performing arts studio; they showcase everything from art to dance, theater to spoken word, with a little jazz sprinkled in for good measure!

Wendy (along with artistic directors Bob Jones and Dave Ellis) covered our airfare and a few nights stay at, what is arguably, one of the greatest resort hotels in the country, Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club. The logistics of getting a jazz trio (plus Cat – manager/publicist/my wife) complete with acoustic bass, guitars, amps, and some drums across the country is quite a challenge. But, though perseverance, hard work (mostly Wendy – thanks Wendy!!), some scientific engineering by bassist Brandon Essex, and a great airline crew (SouthWest) we did it!

The jazz fans in Florida are amazing. Florida doesn’t have nearly the depth of the jazz scene we have here in the SF Bay area, but the artists who reside there are phenomenally talented and the folks who support the scene come out in full force! We had two standing room only concerts: radio station WMNF on Thursday May 29th and the Studio @ 620 on Saturday May 31st. WMNF (in Tampa Florida) had been playing my latest record, QuintEssential, in heavy rotation since it’s release in March. Cat worked day and night with WMNF all-around-superstar Carrie Core to line up a concert date for the trio. WMNF also did a fantastic job of promoting the show…they are quite a force in the St. Pete/Tampa Bay area (for us SF Bay area folks think KCSM meets KPFA!!). We performed in WMNF’s live music studio with a standing room only crowd; they were hip, enthusiastic, energetic and they love jazz!!

On Thursday morning we had breakfast with Bob Jones who, by the way, is a great cook in addition to being a talented director, artist, and all-around renaissance man! At breakfast wet met a good friend of Bob’s, Herb Snitzer. Herb is the embodiment of jazz history and in specific jazz photo history. You know those shirts you ssee folks wearing with Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Nina Simone, etc on them? Herb took most of those photos!! Ya, that’s right…he was there documenting it all with his camera…pretty cool…Herb signed a copy a copy of his book ‘Jazz – A Visual Journey’ for me…he was such a sweetheart.

AT WMNF we met Tracy May. Tracy turned out to be a great guy, wonderful photographer, and the 5th member of the Terrence Brewer team in Florida. Tracy took some kick-ass photos (displayed below) at both the WMNF concert and then later in the week at the Studio @ 620 concert. Thanks Tracy and we’ll see you next spring!!

The Studio @ 620 concert on Saturday night was huge success. Another standing room only event with some amazing St. Pete jazz fans in attendance. A lot of jazz artists who reside in the area also turned out in force to come check what the west coast jazz scene had to offer in the way of the Terrence Brewer Trio.

All in all it was a great trip and, what I believe to be, the start of a great yearly journey!

Thanks for Reading! 🙂

Terrence Brewer Trio: Micah McClain – Drums, Brandon Essex – Acoustic Bass, Terrence Brewer – Guitar

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