Stellar Jazz with Billy Davis on the Space Coast Jazz Society stage this summer

VERO BEACH — The Space Coast Jazz Society (SCJS) brings you Stellar Jazz on the second Sunday in August. The performance will be Aug. 11 at 2 p.m. Doors open at 1 p.m.

Stellar Jazz features saxophonist and vocalist Billy Davis, bass player Ron Pirtle, drummer Dimas Sanchez and Marce Palos on keyboards.

“We perform a variety of styles – Latin, swing, hard bop and blues,” says Davis. “We like to mix it up so you want to tap your feet. And…we do it with love.”

Members of this power-packed, versatile quartet are well known to SCJS members and Brevard County jazz aficionados.

Although originally from Iowa and now a resident of Satellite Beach, saxophonist Billy Davis attended the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he studied with Dr. Eugene Rousseau, one of the most renowned classical saxophonists in the world.

Later, Davis toured and performed internationally as part of the opening act for the likes of Eric Burdon, Jim Hall, Black Oak Arkansas, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and other well-known headliners. As a member of the Cedar Rapids Jazz Band, he played with jazz greats such as Ernie Watts, Eddie Daniels, Jimmy Heath, Bob Mintzer and steel pan artist Andy Narell. Davis was a member of the Iowa Arts Council and taught jazz at community based schools and collages for 23 years.

He came to Florida in 2010 and has been performing locally ever since, at public events, private parties and music festivals. Iowa has not forgotten its native son however. In the fall of 2019, Davis will be inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Hailing from Ohio, bassist Ron Pirtle started playing guitar at age 12 and when old enough, he began traveling and performing with bands throughout Ohio and neighboring Pennsylvania. While working with a blues piano player, he discovered jazz and blues, switched to an acoustic bass and nurtured his talent for this pure American art form.

In 2003, he released the CD “Getting in the Groove.” According to Florida Today, Pirtle is “one of the most sought after bass players in Brevard County.”

Dimas Sanchez began playing drums and percussion instruments professionally as a teenager in his home country of Puerto Rico. Originally into salsa, his musical taste expanded to jazz, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican folk music – and so did his skill in playing drums, shekere (dried gourd), bongo, congas, bomba barrels and other unique percussion instruments.

He was taught by some of the best and performed with the likes of David Sanchez, John Benitez, Richie Flores, Jimmy Rivera, Rolando Morales (percussionist for the Lion King), and many, many others. He has played at music festivals in Florida and throughout the world.

Originally from Indiana, keyboardist Marce Palos has played at hotels, festivals and various venues around Florida and in other states. His trio was the resident music group at the famous Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach for nine years. He is active in the local music scene, periodically playing at local venues and, having a military as well as music background, at many VFW functions.

Stellar Jazz is a high-energy, talent-packed quartet that is not to be missed. The eclectic program will include vocals of jazz standards and danceable tunes – if the spirit moves you. The music will be hot, but the temperature inside the Rockledge Country Club is cool. Add some tasty food, cold drinks and good company and you have all the ingredients of a great August afternoon of music and fun.
Space Coast Jazz Society concerts are open to the public. General admission can be paid at the door or purchased online at www.SpaceCoastJazzSociety.org; $10 for members of the Jazz Society and the Rockledge Country Club, $15 for non-members and guests, and no charge for students. Food and beverages are also available for purchase.

The Rockledge Country Club is located at 1591 S. Fiske Blvd., Rockledge, FL 32955. For more information, call Bobbie Vance (321) 960-4897 or email Jazz@SpaceCoastJazzSociety.org. You can also join this unique and fun organization at the concert or through the website.

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