The 2020 Sarasota Jazz Festival, scheduled for earlier in March, may have been canceled as a result of coronavirus concerns, but the sponsoring Jazz Club of Sarasota still presented its Satchmo Award, which honors those who have made a unique and enduring contribution to the living history of jazz.
The Satchmo (titled after Louis Armstrong’s nickname, “Satchel Mouth” or “Satchmo”) went to Rachel Domber and her late husband Mat, founders and operators of Clearwater-based Arbors Records, at a March 12 reception.
Club president Ed Linehan remarks that, “Through their efforts, Arbors has produced hundreds of albums since 1989, representing many classic styles of jazz. The Arbors catalog reads like a Who’s Who of American jazz of the last half century,” including recordings by Venice-based Dick Hyman (an NEA Jazz Master) and the Sarasota festival’s director, Ken Peplowski.
Mat Domber was a lawyer who was also a jazz fan, record collector and listener. The impetus for founding Arbors Records, according to Rachel Domber, was their friendship with Rick Fay, a reedman, singer and composer with a longtime music career who had never recorded as a leader.
That changed with Arbors’ first release, Rick Fay’s Hot Five: Live at Lone Pine 30 years ago. The company now embraces traditional, contemporary and classic jazz as well as the swing styles of the 1930s and beyond and features nationally and internationally acclaimed performers along with rising stars.
The Satchmo Award was designed by the late sculptor Frank Eliscu, a Sarasota resident in his later years who had earlier designed the Heisman Memorial Football trophy.