Jazz on the Chesapeake Turns 10 Years Old

The concept of JOTC was conceived ten years ago at a small dinner party hosted by Al and Marty Sikes in 2009. Recently retired to Easton, Al Sikes shared with dinner guest and then Chesapeake Music President, Rush Moody, how much he and Marty loved attending Jazz concerts. Moody responded by asking Al to bring jazz concerts to the Eastern Shore and Jazz on the Chesapeake was born.

Monty Alexander’s first performance was on Sept 5, 2009 at the Avalon Theatre and thus began the unique relationship between this world-renowned artist and our community. “After the audience was particularly enthusiastic” wrote the Star Democrat, “Alexander stepped away from his piano, took the microphone, stepped to the edge of the stage and said, ‘It feels like I am in Carnegie Hall’.”

Since that casual dinner party, JOTC has become a major program of Chesapeake Music (CM) presenting up to four concert events annually with the Monty Alexander Jazz Festival over the Labor Day weekend serving as its flagship event. JOTC world-class concerts feature marvelous musicians from New York City and other Jazz centers on the east coast. Over fifty musicians have graced the JOTC stage including Monty and fan favorites like Chuck Redd on vibes and drums, trumpet master Dominick Farinacci; vocalists Lena Seikaly, Rene Marie, Allan Harris, Dee Daniels and pianists, Cyrus Chestnut and Joe Alterman.

JOTC has also forged venue relationships with the Academy Arts Museum, Oxford Community Center and of course the Avalon Theatre, which has hosted the festival for ten years. “JOTC succeeds because of a lot of volunteer and community collaboration”, according to CM Executive Director, Don Buxton.

JOTC kicked off its 10th anniversary 2019 jazz concert series on Valentine’s Day, featuring rising jazz star Camille Thurman and the Darrell Green Trio at the Academy Arts Museum. The sold out crowd experienced Camille Thurman’s incredible vocal abilities and mastery of the saxophone.

On Saturday, April 27, JOTC will hold its annual fundraiser to honor its 10th anniversary at the Talbot Country Club at 5:30pm. Attending this intimate evening of conversation and music will be Monty Alexander, along with a special performance by vocalist Lena Seikaly and guitarist Steve Herberman. For ticket information and to learn more about how to support JOTC, please contact Lois Campbell (410-819-0380).

The next musician taking the JOTC stage will be Sammy Miller and The Congregation on Saturday, May 25 at 8pm at Oxford Community Center. The Grammy-nominated musician and his “Congregation” are known for their joyful jazz sound rooted in swing. Their music spans the American songbook with lively, toe-tapping rhythms that feels as good as it sounds. Visit https://www.chesapeakemusic.org/jazz/ for ticket information.

According to JOTC founder Al Sikes, “It’s gratifying to see how much we have grown over 10 years and we intend to present an outstanding 2019 Monty Alexander Jazz Festival over Labor Day weekend celebrating not only our big milestone but the 100th birthday of Nate King Cole as well”.

Categories: Jazz, Press Releases