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Clearwater Jazz Holiday
Headliners include Chicago, Tower of Power, Carlile
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Photo courtesy of THE RIES BROTHERS
Local musicians The Ries Brothers open for Chicago Oct. 17 at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday.
CLEARWATER - One of Pinellas County’s signature music events is just around the corner: This year’s Clearwater Jazz Holiday runs Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 17-20, at Coachman Park on the waterfront in downtown Clearwater.

Daily general admission tickets are $10 in advance and $20 the day of the show. Children 12 and younger will be admitted free but must be accompanied by a paying adult. Four-day tickets also are available. Reserved seating prices start at $30 a day in advance. For more information, visit www.c­learw­aterj­azz.c­om or call Clearwater Jazz Holiday office at 461-5200.

The four-day festival will feature performances by some of the hottest names in the genre as well as emerging talent.

The 2013 lineup is as follows:

Thursday, Oct. 17 - Gates open at 4 p.m.

• Lisa Casalino – 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
• The Ries Brothers with Special Guest Vini Lopez – 6 to 7 p.m.
• Chicago – 7:30 to 10 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 18 - Gates open at 4 p.m.

• Gumbi Ortiz and New Groove City – 4:30 to 6 p.m.
• Jane Monheit – 6:30 to 8 p.m.
• An Evening with Paul Brown and Larry Carlton – 8:30 to 11 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 19 - Gates open at 1:30 p.m.

• Chris Godber – 2 to 3:15 p.m.
• Acme Jazz Garage with Belinda Womack – 3:45 to 5 p.m.
• Level 10 – 5:30 to 6:45 p.m.
• Average White Band – 7:15 to 8:45 p.m.
• Tower of Power – 9:15 to 10:45 p.m.
A fireworks show will begin at 10:45 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 20 - Gates open at 1:30 p.m.

• Ruth Eckerd Hall Clearwater Jazz Holiday Youth Jazz Band – 2 to 3 p.m.
• Have Gun, Will Travel – 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
• Lake Street Dive – 5 to 6 p.m.
• Amos Lee – 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
• Brandi Carlile – 8 to 9:30 p.m.

Ries Brothers represents the locals

The Ries Brothers – a local teenage musical duo – are set to open for Chicago on Oct. 17 at the 2013 Clearwater Jazz Holiday.

The Ries Brothers will be the youngest lead-in act to the headliner in the 34-year history of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday. This local band from Clearwater consists of Charlie, 18, and Kevin, 14. They will be joined on stage by Vini Lopez, Bruce Springsteen's original drummer and founding member of the E Street Band. It was 40 years ago when Lopez along with Springsteen and the E Street Band opened up for Chicago on a 36-venue tour, which included Madison Square Garden.

The Ries Brothers play extensively around the Tampa Bay area and have played in Los Angeles and the Midwest. Older brother Charlie has a very unique talent of playing multiple instruments at once. He is the lead singer for the band, plays drums with his right hand and simultaneously plays keyboard base with his left. Kevin is an extremely talented guitar player who also helps out with the background vocals and songwriting for the duo.

The brothers have recorded CDs of their original music in both Tampa and Nashville. They even filmed a video for the song “I Need You,” which can be viewed on YouTube.

The Ries Brothers success hardly came overnight. Their passion for music began at an early age.

“I have just always felt connected to it,” said older brother Charlie. “Listening to the radio, I wanted to be able to produce those sounds and figure out what they were doing.”

Then, in the middle of a family vacation, Charlie found a particular source of inspiration.

“When I was about 8, we took a trip to Las Vegas and the Cirque du Soleil show ‘Love’ had billboards all over the place,” Charlie explained. “I asked my dad what that was all about. It was the first time I really listened to The Beatles.”

Charlie’s dad bought him every Beatles CD.

“I was hooked,” Charlie said. “I was learning the drum parts to every song, trying to sing like Paul McCartney and trying to figure out all those chords. That really took me to the next level.”

Charlie’s younger brother Kevin followed the same path.

“My brother and my dad were always listening and playing music, so I was always around it,” Kevin said. “We took a trip to Orlando when I was 9 years old. We went to visit the Hard Rock Café and took a tour of the memorabilia they had there …”

Kevin was particularly floored by something he saw in the John Lennon Room.

“I saw a video of Jimi Hendrix and also one of his guitars,” Kevin said. “I couldn’t believe what he was doing. After that, I had to find out and had to try to do that. It took a while to learn some of his songs, but there is nothing like that feeling when you learn something you thought was so hard.”

This summer, the brothers were two of only 25 musicians ages 14 to 21 in the state of Florida to be selected for the LA Grammy Museum Music Revolution Project in conjunction with Ruth Eckerd Hall. Following that honor, the brothers learned that they would be performing at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday.

“It's hard to describe how it feels,” The Ries Brothers said in a recent email interview. “It's been our dream for as long as we remember, to play on a huge stage like that. The fact that we're playing before Chicago makes it even more amazing.”

Finding out that they would be opening for an iconic group like Chicago delighted the brothers.

“They're music legends,” the brothers said. “We really couldn't believe it when we heard the news. I know there was a lot of jumping up and down. We're just really pumped and excited now.”

The Ries Brothers also are looking forward to being part of the audience at this year’s festival.

“Really, we are looking forward to seeing all of the acts,” they said. “Chicago, of course, is our

No. 1, but there are going to be so many amazing bands that we really want to watch and learn from them all.”

For information on The Ries Brothers, visit www.r­iesbr­other­s.com.

Festival headliners

Chicago headlines the first day of the festival, taking the stage at 7:30 p.m.

The legendary rock band with horns, Chicago’s wealth of lifetime achievements include a Grammy Award, multiple American Music Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Chicago street dedicated in their honor and keys to and proclamations from an impressive list of U.S. cities.

According to Chicago’s official Facebook page, the band’s record sales top the 100,000,000 mark, and include 21 Top 10 singles, five consecutive No. 1 albums, 11 No. 1 singles and five Gold singles. An incredible 25 of their 32 albums have been certified platinum, and the band has a total of 47 gold and platinum awards.

Chicago is the first American rock band to chart Top 40 albums in five decades.

The lineup on tour will include original band members Robert Lamm on keyboards and vocals, Lee Loughnane on trumpet, James Pankow on trombone and Walt Parazaider on woodwinds, as well as Jason Scheff on bass, vocals, Tris Imboden on drums, Keith Howland on guitar, Lou Pardini on keyboards, vocals and Drew Hester on percussion.

The second day of the festival features an evening performance by Paul Brown and Larry Carlton.

Brown – a two-time Grammy Award winning jazz producer, engineer, and guitarist – started off as a sound engineer at the age of 15. He has since expanded his career into producing hit jazz albums, such as Boney James' “Trust” in 1992, and releasing four of his own albums since his debut release “Up Front” in 2004.

The 2011 Canadian Smooth Jazz Best Vocalist nominee currently has more than 40 No. 1 hits on the Radio & Records' smooth jazz chart, and is considered to be the genre's top producer.

Carlton is an American jazz guitarist, dividing his recording time between solo recordings and session appearances with popular bands. He has won four Grammys for his performances and compositions as well as 19 nominations.

Tower of Power headlines Saturday’s lineup.

According to a press release from Webster & Associates LLC, Tower's musical odyssey actually began in 1968 when Emilio Castillo met Stephen "Doc" Kupka in July of that year.

When Doc auditioned during a band rehearsal at Emilio's house, Emilio's father called him into the kitchen and offered the following advice: "Hire that guy, he's got something." Doc and his signature baritone sax sound were now in the band, and on Aug. 13, 1968, Tower of Power, as they are known today, began playing gigs and soon became very well known in the area. Many other bands came out of the San Francisco Bay area in the late ’60s – bands like The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Big Brother, Journey, Cold Blood and others all helped to define the "San Francisco Sound."

Tower of Power's big break came after playing at a Tuesday night audition at the Fillmore in 1970, when the band was signed to Bill Graham’s San Francisco records and their first album, “East Bay Grease,” was recorded. All of the compositions were original tunes written by Castillo and Kupka. Their next album, “Bump City,” was recorded on the Warner Bros. label, and this led to a string of hits and memorable albums that include many of the songs that fans come out in force to hear, even to this day.

Tower of Power celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2008 at a very special reunion show at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. In addition to the 10 current members of the band, another 20 musicians and vocalists that at one time held a position with the band appeared with them. The show was filmed and is available on DVD. Of the 10 current members, Emilio Castillo, Rocco Prestia, Stephen Kupka, and David Garibaldi are four of the band’s founding members.

Brandi Carlile takes the stage Sunday evening, closing out the festival.

In her early 20s, Carlile landed a record deal with Columbia Records and – with the guidance of producer Rick Rubin – recorded and released her debut album in early 2005. She recorded the album with her twin bothers and initially reluctant band members Phil and Tim Hanseroth.

T-Bone Burnett produced Carlile’s second effort, the 2007 album “The Story.” The album reached No. 58 on the Billboard 200 and features her brothers along with drummer Matt Chamberlain, cellist Josh Neumann and backing vocals by the Indigo Girls on the "Cannonball" track.

The song “The Story” received significant television exposure, helping to broaden Carlile’s audience base. The song was used in an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” and later in advertisements for the Travel Channel series “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.”

Her most recent album, “Bear Creek,” was released in 2012.

Safety measures

A number of safety and security measures have been put in place at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday. Several items and practices will not be permitted at the event, including pets, except registered, seeing eye dogs and service dogs; grills, hibachis or open flames of any kind; glass containers or bottles; coolers, food or drink of any kind; unauthorized vendors; tents, canopies or umbrellas; overnight camping; audio and/or recording devices; in-line skating and skateboarding; littering; guns, knives or weapons of any kind; cell phones or pagers during performances; fireworks; and laser pointers.

Concertgoers should attend all infants and small children. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, sunglasses, sunscreen and identification tags for small children.

For more information, visit www.c­learw­aterj­azz.c­om or call Clearwater Jazz Holiday office at 461-5200.

Jazz & Jambalaya

The Jazz & Jambalaya event will take place Saturday, Oct. 19, 7 to 11 p.m., at Clearwater Main Library, 100 N. Osceola Ave., Clearwater.

Attendees will enjoy the 34th annual Clearwater Jazz Holiday from the library's west terrace overlooking beautiful Coachman Park and the downtown waterfront. Admission to Jazz & Jambalaya includes valet parking, a real-time TV feed from the outdoor stage to a jumbo screen or spectacular views from the roof-top terrace, open bar with a full complement of beverages, and wonderful New Orleans-style fare from local purveyors of fine cuisine such as Clear Sky Beachside Cafe, E&E Stakeout Grill, Rhumba's, Ozona Blue Grilling Co., and Hamptons Haute. All proceeds from this ninth annual fundraiser will support the programs of the Clearwater Library Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not for profit corporation.

For reservations and pricing, call 562-4970, ext. 5189.
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