The 27th Annual Balcones Heights Jazz Festival is proud to announce its 2020-2021 concert season kicking off with a virtual Christmas jazz concert, a gift for jazz fans across the state to enjoy during the week of Christmas and through the New Year.
The free virtual concert features a pre-recorded 1.5-hour performance of jazz headliner, MiChelle Garibay-Carey, with PM Soul and Toro Flores with Zarabande. The virtual concert debuted on the City of Balcones Heights YouTube channel on Dec. 22 at 7 p.m., for fans to enjoy in the comfort of their homes.
The Balcones Heights Jazz Festival will evolve from a summer concert season and expand to a series of four different concerts, spread throughout the year, beginning with the holiday concert and ending with its traditional outdoor concert at Wonderland of the Americas in the summer. Organizers plan to host at least four free concerts during the 2020-21 concert series. The Balcones Heights Jazz Festival was postponed in the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We believe it was time for the Balcones Heights Jazz Festival to evolve into a concert series allowing our jazz fans to experience these concerts all year long. Especially as live entertainment has been sidelined due to COVID-19, we are thrilled to bring these two top performers on stage for a virtual holiday rendition,” said Director Economic Development & Public Affairs at City of Balcones Heights, Lorenzo Nastasi. “From our holiday concert to the summer concert, we are excited to feature a stellar line up of talented and accomplished artists.”
“We are so thrilled that we are able to adapt like this,” said City of Balcones Heights Mayor, Suzanne de Leon. “Bringing yet another facet of Christmas joy to Balcones Heights Jazz Festival fans is so important, particularly now and we are looking forward to bringing in a summer event concluding the series.”
Having been around jazz her whole life MiChelle Garibay-Carey, daughter of legendary Chicano bluesman Randy Garibay is a long-time favorite of San Antonio residents. She will be joined by PM Soul bandmates led by her husband and music director Pat Carey who has performed in the Balcones Heights Jazz Festival for several years. The “first lady of soul” Garibay-Carey will feature music from her new album “Love Dance”, released on the Big Bib Entertainment label. The performance will also include holiday classics such as a local spinoff of “Please Come Home for Christmas.” Garibay-Carey opened up for the all-female led Balcones Heights Jazz Festival in 2019.
The next scheduled performance, Toro Flores with Zarabande, has been playing Latin jazz in the San Antonio music scene for more than 25 years. When he isn’t playing jazz, he is an educator at Frank Madla Accelerated Collegiate Academy. His quintet group features Toro on marimba and vibraphone; Joe Caploe, drums, who is a music professor at the Alamo Colleges District and UTSA; and Mark Little on keys, who taught at Berklee School of Music. Brandon Rivas, bass, is part of a long lineage of the popular Rivas family and of the Westside Horns; and Tony Bray, saxophone and an accomplished composer completes the quartet. Through the Tony Bray Toro Flores Quintet, Flores released a CD titled “Man in the Black Hat.”
Zarabande, a world class Latin jazz ensemble, performs original music and jazz standards. It will give an instrumental performance, a pleasant contrast to Garibay-Carey, and will include a hallmark ensemble of original songs mixed in with a modern twist on traditional holiday folksongs and familiar tunes for families to enjoy.
Since 1993, the Balcones Heights Jazz Festival has captivated jazz aficionados from in and around Texas with a free stellar line-up in the festival’s laid back and family-friendly atmosphere. Regulars or “jazz babies” grab their favorite spots along the edge of the sparkling reflecting pool and fountains of the city’s main hub, Wonderland of the Americas.
David Muñoz, host on iHeart Radio’s Q101.9 will emcee the year-long festival. He’s hosted the Jazz Festival for close to 30 years. Muñoz can now be heard around the clock talking about jazz and upcoming shows on the station’s “Smooth Jazz San Antonio” on the iHeart Radio app.