Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Jewel of the Ridge Jazz Festival - Lake Wales Florida comes alive with world-class jazz April 8-11, 2015

Jazz gems shine during expanded 
Second Annual 
Jewel of the Ridge Jazz Festival

Wednesday, April 8th through Saturday, April 11, 2015

Apr 8: New Orleans Nighthawks; 12:30 p.m.; Polk State JD Alexander Center; 152 E Central Ave, Lake Wales; FREE.
Apr 9: Randy Corinthian; 12:30 p.m.; Polk State JD Alexander Center; FREE.
Apr 9: Omar Sosa Quarterto Afro Cuban Latin Jazz Band; 7 p.m.; Bok Tower Gardens; $50.
Apr 10: Larry Coryell Concert; 12:30 p.m.; Polk State JD Alexander Center; 152 E Central Ave, Lake Wales; FREE.
Apr 10: Randy Corinthian and Omar Sosa Quarterto Afro Cuban Latin Jazz Band; 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Polk State Lake Wales Arts Center; FREE
Apr 11: Polk State Jazz Ensemble; Lake Wailes Park; 3 p.m.
Apr 11: Harrison School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble; Lake Wailes Park; 4 p.m.; FREE.
Apr 11: Victoria de Lissovoy and Charlie “Topp” Hines; Lake Wailes Park; 5:15 p.m.; FREE.
Apr 11: Larry Coryell Trio; Lake Wailes Park; 7 p.m.; FREE.

The Second Annual Jewel of the Ridge Jazz Festival will begin on Wednesday, April 8 with expanded concert venues through Saturday, April 11. Presented by Polk State College and the Lake Wales Arts Council, the caliber of internationally acclaimed jazz artists will provide an experience unlike any other in Polk County culminating in a grand finale “blow out” from 3 to 9 p.m. on the shores of Lake Wailes Park. 

From jazz rock pioneer and guitarist Larry Coryell, to Omar Sosa’s Quarteto Afrocubano Latin Jazz Band, saxophonist Randy Corinthian and other artists, the star-studded Festival is expected to attract fans from throughout Florida. Local jazz fans will recognize trumpeter Charlie “Topp” Hines, featured on the poster for the second year, who will perform along with pianist and vocalist Victoria de Lissovoy, the New Orleans Nighthawks, the Polk State Jazz Ensemble and the Harrison Jazz Ensemble

“It’s going to feel like you’re visiting a jazz club on the west coast or in New York,” says Osubi Craig, M.A., Polk State Lake Wales Arts Center director, who created and organized the event timed to coincide with Jazz Appreciation Month in April. 

New this year, an exhibition curated by the Polk Museum of Art, “Body & Soul,” pays homage to the spirit of jazz with photographs and paintings from Herman Leonard and others in the Michael Crews Gallery April 7 through May 10.

Also new, the Jazz Festival has expanded to include twoPolk State campuses in Lake Wales, the shores of Lake Wales Park and Bok Tower Gardens for a concert with Sosa’s band at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 9. The seven-time Grammy-nominated pianist, composer and bandleader emigrated from Cuba in 1993. In 2003, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Smithsonian Associates for his contribution to the development of Latin jazz in the United States. Sosa’s fresh and original urban sound fuses a wide range of jazz, world music, hip-hop and electronic elements with his native Afro-Cuban roots. Sosa is joined by fellow Camag├╝eyanos, Ernesto Simpson on drums, and Leandro Saint-Hill on alto saxophone, flute and clarinet, and Mozambican electric bassist Childo Tomas. Visit for more information.

Called the “godfather of jazz-fusion,” legendary guitarist Larry Coryell will headline the Jazz Festival with his trio. With more than 100 albums and CD’s, the maestro is a master guitarist of all styles and composer of jazz and classical compositions who still records and tours worldwide. He has graced the front page of The Rolling Stone magazine and the inside pages of many others. From Miles Davis to Jimi Hendrix, to name-drop just a few, the list of artists with whom Coryell has performed is a who’s who of jazz superstars. Visit for more information.

Back by popular demand, saxophonist Randy Corinthian will share the Festival stage. Trained at Florida A & M University and Florida State University, Corinthian has shared the stage with jazz greats including Ellis Marsalis. The CEO of RC Music Group, Corinthian also has performed with Victor Goines, Ron Isley, Debbie Reynolds, Mike Phillips, Rick Watford and Alex Bugnon. He graduated from Florida A&M University with a B.S. and master’s degree in music education. An adjunct professor of music at Broward College, Corinthian teaches music in the public school system and was honored by Legacy Magazine as one of South Florida’s 40 under 40 Black Leaders of Today and Tomorrow in 2012. 

In addition to performing on trumpet, Hines was instrumental helping Craig and others envision the Jazz Festival. “Timing was everything,” says Hines, who discussed the idea with fellow Lake Wales jazz artist de Lissovoy for years. “When Osubi Craig was hired as the director of the Polk State Lake Wales Arts Center, he shared our vision and said ‘Let’s do it!’” 

Although too humble to toot his own horn, Hines’ life story has impressed friends like Barbara Connor, Arts Council vice president. “Charlie overcame tremendous obstacles during segregation to become a great musician who attended Boston’s Berklee School of Music and was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1978. He’s one of the jewels of our community who makes our lives richer with all he contributes through his many volunteer activities.”

Hines’ interest in music began at age 7 beating on wash tubs on his back porch in Newnan, Ga. Picking up the trumpet at age 12, Hines has played professionally for 55 years. His career started at age 17 in the Air Force Band, allowing him to play for two U.S. Presidents. Jazz influences include Paul Mitchell, John LaPorta and Duke Pearson. Performing in the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and the Duke Person Big Band, he toured with R&B groups Jackie Wilson, Al Green and Johnnie Taylor. An all time favorite was Mary Wells, the 1960s Queen of Motown, who recorded “My Guy” and other hits. 

Nearing age 73, Hines credits his wife Melissa for keeping him from becoming bitter because he never received royalties for his recordings. “Music is supposed to lift your spirit. I try to paint a picture with each note I play so you can hear the full story of everything I have lived and the joy within the pain I experienced. I have a great life.”

Performing on piano and vocals with Jazz Victoria Ensembles, de Lissovoy, was trained in the classical music tradition since age 2. Her career has spanned the Chicago, San Francisco and New York City areas, and includes local performances with the Child of The Sun Jazz Festivals, Lake Wales Arts Center, Polk Theater, Polk Museum of Art and Bok Tower Gardens. Also a Kindermusik instructor and licensed clinical social worker working in the hospital and private practice settings, she served as vice president of Arts In Healthcare, Polk, Inc., incorporating arts in health care as influential in the healing process. 

Concerts will be performed at Polk State JD Alexander Center, 152 E Central Ave.; Polk State Lake Wales Arts Center, 1099 State Rd. 60; Bok Tower Gardens and on the shores of Lake Wailes Park in Lake Wales. 

Call (863)298-6883 or email to reserve a free seat. Visit, www.lakewalesartscouncil or for more information.

About the Lake Wales Arts Council:
The mission of the Lake Wales Arts Council is to build a community where art and culture thrive, enriching the lives of people. Its vision is to create a vibrant cultural arts destination. Most of the Council’s permanent collection is now on display at the Lake Wales Municipal Administration Building, 201 W Central Ave, 8 a.m. to p.m. Monday through Friday. The Arts Council is headquartered in the Polk State Lake Wales Arts Center, 1099 State Rd. 60, Lake Wales, FL 33853. Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 863-676-8426, or visit and for more information.

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1 comment :

  1. Sounds great, and the price (free!) is right. :-)) Thank you for alerting us to this opportunity.