Valerie Gillespie kicks off 11th annual St. Petersburg Jazz Festival – Creative Loafing Tampa

There’s jazz on the lineup, and it runs through March 3.

Eea40Cover10women Gillespie11Valerie Gillespie, who plays St. Pete Jazz Festival at Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg on February 27, 2019.Shanna Gillette

It won’t wrap until March 3, but the 11th annual St. Petersburg Jazz Festival has already arrived. Saxophonist Valerie Gillespie (a member of Grammy-winning Tampa band Chuck Owen and The Jazz Surge) has played with icons like Chick Corea, Diana Ross and Ray Charles, and she kicks things off on the first night of a festival that speaks directly to all those folks who squint at big-city jazz-fest lineups and snottily say, “Where’s the jazz?” See the full lineup via

St. Petersburg Jazz Festival w/Valerie Gillespie Ensemble Wed. Feb. 27, 7:30 p.m. $25-$35. Side Door Cabaret at Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg.

Remembering Sam with Rivers Lost Former bandmates share stories and pay tribute to the work of jazz saxophonist Sam Rivers, who “retired” in Orlando and ushered a new interest in jazz into Florida. Rex Wertz and David Pate will handle sax for the evening. Thurs. Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m. $25-$35.

Nestor Torres Quartet Latin Grammy Award winner Nestor Torres brings his 14-piece solo discography to St. Petersburg where he’ll be backed by pianist Jorge Sosa, bassist Mauricio Rodriguez and drummer Dimas Sanchez. Fri. March 1, 7:30 p.m. $25-$35.

Alexis Cole with the Helios Jazz Orchestra Fans of Sarah Vaughan and Anita O’Day will enjoy Cole, who has turned heads at New York Jazzmobile and Montreux Jazz Festival while also playing alongside the oston Pops and New York Philharmonic. Sat. March. 2 7:30 p.m. 

Martin Bejerano Trio Roy Haynes collaborator Martin Bejerano will sit at the piano to play cuts (including some from his Grammy-nominated 2004 album) as part of this gig that gives him a break from his duties at the Frost School of Music in Miami. Sun. March 3, 7:30 p.m. $25-$35.

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