Park West Supports the 2017 Amelia Island Jazz Festival

“Amelia Island, Jazz Festival” (2017), Alfred Gockel

Enjoy the sounds of today’s top jazz performers and the sights of artwork by renowned artist Alfred “Alex” Gockel during the 2017 Amelia Island Jazz Festival.

The annual jazz festival, held on Amelia Island, Florida, takes place October 8–15 and presents world-class jazz performances of all styles for audiences to enjoy.

The festival was co-founded by Les DeMerle, an accomplished drummer and vocalist who has performed with greats like Frank Sinatra, Lou Rawls, Sammy Davis, Jr., Mel Tormé, and Joe Williams; and accomplished vocalist Bonnie Eisele. Founded in 2001, the festival not only garners appreciation for jazz music, but serves as a fundraiser for music scholarships for high school graduates.

Students with Les DeMerle during the Amelia Island Jazz Festival’s “Jazz in the Schools” program at St. Michael’s Academy. (Photo courtesy of Les DeMerle)

Since 2013, festival coordinators have sought out one top contemporary visual artist to create the official artwork for the festival. This year’s artwork is by Gockel, an internationally renowned action painter whose expressive and lively style perfectly captures the energy of jazz music.

“I feel honored to be selected as the official artist for the Amelia Island Jazz Festival,” Gockel says. “Listening to jazz and blues during the painting process gives me the energy to create intense artwork.”

Gockel’s artwork “Amelia Island, Jazz Festival” is based on the performances of DeMerle and Eisele. His richly-colored artwork depicts DeMerle and Eisele alongside other musicians in a vibrant, abstract setting. His artwork appears on the event’s poster as well as other promotional items.

Les DeMerle jamming with his band at the Big Band Bash (Photo courtesy of the Amelia Island Jazz Festival)

In addition to its scholarship program, the festival encourages students to learn about music by visiting local elementary, middle, and high schools. Musicians partnered with the festival also hold demonstrations and programs at senior centers.

Musicians headlining this year’s festival include vocalist Roseanna Vitro, flutist Néstor Torres, and returning acts Trio Caliente, DeMerle, and Eisele.

Aside from Gockel, the Amelia Island Jazz Festival has tapped other Park West Gallery artists to be named the official artist. Previous artists include David “Lebo” Le Batard, Tim Yanke, and Marcus Glenn. Park West Gallery proudly supports the Amelia Island Jazz Festival and its continued dedication to arts education and awareness. The gallery’s non-profit organization, the Park West Foundation, sponsors the festival each year.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Amelia Island Jazz Festival website.

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