According to Wyant, the Arts Council aims to attract nationally and internationally renowned artists who, if not for the series, local jazz fans would have to travel to a bigger city to hear.
“We had been able to bring some of the main jazz artists (to Gainesville) before (the show started) and we realized there was an interest in having artists more often in a more intimate setting,” Wyant said. . “Some of the artists we brought in many years ago were Dave Brubeck, Herbie Mann, Chuck Mangione, Ramsey Lewis – real alumni who would attract a much larger audience because they were recognized in the jazz world. Some of the artists we bring in now may not be so familiar on the big stage, but they are top class musicians. “
While the level of audience engagement depends on the artist, listeners can expect to experience a more personal level of intimacy than their typical concert could afford, according to Wyant.
“They will give the audience a taste of their journey, what they have been involved in and a few stories,” Wyant said. “The artists appreciate the public’s feedback. Sometimes we can have artists that we normally couldn’t afford because they like privacy and audience commentary – often they have to play background music that people don’t really listen to. Although it is a concert, it is a more relaxed atmosphere.
Entering his 39th year on the Arts Council, Wyant hopes the series will inspire listeners to dive a little deeper into jazz, even those who are convinced they don’t like the genre.
“Sometimes people will say, ‘I don’t really like jazz,” Wyant said. “I’m going to say,’ Do you like Frank Sinatra? ‘And they’ll say,’ Oh yeah, I love Frank. ‘ Well, it’s jazz. They don’t realize that there are different kinds of jazz, and they might like one more than the other. Jazz is an American art form. It’s been around a long time, but there are still people who don’t realize that they like this art form, this kind of music, and when they come (to the performances) they are really surprised, it’s always an educational process.
Although the Saturday performances of the annual series are sold out, a limited number of tickets for the Friday performances are still available.
Tickets for the series cost $ 180 per person, guaranteeing all five Friday performances. Tickets to reserve an entire bistro table, seating six, are available for $ 1,080.
Each performance will begin at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7:30 p.m.
The Arts Council will provide coffee, soft drinks and light snacks; participants can bring their own adult drink if they wish. For those who bring wine, the town hall will provide the unblocking service, glasses and ice cubes.
To purchase tickets and inquire about family and group rates, visit www.theartscouncil.net or call 770-534-2787.