Courtesy Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce

The Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce is very pleased to announce that two artists for its 2018 Wine and Jazz Festival, scheduled at Laishley Park, Punta Gorda, on February 24, 2018, have now been selected.

Returning will be Nick Colionne, who last played the Festival in 2016. Since breaking through to contemporary urban jazz stardom in the early 2000s, Nick Colionne has been one of the genre´s most dynamic and tireless live performers, headlining hundreds of shows and energizing fans across the U.S. and Europe with his sizzling blend of jazz, R&B, funk, blues and soulful, seductive vocals. Over the years, the charismatic, inspirationally fashionable Chicago based guitarist´s album titles have kept everyone in the loop as to where his musical heart is. He has mastered the art of Keepin´ It Cool (2006), pushed musical boundaries to a place where there are No Limits (2008), urged us to Feel The Heat (2011) and later explored some of his deepest Influences (2014). On his 2016 Trippin ´N´ Rhythm album The Journey, Nick takes stock of his extraordinary career, the wonderful musicians he´s played with, the people he´s entertained, and the amazing places he´s traveled. It´s taken him to great heights recently, as the three Top 5 singles from Influences led him to be named Billboard´s #5 Artist of the Year for 2015. Nick keeps the forward momentum going with the infectious and grooving title track and lead single from The Journey. Upon its recent release, it earned a "#1 Most-Added" designation on iTunes and Billboard, and quickly reached #1 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz and Groove Jazz Music charts.The Journey is the perfect album title for an artist who has become one of the most in-demand headliners on the circuit, playing up to 75 shows a year throughout the country at top festivals (Berks Jazz Fest, Capital Jazz Fest, Catalina Jazz Trax Festival, Seabreeze Jazz Festival, JazzFest West, Punta Gorda Jazz Festival, Thornton Winery Jazz Series), on popular cruises (Capital Jazz Cruise, The Smooth Jazz Cruise, Dave Koz Cruise) and in other top venues. Expanding his reach to Europe in recent years, Nick has performed several times at the Smooth Jazz Festival Augsburg in Germany, the Mallorca Smooth Jazz Festival and Pizza Express Jazz Club in London. Nick has received numerous accolades throughout his multi-faceted career, including the 2007 International Instrumental Artist of the Year Award at the Wave Jazz Awards, where he succeeded 2006 winner Chris Botti. He was also chosen Artist of the Year at the 2011 Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival and Performer of the Year for Jazz Trax Jazz Festivals in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, Nick was nominated as Guitarist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year by the American Smooth Jazz Awards and received the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award for his ongoing commitment to mentoring children, his work in the community and nationally in support of breast cancer causes. The recipient of the 1996 Malcom X College Alumnus of the Year Award (he earned his degree there in music), Colionne has devoted much of his spare time over the past 20 years to mentoring children at St. Laurence K-8 School in Elgin, Illinois. His roles include counseling, teaching music, computer music skills and guitar, and producing talent shows and holiday pageants.

Joining Nick on stage will be a newcomer to the Punta Gorda Wine & Jazz Festival – Mr. Eric Darius. Saxophonist, composer, producer, and vocalist Eric Darius likes to play by his own rules. Fearlessly pushing all musical boundaries, he is one of the most exciting musicians to enter the Contemporary Jazz scene in the last decade. His explosive arrival as a recording artist at the age of 17 caused a frenzy worldwide! Now, with six critically acclaimed albums under his belt, a Number One hit single, and Seven Top 10 radio hits on Nielsen’s R&R/Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts, international recording artist, Eric Darius’ star continues to rise straight to the top. Prophetically hailed Debut Artist of the Year by Smooth Jazz News in 2004, Eric has shared the stage with innumerable world renown, Grammy Award-winning artists, such as Prince, Jamie Foxx, Mary J. Blige, David Foster, Carlos Santana, Babyface, Wynton Marsalis & George Benson, just to name a few. His music innovatively crosses over all music boundaries from Jazz, R&B, Hip-Hop, to Pop, creating a very distinctive, fresh sound and approach that is uniquely his own. Throughout Eric’s young but already dynamic career, he’s had the tremendous opportunity to travel and perform worldwide with numerous groups. Even as a high school student at Blake High School of the Performing Arts and college student at the University of South Florida in Tampa, he had the fortune to travel internationally at such a young age. “My goal is to really help bridge the generational gap and make music that has infinite possibilities,” concludes Eric Darius.

John Wright, President of the Punta Gorda Chamber told us today “ It is a thrill to bring Nick Colionne back to our stage. His energy and crowd involvement is always a highlight for guests of the show. The addition of Florida’s own Eric Darius will surely bring new electricity to the entire event. The third act to fill the stage will be announced shortly.” Tickets for the February 24th 2018 event are already on sale in the shop chamber page of www.puntagordachamber.com but with today’s announcement  it is expected that both VIP and Premium tickets will soon be snapped up. Tickets may also be ordered by calling 941 639 3720 during office hours (M-F 9-5)

For further details, please call 941 639 3720

John R. Wright

President

Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce

941-639-3720

Toll Free: 800-652-3898