DuvALUMNI: Jazz


There is a good chance that jazz music has been played in Duval nearly as soon as there was jazz music. John Scott highlight's the talented jazz musicians connected to Jacksonville.

Published June 15, 2013 in Culture - MetroJacksonville.com


There is a good chance that jazz music has been played in Duval nearly as soon as there was jazz music. With a bustling nightlife of sorts in bawdier parts of town at the dawn of the 20th century, musicians with mad improvisational skills were needed to play at these establishments. Good chance some early New Orleans jazz cats found some work over in our port city. Time for a shout out to some DuvALUMNI in the jazz field.


Doyle Dykes (left) – One of the greatest fingerpicking guitarists alive, Doyle Dykes has recorded over a half a dozen albums for Windham Hill, as he integrates country, jazz, gospel and rock styles into a sound all his own. Born and raised in Jacksonville.



Brad Mehldau - Jazz piano player, born here moved early, solo career, played with Pat Metheny.



Justin Varnes – Born and raised in Jacksonville, Varnes attended the highly-acclaimed Jazz program at UNF.  The drummer now lives in Atlanta and has played with Earl Klugh, Mose Allison and Phoebe Snow, among others.



Longineu Parsons – Jazz trumpeter Parsons was born and raised here, has travelled the world and has recorded over a dozen albums exploring all facets of jazz.



Phil Driscoll – Trumpeter Driscoll owned a popular club (“Driscoll’s”) here in the 70s. He also toured with Joe Cocker, worked with Stephen Stills, among others. For over 30 years now, Driscoll has recorded contemporary Christian music, winning multiple Dove awards (Christian music awards) and a Grammy in 1984.



Teddy Washington (on right, with Longineu Parsons)- A graduate of Old Stanton High, Teddy Washington was trumpet player, music director and co-arranger for years in the James Brown Band, arguably the most talented ensemble of horn players in R&B history. His career also included playing with B.B. King and Frank Sinatra, while recording his own solo jazz work. Moved back to Jacksonville in the early 80s and became a stalwart in the music community until his passing in 2009.



Jack Sheldon – multi-talented trumpeter, comedian and actor, Sheldon moved from Jacksonville while in his teens to the west coast, becoming one of the pioneers of the west coast jazz scene in the early 50s. He has fronted his own group, as well as playing with Dexter Gordon and others. Sheldon may be more well known for his work in television; as Merv Griffin’s bandleader/sidekick for Griffin’s talk show in the late 60s; and as one of the voices of ABC’s early 70s Saturday morning Schoolhouse Rock, where Sheldon was the singer of “Conjunction Junction” and “I’m Just a Bill”.



Jackie Davis – Davis was one of the the first musicians to popularize jazz on the Hammond organ, with a long, illustrious career, on his own albums and playing with others such as Louis Jordan. He played here locally as a child, paid his way to Florida A&M where he graduated with a degree in music. After a stint in the Army, he worked steadily in the northeast . His light-jazz arrangements of standards were a staple of easy listening stations of the time. Davis got into acting as well, perhaps best known for his role as “Smoke” in Caddyshack.



Sam Jones – Locally born jazz bassist and jazz cello soloist, recorded as bandleader and best known for his work with Cannonball Adderly, Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie



Article by John Scott, part of Jacksonville's Big Show
on 99.1 WQIK on from 5:30AM - 10AM.



This article can be found at: https://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2013-jun-duvalumni-jazz


Metro Jacksonville

Copyright MetroJacksonville.com