The annual springtime Concert Under The Stars takes place at Bok Tower Gardens Saturday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m., featuring an unforgettable evening of Gypsy Jazz with The John Jorgenson Quintet. Violinist Ashley Liberty and pianist Daniel Strange will open the show.
“This year’s Concert Under The Stars takes guests back to the Parisian jazz haunts of the 1930s and 1940s,” says Brian Ososky, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at the Gardens. “The music has a swinging, upbeat sound that will really connect with concert-goers. John Jorgenson is one of the best in the business, and people are going to be blown away when they hear him on the guitar; it’s unbelievable.”
The group’s style has been called Gypsy Jazz after the dynamic string-driven swing created by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli in 1930′s Paris, but Jorgenson’s compositions draw in elements from Latin, Romanian, Classical, Rock and Greek styles, so “21st-Century World Music” is perhaps a more apt description.
Known for his blistering guitar licks and mastery of a broad musical palette, Jorgenson has earned a reputation as a world-class musician and guitarist who has collaborated with the likes of Elton John, Luciano Pavarotti, Bonnie Raitt and Bob Dylan. In addition to acoustic and electric guitars, he is also regularly featured on the saxophone, clarinet, bouzouki, pedal steel, mandolin and vocals, and has garnered recognition for contributing to numerous platinum-selling and Grammy-winning albums.
First coming to national attention in the mid-1980’s as co-founder of successful country-rock act The Desert Rose Band, an eclectic array of artists such as Bob Seger and Barbara Streisand were drawn to add Jorgenson’s artistry to their own recordings. Elton John invited Jorgenson to join his band in 1994 for an 18-month tour that stretched into a six-year stint of touring, recording and TV appearances with the British superstar, in addition to collaborations with other artists including Sting and Billy Joel.
The Washington Post writes, “If there were a Summer Olympics for guitarists, Jorgenson would be a sure-fire gold medalist.” And according to The New York Times, “Jorgenson is perhaps the best jazz guitarist alive.”
Opening this year’s Concert Under The Stars is the husband-wife team of Ashley Liberty and Daniel Strange. Ashley Liberty’s violin playing has taken her from Maine to Miami and around the world, having performed in 13 different countries including Austria, Brazil, Israel and Japan. She has worked with a wide range of artists, including Bruce Hornsby, Andrea Bocelli, Bernadette Peters, Steve Miller and Ricky Skaggs.
Additionally, Ashley has performed many times as a member of the Naples Philharmonic and the Miami City Ballet Orchestra. She was also the lead violinist for the 12 Irish Tenors for their Canadian concert dates.
As a complete styles pianist and accompanist, Daniel Strange has performed on a variety of stages from Carnegie Hall to NBC’s The Today Show. As a composer, he has written and arranged for numerous musical settings including jazz, pop, choral, and orchestral.
Daniel has worked with critically-acclaimed artists representing multiple genres, and has played in orchestra pits for the national touring companies of Wicked, Jersey Boys, Les Miserables, West Side Story, Dreamgirls, Young Frankenstein, Legally Blonde, and A Chorus Line.
“The music is going to be fantastic, but it’s also about the whole experience in the unique, outdoor setting of our Great Lawn,” Ososky said. “There’s nothing quite like relaxing with friends and family on picnic blankets and camp chairs on a sprawling green hillside and enjoying three hours of live music with the 205-foot Bok Tower as your backdrop.”
Gardens’ carillonneur Geert D’hollander will give a special pre-concert performance on the Singing Tower carillon. There will also be a picnic contest with prizes awarded for Best Americana picnic, Best Jazz picnic, and Best Overall.
For food sales, the Blue Palmetto Cafe will stay open until 7 p.m. Beverages will be available to purchase on the concert lawn throughout the event. Pre-ordered boxed picnics are available by calling 863-676-1355. The Visitor Center and Tower & Garden Gift Shop will remain open until after the concert is over.
Ticket prices for the 2015 edition of “Concert Under The Stars” are $20 in advance ($18 members), and $8 children ages 5 to 12. Day-of-show tickets are slightly higher at $25 adults and $10 children. For tickets or more information, visit boktowergardens.org or call 863-734-1222.