The Punta Gorda (FL) Chamber of Commerce has announced the dates and the lineup for the10th annual Punta Gorda Wine & Jazz Festival at Laishley Park, on the shore of the picturesque Peace River where it flows into Charlotte Harbor.
Sad to say, there is no jazz on the main stage for the main event on Saturday, February 21, 2015. The three acts are all from the smooth jazz (instrumental pop) genre.) They are saxophonists Mindi Abair (back for the seventh consecutive year) and Dave Koz, and guitarist-singer Nick Colionne, who sounds to me like a young, smooth George Benson without the latter's strong jazz chops.
For true jazz at the festival, we must once again turn to the Jazz Brunch at the nearby Isles Yacht Club on Sunday, February 22. Brunch producer Brian Presley has not yet announced the lineup of local mainstream jazz talent, but it is always a fine mix of Southwest Florida musicians. Presley's firm, Presley Beane Financial Services, sponsors the brunch. Presley has had minimal success through the years in getting jazz onto the main stage. I have no doubt he'll keep trying.
Aside from 2013, which included Sergio Mendes' band and a local mainstream jazz quintet, this festival keeps missing opportunities to share with its devoted main stage audience a richer, deeper, broader musical palette encompassing a variety of jazz genres. And that is a pity. It could be so much more.