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Sunday, July 21, 2024


Hurricane Lenny kept the Junior Mance Trio from opening the season of non-classical concerts at Tillett Gardens Wednesday night. But the storm won't keep the musicians from doing what they flew into St. Thomas this week to do: play jazz for their fans.
"They've been here four days waiting to play," Tillett Garden Series producer Rhoda Tillett says. "And there are legions of jazz lovers who want to hear them. Fortunately, we were able to reschedule the concert for tonight."
Mance and his "Floating Jazz Festival Trio" did have to break their Thursday night date at the St. John School of the Arts, because there was no ferry service between St. Thomas and St. John. However, tickets for the St. John concert will be honored at tonight's Tillett Gardens performance. The music begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. To learn more, call 775-1929.
Pianist and band leader Julian Clifford "Junior" Mance said he "heard bits and pieces" about Hurricane Lenny before leaving New York last Monday but had no concern about getting on the plane. He's never been through a hurricane before, but notes that he's from Chicago and has experienced some pretty bad Windy City blizzards.
Mance, string bass player Keter [KEY'-ter] Betts and drummer Jackie Williams have been playing on jazz cruises for the last few years as the Floating Jazz Festival Trio. They were featured on the Norway for the last three years and on the Q-E-2 just a couple of weeks ago.
Since the 1950s, Junior Mance has played piano with such jazz luminaries as Cannonball Adderley, Sonny "Lockjaw" Davis, Maynard Ferguson, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Max Roach, Clark Terry, Dinah Washington and Joe Williams. He's taught jazz and blues for a decade at New York's New School and says you can't really separate jazz from the blues. Besides, he adds, "As Duke Ellington once said, there are only two types of music — good and bad."
The Junior Mance Trio plays mainly jazz standards, such as "Lover Man," "Falling in Love with Love," "Oh Lady Be Good," "What's New" and "I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good." Mance says, "We go with what the audience likes."
Inducted two years ago into the International Jazz Hall of Fame, Mance says his plans for retirement are "none — I love what I'm doing." St. Thomas and St. John jazz lovers have the opportunity to hear this legend for themselves one night only, tonight, in Tillett Gardens. Call 775-1929 to learn more.

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