‘All that Jazz’ featured this week on the lawn

February 13, 2021
By Marcy Shortuse

BY T MICHELE WALKER – The Friends of Boca Grande Community Center have managed to keep jazz alive in Boca Grande with their concert series “All That Jazz” made available to a broader audience.

World-renowned trumpeter Dominick Farinacci took to the auditorium stage Monday evening as the performance was livestreamed outside the pavilion and in area homes.

Charming and self-effacing, Cleveland’s Dominick Farinacci was joined by elite drummer, Ulysses Owens Jr. and his working trio, Jonah Pierre on piano and Thomas Milovac on bass.

“This is actually the first time the three of us have ever played together, earlier today at 1:30 p.m. It is a great testament to what incredible artists they are,” Farinacci said.

Jonah Pierre, from Jacksonville and Thomas Milovac, from Orlando, made the drive for the Boca Grande performance.

Trumpeter and Mack Avenue Recording artist Farinacci, graduated from The Juilliard School in 2005, launching his career in Japan with a prolific run of eight albums. He was named the first Ambassador to Jazz at Lincoln Center in Qatar by Wynton Marsalis, working to further integrate music into communities around the world in culturally collaborative ways.

“A dear fellow colleague who went to Juilliard back in the day,” Farinacci began as he introduced Ulysses Owens Jr.. “We were in the first class of the jazz studies program at Juilliard.  It took them 100 years to get their act together. They finally did and we were glad to be in that first group. Our paths have crossed from time to time, but this gig is the first time we’re connecting onstage.”

The award-winning Owens, who is a burgeoning force in the industry,  has been named a Rising Star by DownBeat Critics Poll for five years straight. Owens has toured with Kurt Elling, Joey Alexander and Grammy award-winning artist Christian McBride.

Opening the set with The Gipsy Kings’ hit “Bamboleo,” followed by the delightful “Black Coffee” and an original song by Farinacci which was inspired by time spent in the desert of Qatar, Farinacci demonstrates a style which is subtle with finesse while his sound is raw and authentic.

“If you notice I’m doing a lot of talking. I think I’ve played my instrument twice in the past year and the trumpet is a physical instrument,” Farinacci explained, while interacting with the audience. The impressive ensemble sounded like they had been playing together for years.

The set continued with Louis Armstrong’s “Sunny Side of the Street,” Cole Porter’s “It’s Alright with Me” and the delightful Dianne Reeves’ “Tango.”

Farinacci’s stylistic ties to Armstrong are clear, with his brilliant improvisations that are never overdone, always melodically intact, and with spot-on intonation.

With wine and hors d’oeuvres precariously balanced on the back of golf carts, audience members were able to enjoy the jazz stylings from the comfort of their carts. The live performance which took place in the auditorium was simulcast to the Woman’s Club Room, drive-in style at the community center lawn as well as livestreamed to individual homes.

The evening ended with a standing ovation; gratitude for a rare evening of fine jazz, which is alive and well in Boca Grande.