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Sarasota Jazz Festival music director Ken Peplowski


Despite a last-minute change of venue, the show will go on for the 38th annual Sarasota Jazz Festival, set to take place March 7-10.

The fest was originally planning to present four of its concerts at downtown’s new Art Ovation Hotel. But after construction delays pushed the opening of the hotel past the festival’s dates, organizers moved those concerts to its home of recent years, Riverview Performing Arts Center at Riverview High. (The locations and schedules for two other festival events, the Pub Crawl by Trolley and the screening of the film Django, are unchanged; trolleys leave from the parking lot of Sarasota Municipal Auditorium from 5:30 p.m. March 7 and roam around various destinations downtown, while the movie will be screened March 9 at Burns Court Cinema).

Programming and performance times for the concerts remain the same for the “World of Jazz” celebration, with a mix of long-established musicians and fast-rising young stars. Music director of the festival is Ken Peplowski, who’s been hailed as “arguably the greatest living jazz clarinetist” and has been a frequent performer in the past for Sarasota jazz festivals.

Here’s the festival schedule.

The opening night concert, March 8, with host WUSF director of jazz Mike Cornette, features the Scandinavian Jazztrio (composed of Kristian Leth, Hans Backenroth and Ole Kock Hansen), first with guest vocalist Sinne Eeg and then with Jimmy Greene on sax and Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, before an All-Star Jazz Jam finale with all of the evening’s musicians.

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Vocalist Sinne Eeg

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Guitarist Diego Figueiredo


March 9 offers guitarist Diego Figueiredo, vocalist Chiara Izzi and saxophonist Greene on the first set; with the Scandinavian Jazztrio joined by sax man Houston Person and guitarist Graham Dechter on the second. WUSF’s Whitney James hosts, and another jam closes the evening.

Orlando’s WUCF station host Kayonne Riley introduces the musicians for the March 10 matinee concert. The afternoon features two sets of “mix-and-match” with Scandinavian Jazztrio, Dechter, organist Akiko Tsuruga, drummer Jeff Hamilton, Person, Figueiredo, Izzi, and Ehud Asherie at the piano and Peplowski himself on reeds. A jam closes out that show.


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Pianist Ehud Asherie


And finally the March 10 closing night concert, hosted by retired WUSF on-air host Bob Seymour, welcomes drummer Kristian Leth and bassist Hans Backenroth with Asherie and Peplowski for the first set, and Hamilton, Tsuruga, Dechter and Person for the second set. And, of course, there’s a festival finale jam featuring all of the evening’s musicians.

Call the Jazz Club at 366-1552 or visit for more details and ticket info.

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