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JU Jazz faculty, combo hitting the stage at Jacksonville Jazz Fest May 24-25

Love Jazz? Look for JU faculty and combo members at this year’s Jacksonville Jazz Festival downtown May 24-25.

The Jacksonville University Jazz Combo 1, under the direction of John W. Ricci, Director of Jazz Studies at JU, performs at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 24, on the Swingin’ Stage at Bay and Marsh streets.

The Gary Starling Group — featuring its legendary guitar-playing namesake, a JU Artist in Residence — performs at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 25, on the Breezin’ Stage at The Jacksonville Landing. Featured with Starling is violinist Russell George, and group members include Billy Thornton on bass (a JU adjunct professor for jazz bass), Peter Miles on drums and Carol Sheehan as vocalist.

See the full schedule here.

John W. Ricci, Director of Jazz Studies at JU

John Ricci’s bio (read more at http://www.johnriccimusic.com)

John Ricci is Director of Jazz Studies at Jacksonville University. He has been a performer, jazz educator, composer and clinician in the North Florida area for more than 12 years. He attended the jazz studies program at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where he was mentored directly by internationally recognized saxophonist and jazz pedagogue Jerry Coker and former Art Blakey Jazz Messenger Donald Brown. He then attended Florida State University, earning a Masters of Music in Jazz Studies under a teaching assistantship. In that time he performed with Blue Note Trumpeter Marcus Printup and at Preservation Hall in New Orleans. He has received numerous awards, including a Downbeat Magazine award in 1995. John has since performed with a myriad of top recording artists and regularly in numerous club dates spanning from New York to Savannah, He’s performed locally as a tenor saxophone soloist with the Jacksonville Symphony Pops Orchestra, the Four Tops, The Temptations, and in festivals including Chijazz Festival in Singapore, as a regular performer in the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, the Savannah Jazz Festival, as a guest artist with pianist/composer Donald Brown in the Knoxville Jazz Festival, and was invited to headline the Inaugural Jacksonville Jazz Series with his own quartet. Most recently, John was invited to open for guitarist phenom Julian Lage, performing his own music with his jazz trio in the prestigious Riverside Fine Arts Concert Series.

Gary Starling’s bio (read more at http://www.garystarling.com):

Gary Starling attended Georgia State University, Florida Junior College, Dick Grove Music Workshop and studied privately with jazz guitarists Joe Pass, Howard Alden, Peter Bernstein and others. As Artist in Residence of Guitar at Jacksonville University, Gary Starling has taught hundreds of aspiring musicians over the past three decades. He has performed with jazz legends Eddie Harris and Nat Adderley as well as Joshua Breakstone, Carla White, Jim Snidero, Irene Reid and many others. He has had the honor of playing with performers such as Bob Hope, Diahann Carroll, Rita Moreno, Empire Brass Quintet, Skitch Henderson, and the Jacksonville Symphony Pops Orchestra as well as a live appearance on Public Radio’s “Whad’ya Know.” He has made more than a dozen appearances at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, and in May 2012, Starling was inducted into the Jacksonville Jazz Hall of Fame. Since 1987, Gary has led his own group performing at various clubs, jazz societies, schools and festivals in the Southeast in addition to thousands of private engagements. Starling spent the late 1960s and 1970s on the road as a working musician. He studied at Georgia State University, Dick Grove Music Workshop in Los Angeles, and privately with jazz guitar master Joe Pass. Additionally, he has had many informal encounters/lessons with various guitarists over the years: Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessel, Larry Coryell, George Benson, John McGlaughlin, Eric Gale, Jack Petersen, Peter Bernstein, Howard Alden and others.