Archive for April 9, 2012

On November 29, 2011, the Ocean Shores Jazz Society met and voted not to continue presenting an annual jazz festival. Badge sales, sponsorship and donations have not kept pace with the rising festival costs. While the 2011 festival saw an increase in attendance over the numbers of the past few years, it was not enough to make up for previous losses.

In 1983 the city of Ocean Shores Convention Center had an idea to have a Dixieland Jazz Festival as a way to bring tourists into town during the winter months. The first festival, based on the dream of continuing success, was held October 28, 29 and 30, 1983 with three bands. The event was a success. In 1985 a non-profit group, the Ocean Shores Dixieland Jazz Society, was formed. In 2007, the group became the Ocean Shores Jazz Society, presenting “Jazz at the Beach”, a festival encompassing all jazz music.

This year the Jazz Society held its 29th annual festival with nine bands and a featured guest artist. The attendees included first time festival goers as well as long time participants. The consensus of opinions expressed appreciation for the wide variety of music available for listening and dancing.

Over the years, the Ocean Shores Jazz Society has raised money to support the music program in the North Beach School District. We have sent students to jazz music camps, on educational field trips and helped with equipment and supplies. The monies raised for that purpose will be set up in a fund to continue the support of our youth and their appreciation for jazz music.

Hundreds of hours of volunteer work go into putting on a festival. The Ocean Shores Jazz Society would like to express our gratitude to all of the people over the years who have worked tirelessly to present 29 wonderful festivals. We appreciate the support of the local businesses that have provided sponsorship for the festivals, including local hotels that have provided lodging for band members. Without the generous support of the community, we could not have continued for these 29 years.

Thank you to all, past and present, for creating and sustaining such a fun and fantastic event. It shall be missed like many others in the future.

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Sometimes you have to shake things up, push a little farther, reach a little higher – even when you’re a contemporary jazz foursome that’s been operating at the top of its collective game for two decades.

After twenty years and a dozen albums, in an industry that has undergone sweeping transformations in the past decade, Fourplay knows that the only thing that’s certain, in music or any other business, is change. The latest proof of that axiom is the new face in their lineup – that of guitarist Chuck Loeb, who makes his compelling debut with the quartet on Let’s Touch The Sky, the band’s new recording scheduled for release on October 25, 2010, on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group.

Loeb completes the four-man crew that also includes the band’s founding members: keyboardist Bob James, bassist/vocalist Nathan East and drummer/percussionist Harvey Mason. Let’s Touch The Sky also includes stirring performances by guest vocalists Anita Baker and Ruben Studdard.

The infusion of new blood into the Fourplay lineup creates an opportunity to bring an even newer level of energy and inspiration into a band that is already known for taking chances and pushing the limits of contemporary jazz. “All four of us have been in this business long enough to know that there’s always pressure to compromise, and we don’t want to do that,” says James. “We don’t want to end up in the middle of the pack. We always aim to be leaders, and take the music to another level and raise the standards higher. I think the music on this new record, thanks in large part to Chuck’s early contributions – and to the ongoing team spirit of the band as a whole – is very much a reflection of that philosophy.”

Loeb, who openly admits to being a fan of Fourplay since their earliest recordings, sees his new membership status as the opportunity of a lifetime. “I want to be a part of the legacy they’ve built, going all the way back to their first recording and right up to their most recent one,” he says. “There’s been an incredible level of quality in the musicianship, the writing, the whole sonic palette that they’re famous for. I’m excited to be a part of the next step in the evolution of all that.”

Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30307

Sunday, April 22, 2012 – 7:30 pm