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20th annual Sounds of Jazz and Blues Festival

‘Amazing’ event next weekend at Jaycee Park

March 23, 2009

Next weekend the Cape will be filled with the sounds of jazz!

The 20th Annual Sounds of Jazz and Blues Festival returns for another year of great music, capping off Celebrate Cape Coral month festivities that began with the TIB-sponsored block party and night parade.

Like in previous years, the festival features an entire day's worth of live jazz and blues, with national recording jazz sensation Wayman Tisdale as the headliner.

"We create an amazing atmosphere," said Todd King, special events director for Cape Coral. "Last year was absolutely spectacular ... just the liveliness of the crowd, and the weather was great. In my three years with the event, last year was the best I've ever seen. And this year is going to be even better."

King expects roughly 5,000 people to show for this unique event, held at Jaycee Park.

King said the event really draws jazz and blues enthusiasts from both sides of the bridge, pulling people from as far away as Tampa.

Fact Box

To Go

What: 20th Annual Sounds of Jazz and Blues

Where: Jaycee Park at the end of Beach Parkway

When: Saturday, March 28, gates open at 3 p.m., concert starts at 5 p.m.

Tickets: $20 in advance; $25 at the gate. V.I.P. tickets are also available, including a catered dinner, wine and parking.

Information: 573-3125

"It wraps up a great month of events that celebrate the Cape," King added. "It brings an amazing genre of music to our citizens and surrounding Southwest Florida."

The entertainment lineup is indeed a fascinating one. Head-liner Tisdale has had an interesting, and varied career. Before taking on the challenges of composing music, Tisdale was a collegiate and professional basketball player.

As a member of the Oklahoma Sooners basketball team, Tisdale was a three-time all Ameri-can, before going on to win a gold medal with the 1984 Olympic Basketball team, coached by Bob Knight.

In the 1985 NBA draft, Tisdale was selected second overall by the Indiana Pacers, beginning a 12-year career in the NBA, during which he played for not only the Pacers, but the Phoenix Suns and the Sacramento Kings, where he posted the best numbers of his career. In all, Tisdale scored over 12,000 points and grabbed over 5,000 rebounds during his professional tenure.

His musical career kicked into gear in 1995 with the release of his first album. "Power Forward," though by no means was music new to Tisdale. It was more like a return to music for the basketball player, who had been active in his church band and with several other musical groups as a kid.

Deciding to pursue music full time, he retired in 1997, and has released eight albums since.

Recently, Tisdale has faced some serious adversity, having had his right leg amputated below the knee following a battle with bone cancer.

His Cape performance marks one of his first trips back to the stage following his recent health issues.

"We're really excited because Wayman Tisdale has just recovered from cancer," King said. "They had to take the lower part of his leg, and we'll be one of his early openings since his recovery."

Fort Myers-based WZJZ 100.1 Smooth Jazz DJ Randi Bachman said she was really looking forward the Tisdale's performance, and thinks his recent battle with cancer will make his performance that much more special. WZJZ is one of the concert's sponsors.

"He's a guy with a big heart and fabulous talent. He's had one hit album after another," Bachman said. "He plays the base like its a toy and he's an exciting person to see on stage. I'm willing to bet the amputation hasn't slowed him down much. We're looking for a fabulous performance from Wayman and his band."

Although he is the headliner, Tisdale is but one of the three acts to grace the stage for the concert.

The opening act is the Damon Fouler Group from Tampa, which, according to King, has opened up for blues great B.B. King. Following the Damon Fouler Group is Heather Brooks with her band Modulation.

Brooks and Modu-lation are homegrown, based out of Naples and Fort Myers. Talent organizer Paul Easton said that Modulation and Brooks are well known throughout the region.

"Modulation features some of the best musical talent we have in Southwest Florida," Easton said. "They are very well known throughout the region."

Easton added that securing Tisdale and his band as the headliners was a "fairly easy process."

Tisdale was scheduled to perform at another South-west Florida Jazz festival, but since he couldn't meet the date for Jazz on the Green, he happily kicked in for Sounds of Jazz.

"We were able to step right in and pick up Way-man's date," Easton added. "He's a headliner in his own right, and he compares very favorably with headliners we've had in the past."

The event really seems to have something to please all jazz and blues enthusiasts, or even the casual music lover who shares a passion for live instrumentation and song.

Deejay Randi Bach-man thinks this year's jazz concert is going to be great, and maybe even the best ever.

Bachman said, "This is sure to be an extraordinary 20th anniversary for blues and jazz at the park."

The Sounds of Jazz and Blues concert is at Jaycee Park, Saturday, March 28, be-ginning at 5 p.m.

General admission parking is located south of beach parkway on Southeast 15th Avenue between Southeast 44th Street and Southeast 46th Street. Shuttle buses will be provided to and from the concert. General admission parking and the shuttle ride are free of charge.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase at the event. Coolers are permitted for families and children.

Tickets for Sounds of Jazz are available at locations throughout the Cape and Lee County, including SunTrust banks, Cape Coral City Hall, Brent's Music and Sound in Fort Myers, and Rainbow Records in Cape Coral.

Ticketing is also available via the phone at 573-3121, and online by visiting

Ticket prices are $20 in advance, or $25 at the gate. V.I.P. tickets are also available, including a catered dinner, wine and parking at Jaycee Park.

For additional information, call 573-3125.



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