PANAMA CITY — The 12th annual Jazz by the Bay Festival returns to Oaks by the Bay Park in St. Andrews this weekend featuring six jazz bands playing music covering Dixieland, Latin and mainstream styles.
The festival opens at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the Pavilion, then continues at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. But even after the festival wraps up, the music will continue in a post-festival jam at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Los Rancheros by the Bay.
Headlining the festival will be the Tom Fischer New Orleans All-Stars, the house band at Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Fischer, an acclaimed Dixieland clarinetist,has played with Al Hirt’s Band, the Banu Gibson Band, the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra and the Silver Leaf Jazz Band. His most recent CD release is “Fritzel’s New Orleans Jazz Band II.” At the festival, Fischer will be joined by trombonist Rick Trolsen, a New Orleans legend; Barry Foulon on banjo; Gerald French on drums; Charlie Fadella on trumpet; and Steve Pistorius on string bass.
Other groups appearing are Joe Murphy and the Jazz Tuba Experience; Stephanie Pettis & Rio; Josh Scalf and the Like Jay and Kai Quintet; Pensacola vocalist Kitt Lough Quintet; and the Dr. Jill and Gary Wofsey Sextet, who will be opening the festival. Jill Wofsey, a Yamaha performing artist, teacher and clinician, has recorded three CDs on jazz flute. Her husband, Gary Wofsey, a Berklee School of Music graduate, made his musical mark in New York City as the leader of a 13-piece jazz orchestra and has recorded three albums.
“I’m going to hear them Friday night in the park,” said flutist Stephanie Pettis, member of the six-piece band Rio, who has performed with Jill Wofsey in the past.
The Wofsey Sextet will include Jill Wofsey (flute, voice, guitar, bass guitar); Gary Wofsey (trumpet, flugelhorn, valve trombone); Joe Goldberg (tenor sax); Waldron Dunkley (trombone); Robin Sherman (bass violin); and Charles Pagano (drums), who also will be playing drums with Stephanie Pettis & Rio on Saturday.
“We will be specializing in high-energy Latin with Brazilian and Latin songs,” said Pettis, who never slows down and attributes this to the vitality of her Greek parents.
“I just call on my energetic genes,” she said. “You need to come and hear it; the music is infectious. People get up and dance. I don’t even know what I’m doing until I see the videos.”
On Saturday afternoon, Pettis and Pagano will perform with Tom Latensa on bass, Gene Howell on keyboards, Sal Salaz on bongo and timbale, and Jimmy Medina on congas — “He just moved here from New York; he’s the real deal,” said Pettis, who has been playing in the band for the past 20 years.
Originally based out of Atlanta, the group’s music encompasses styles ranging from jazz to Latin, Brazilian and reggae. Their CD, “We Were Dancing,” showcases the music on the move.
Stephanie Pettis & Rio have toured in the East and southeastern U.S. as far south as Key West, and have completed several U.S.O. tours of Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, France, Egypt and Turkey. At Jazz by the Bay, the band will be going on after the Kitt Lough Quintet.
Kitt Lough, who resides in Pensacola, has spent the past 20 years performing songs from the great American Songbook, including at a variety of jazz spots in New Orleans and at Nashville, Tenn.’s premier jazz venue, F. Scott’s, which led to her debut CD, “Orange Colored View.” Joining her on the festival stage will be Gino Rosaria (piano); Steve Gilmore (bass); Fred Domulot (drums); and Sandy Spivey (sax).
This will be the first time for Panama City native Josh Scalf to appear on stage at the festival, though he has been in the audience.
“I was born and raised here,” he said. “I’m back after having lived in Alabama and traveling the world with Royal Carribbean.”
A music graduate of Troy University, he served as a member of the Montgomery Symphony in the low brass section. During the cruises, he spent six-month stretches away from home and is happy to be back with family and friends.
“I’m happy there is a more vibrant music scene than there used to be in Panama City,” said Scalf, who is a professional freelance musician working with bands along the Gulf Coast.
Scalf will play Friday night with the Wofseys and open the festival on Saturday with Gilmore and Pagano.
“It’s a good little group of local musicians,” said Scalf, who will be performing on the trombone. “What I’m doing is a tribute to J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding — pretty much giants on the trombone, big influences on me as well. For the festival, I decided to go with my first big inspiration.”
Scalf will be followed on stage by recording tuba and electric bass player Joe Murphy, who has played live and on recording projects with artists such as Michael Bolton, Steve Tyrell and The Fifth Dimension. Murphy also has performed on televised broadcasts of Austin City Limits, BET Jazz Classics and the NBC Today Show. He is the producer, arranger and tubaist of a new brass ensemble, The Loudhorns, and he is the co-founder of the ModernJazzTubaProject.
12th ANNUAL JAZZ BY THE BAY FESTIVAL
What: Six bands playing music covering Dixieland, Latin and mainstream styles; presented by Gulf Jazz Society
When: 6:30 p.m. Oct. 19 and 12:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Pavilion at Oaks-By-the-Bay Park at 10th Street and Beck Avenue in Historic St. Andrews
Admission:Free; open to the public; lawn chairs encouraged
Details: 784-2106 or 258-4022
Post-festival jam: 7:30 p.m. Saturday atLos Rancheros at the Park (across from the festival site)
Friday, Oct. 19
6:30 p.m.: Dr. Jill and Gary Wofsey Sextet
7:30 p.m.: Tom Fischer and the New Orleans All-Stars
Saturday, Oct. 20
12:30 p.m.: Josh Scalf and ‘Like Jay and Kai’
1:30 p.m.: Joe Murphy & the Jazz Tuba Experience
2:30 p.m.: Tom Fischer & the New Orleans All-Stars
3:30 p.m.: Kitt Lough Quintet
4:30 p.m.: Stephanie Pettis & Rio
5:30 p.m.: Tom Fischer & the New Orleans All-Stars
7:30 p.m.:After fest jam session at Los Rancheros By the Bay including many festival artists