Jazz at the Center
Tribute to Louis Armstrong
Music & Arts Community Center
2020-2021 Season Sponsor: Gunterberg Charitable Foundation – Culliton Family
Paul Gavin, Drums
Brandon Robertson, Bass
Roy Gerson, Piano
Randy Sandke, Trumpet
Terry Myers, Clarinet
What a Wonderful World
When the Saints Go Marching In
Struttin’ With Some BBQ
Someday You’ll Be Sorry
St. James Infirmary
Sunny Side of the Street
Louis Daniel Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971), nicknamed “Satchmo”, “Satch”, and “Pops”, was an American trumpeter, composer, vocalist, and actor who was among the most influential figures in jazz. His career spanned five decades, from the 1920s to the 1960s, and different eras in the history of jazz.
Armstrong was born and raised in New Orleans. Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an inventive trumpet and cornet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the focus of the music from collective improvisation to solo performance. Around 1922, he followed his mentor, Joe “King” Oliver, to Chicago to play in the Creole Jazz Band. In Chicago, he spent time with other popular jazz musicians, reconnecting with his friend Bix Beiderbecke and spending time with Hoagy Carmichael and Lil Hardin. He earned a reputation at “cutting contests” and his fame reached band leader Fletcher Henderson. Henderson persuaded Armstrong to come to New York City, where he became a featured and musically influential band soloist and recording artist. Hardin became Armstrong’s second wife and they returned to Chicago to play together and then he began to form his own “Hot” jazz bands. After years of touring, he settled in Queens, and by the 1950s, he was a national musical icon, assisted in part, by his appearances on radio and in film and television, in addition to his concerts.
With his instantly recognizable rich, gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer and skillful improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song. He was also skilled at scat singing. Armstrong is renowned for his charismatic stage presence and voice as well as his trumpet playing. By the end of Armstrong’s career in the 1960s, his influence had spread to popular music in general. Armstrong was one of the first popular African-American entertainers to “cross over” to wide popularity with white (and international) audiences. He rarely publicly politicized his race, to the dismay of fellow African Americans, but took a well-publicized stand for desegregation in the Little Rock crisis. He was able to access the upper echelons of American society at a time when this was difficult for black men.
Armstrong appeared in films such as High Society (1956) alongside Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Frank Sinatra, and Hello, Dolly! (1969) starring Barbra Streisand. He received many accolades including three Grammy Award nominations and a win for his vocal performance of Hello, Dolly! in 1964. In 2017, he was posthumously inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.
Gulf Coast Jazz Collective
Paul Gavin is a Drummer, Teacher, Composer & Arranger in Tampa, FL. Paul has played regularly with great musicians in the Tampa bay area including trumpet player James Suggs, singer Gloria West, and bassist Michael Ross. He also plays regularly in the Fort Myers area with trumpet player Dan Miller, guitarist Dan Heck, bassist Brandon Robertson, and the Stardust Memories Big Band.
After almost 4 years of supporting others’ musical projects Paul is now focusing on building his own. Paul currently has two bands. The Vanguard plays his original music, and Mosaic plays the music of Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers.
Paul has received honors for his musicianship as well. In 2013 he was one of the inners of the VSA International Young Soloist Competition and flying out to Washington DC to play with members of the Airmen of Note at the Kennedy Center on the Millennium Stage. In the same year he also won the Downbeat Student award for a collaboration with flutist and composer Jose Valentino. Most recently Paul won a grant from the Young Artists Awards in Fort Myers, FL which will fund the creation of his debut album of his original music.
Brandon L. Robertson is an EMMY® nominated director and notable Upright/Electric Bassist originally from Tampa, FL.
In 2009, he graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a focus on Jazz Studies. In the same year, Brandon became a member of the popular Florida-based jazz trio The Zach Bartholomew Trio. In 2012, the trio released their first album entitled “Out of This Town”, which received notable reviews from jazz critics. In 2015, Brandon performed at the world-famous Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club in New York City with the nationally recognized FSU Jazz Sextet joining members of the JALC Orchestra.
Aside from being an active musician, Brandon is also an advocate in Jazz/Music Education. Brandon has presented jazz clinics, workshops, masterclasses, and guest performances in schools K-12 throughout Florida and taught at the Florida State University Summer Jazz Camps for Middle school and High school students. In the Spring of 2016, he earned his Master of Music in Jazz Performance at Florida State University. During this two-year period, he directed jazz ensembles, small jazz combos, taught various music-related courses at the University each semester, and performed with traveling national acts visiting the campus. He was also a faculty member of Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College School of Music in Tifton, GA where he taught applied bass and helped assist with the jazz ensemble.
Roy Gerson: A jazz pianist, has appeared in over a dozen movies including The Cotton Club Crimes and Misdemeanors.
He has recorded Three CDs, That Gerson Person, I Love Louis and Gerson Swings Disney featuring: Rosemary Clooney, Michael Feinstein and John Pizzarelli. The Roy Gerson Swingtet has performed at manyjazz clubs in New York City such as: the Village Gate, Blue Note, Zanzibar, Irving Plaza along with “Mid Summer Night’s Swing” at Lincoln Center.
Trumpeter and composer Randy Sandke has performed at festivals, clubs, and concerts around the world. He has toured Europe over forty times and performed extensively throughout Japan, the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and India.
Randy has recorded over thirty albums as a leader, primarily on the Concord, Evening Star, Arbors and Nagel-Heyer label. A recent discography, published by the Dutch jazz scholar Gerard Beilderman, runs to 53 pages. Among the artists Mr. Sandke has recorded with include the instrumentalists Michael Brecker, Benny Goodman, Kenny Barron, Dick Hyman, Mulgrew Miller, Bill Charlap, Eric Reed, Frank Wess, Ray Anderson, Chris Potter, Sweets Edison, Flip Phillips, Scott Hamilton, Wycliffe Gordon, Warren Vache, and Mel Lewis; singers include Mel Torme, Jon Hendricks, Rosemary Clooney, Cab Calloway, John Pizzarelli, Ann Hampton Callaway, Gregory Hines, Art Garfunkel, Barbara Carroll, Dr. John, Karrin Allyson, Susannah McCorkle, as well as appearances with Diane Reeves, Sting, Elton John, Billy Joel, Bette Midler, James Taylor, Seth McFarlane, Chaka Khan, Jimmy Witherspoon, Odetta, Catherine Russell, Billy Eckstine, and Joe Williams.
Randy Sandke has played on the soundtracks of several films, including Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Cotton Club,” Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memories,” “American Splendor,” and five Woody Allen movies. On Broadway, Randy played in the production of “Chicago” with Beebe Neuwirth at the City Center, which launched the hugely successful revivals on stage and screen. Randy also played the on-stage Harry James trumpet solo, which climaxes the show “Fosse.” He recorded all trumpet solos for the recent production of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” starring Whoopee Goldberg. He has performed on television in Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, in the U.S. with Benny Goodman for a PBS special, and on the Late Show with David Letterman.
"Terry Myers is undoubtedly one of the best all-around reed players in the country today." So said Buddy Morrow, former leader of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and one of the great musicians and band leaders who was there for the early stages of the "Big Band Era." "His versatility and expertise on the clarinet and saxophone are a treat to the ears",
An Iowa native, Terry was a member of the US Marine Corps Reserves for five years. After college, where he majored in music and education, Terry honed his musical talent and soon developed a successful career in Nashville and New York City. When Terry decided to move to Florida, he quickly became one of the most in-demand musicians in the state. He was a band leader at Disney World's Epcot Center for four years and, for a time, led the band at Rosie O'Grady's, which was part of the popular Church Street Station entertainment complex in downtown Orlando.
In 1990, he became one of the original members of Bill Allred's Classic Jazz Band, performing at jazz festivals all over the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has appeared at the North Sea Festival in Holland, the Birmingham, England, Festival, the Cork Festival in Ireland, the Bern Festival in Switzerland and many others. He, himself, has also toured the world as a guest artist on both clarinet and saxophone to rave reviews.
Featuring the Gulf Coast Jazz Collective