Friday Night Live! at Main Gate Square

Photos by Denny Schreffler
Alternating Fridays April - August 2014
Main Gate Square - Geronimo Plaza, between Park Avenue and Euclid Avenue on University Boulevard  
All concerts begin at 7pm

A classic, dynamic and inspirational musical genre, performed around the world for decades, will take local audiences on a soulful tour this summer.

The Friday Night Live! Jazz Summer Concert Series line-up has just been announced, taking place at Main Gate Square on alternating Fridays at 7 p.m. Presented by Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, the free performances, coupled with delicious food from nearby local restaurants, provide a great way to begin the weekend.  

“People come to Geronimo Plaza and discover Main Gate is a great place in a lively atmosphere,” said Jane McCollum, Main Gate Square general manager.

Main Gate merchants validate parking for the Tyndall Garage Monday through Friday after 5 p.m. to midnight (all parking fees incurred prior to 5 p.m. are the customer’s responsibility).


Friday, April 4
U of A Jazz Trio

The University of Arizona (UA) Jazz Trio is comprised of members of UA's elite jazz ensemble/big band: the UA Studio Jazz Ensemble (SJE). The jazz ensemble was founded by Tom Ervin in 1972. Jeff Haskell began conducting the ensemble regularly in 1977. In its ranks have sat some of the finest young musicians in Southern Arizona. In the 1980’s, the band was hired to tour with Dizzy Gillespie, a tour that exposed to the students the great teaching expertise that Dizzy had at his command. Since then, the band has backed up some of the most high-profile and legendary jazz artists of our time including Bill Watrous, Bobby Shew, John Fedchock, Brian Lynch, Chris Potter, Michael Davis, and many more. After the group’s second tour throughout China and other international trips, the UA Studio Jazz Ensemble was recently named winner of the 2013 UA Global Excellence Award.

Friday, April 18
Crystal Stark
Jazz Vocals
Crystal Rose Stark is an award-winning pop/R&B singer who brings a positive influence to today’s music scene. Based on her church-singing roots, she knew that she wanted to pursue a full-time career in music.   She made it to the top 44 contestants in American Idol out of the100,000 that tried out across the country. She sang back-up on tour with American Idol runner-up Katharine Mcphee on shows such as Jay Leno, Regis & Kelly, and The Today Show.   In the summer of 2006, Stark entered the gospel music competition, “Music in the Rockies” where she won first place “Best of Show” and was asked to perform at Disney World’s “Night of Joy” alongside Christian artists such as Kirk Franklin, Rebecca St. James, and Mercy Me.  Stark is currently performing around Tucson playing shows for the Tucson Jazz Society, Big Band Express, and wowing audiences with her jazz/soul/R&B group “The Crystal Stark Quintet.” 
Friday, May 2
Sylvan Street

Sylvan Street is a group of seven accomplished musicians – a hip, urban sound taking listeners of all ages on an emotional ride through tribal funk grooves, bittersweet love ballads, jump swing, and blues. Here In America and The Perfect Leaf CD’s are available for purchase. Free The Toronto Nine can be viewed on YouTube and Vimeo. SYLVAN STREET also hosts educational jazz clinics and master classes for high school and collegiate jazz programs nationwide.
Friday, May 16
Gigi Burton
Jazz Vocals
Gigi has a strong history, background and over 25 years of experience onstage, in the arts, and accomplished in a wide variety of dance, music and acting genres. Her work experience and training ranges from musical theater, Opera Voice (lyric soprano), film and stage performance, commercials and voice- overs for TV and radio , promotional work, modeling and print work. She has performed with Arizona Theatre Company, Catalina players and Arizona Rose Theater Co. As a model/ Talent, she has been featured in local magazines, publications and commercials. As a Jazz/ Pop vocalist, Gigi began her professional singing career at age 15, becoming the lead female vocalist for a pop/funk fusion band. Having performed as lead female vocalist and musical director for the Piazza Gavi Jazz Ensemble in 2013, she presently performs with various jazz, R&B, pop and funk fusion bands. She is presently the Chanteuse at Tavolinos Ristorante Italiano and is female vocalist for the 80's New Wave Pop band , 80's & Gentlemen.
Friday, May 30
DeGrazia Band
Spanish Guitar
Domingo DeGrazia blends Spanish guitar passion with the flair of flamenco music. His music couples dynamic rhythms with vibrant Latin, salsa and rock drum beats. An Arizona native, raised with the sounds and imagery of the desert southwest, DeGrazia’s guitar playing has charmed audiences with songs that are as rhythmic as they are percussive, moving from passionate to whimsical and elegant to sorrowful. DeGrazia carries the role of front-man and lead guitar while Grammy nominated artist Jim Pavett brings percussion and live drums. Violinist Beth Daunis brings exotic and soulful violin while Mark Brugler and Aaron Kirk round out the core of the band with bass and rhythm guitar.
Friday, June 13
Butch Diggs
Jazz Sax
Smooth jazz saxophonist, flutist and keyboardist Butch Diggs has worked with Eddie Henderson, Paul Jackson, Jr. Chaka Khan, Joe Henderson, Brian Bromberg, Avant garde drummer Atma Anur and progressive guitarist Craig Easley. He was an original member of the pop/alternative group Question Men in the 1980's, and his current album "Chapter 1" was co-produced by Steve Diggs. On his first solo release, Diggs provided all instruments – saxes, flutes, keyboards, drums, Indian flutes – and effects as well as the writing and arranging of all songs. With his latest release "Dry Heat", he enlisted the help of BDizzy (his son, Brandon) on synthesizer, vocal effects and co-writing.
Friday, June 27
Jazz Telephone     
Jazz Quartet

Jazz Telephone, a jazz quartet, plays original music rooted in the jazz tradition. The musicians approach the music in a unique way, using pop, rock and country, as well as jazz. Individually, all the members of Jazz Telephone are well-respected members of the downtown rock scene, having won numerous Tammies and toured on a national and international level.
Friday, July 11
Reno Del Mar

Latin Acoustic

Reno del Mar is a dynamic acoustic instrumental group that performs beautiful, original guitar and violin music in a wide range of styles that include latin jazz, Americana, western swing, tango, gypsy, flamenco fusion, bebop and blues. The influences of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Mark O’Connor, Django Rheinhardt, Stefane Grappelli, Wes Montgomery, Jean Luc Ponty, Charlie Christian, Ry Cooder, Bill Frisell, John Scofield, Duke Ellington, Bob Wills, rodrigo y gabriela and others permeate Reno del Mar’s compositions and playing styles.

Reno del Mar performs in a variety of ensembles. The trio is usually violin and two acoustic guitars. Beth Daunis plays the violin, Phil Lipman plays an acoustic steel string, and Mark Wilsey plays an acoustic nylon string, Spanish style guitar. A quintet format is also available with bass and drums. All of the songs that Reno del Mar play are composed by Mark Wilsey, Beth Daunis and Phil Lipman.
Friday, July 25

Piano Vocal Jazz – Broadway

ForTheLuvvaMusic is the husband and wife team of Mark and Arlette Willis. Arlette is a soprano and Mark accompanies her at the piano and plays harmonica. Arlette and Mark have been performing for hundreds of clients since High School in 1978. They studied voice under Mr. Brazeal Dennard in Detroit and have traveled across the USA, with invitations to Japan and Russia since. Their LuvvaMusic spans many genres including Jazz, Blues, Broadway, Funk, R&B and Soul.
Friday, August 8
Nick Stanley

Jazz Piano

Nick Stanley began playing piano at age 8. Born in Tucson, Stanley was always listening to the greats from a very early age. Ray Charles, Oscar Peterson, Wynton Kelly, Red Garland, Gene Harris, Ray Brown, Cedar Walton, John Coltrane, Mose Allison, Professor Longhair, James Booker, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick, Jr., Jimmy Smith, Bobby Timmons, Hank Jones, Nat Cole and Art Blakey are among the many influences on his music today. Stanley has had the honor of studying with recent Philadelphia/New York transplant and piano master Gary Moran, and has studied and plays frequently with bassist, trumpeter and educator Scott Black, Pete Swan and others. He has also attended workshops where he received one-on-one and group instruction from John Clayton, Bill Mays, Clarence Acox, Mike Wofford, Benny Green, George Cables, Charles McPherson and Barry Harris. In 2008, he released his debut album, "Introducing Nick Stanley." He is currently house pianist at Hacienda del Sol Resort and works with George Howard in a duo format regularly. Other venues include Kingfisher, Blue Fin, El Conquistador Resort, Old Pueblo Grille with Pete Swan and Sullivan’s Steakhouse, among others.
Friday, August 22
Kelland Thomas

Jazz Saxophone

Comfortable in a variety of musical genres, Kelland Thomas performs frequently in the Southwest and throughout the United States with the Firecracker Jazz Band, the Original Wildcat Jass Band, Big Band Express and Salsarengue. He has also performed with The Four Tops, Diane Schuur, Manhattan Transfer, The Spinners, Sam Moore, Rufus Reid, Jimmy Heath, Donald Walden, Louis Bellson, Marcus Belgrave, Reggie Workman and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. Raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thomas is a world traveler who has performed in several countries. His original composition "Arenal" on Sylvan Street's Here In America LP was inspired by a trip to Costa Rica. His performance on the band's Poverty Stricken was selected for the 54th GRAMMY Awards Entry List for Best Improvised Jazz Solo. Thomas received his doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Michigan, and he is currently Associate Professor of Music at the University of Arizona.


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