🔓Apopka Jazz Fest features Latin, Asian musical influence

Lineup includes Jeffrey Osborne, Nestor Torres and Hiroshima

APOPKA, Fla. – The Apopka International Jazz Festival is back in its second year with a diverse lineup expected to get music lovers out of their seats and dancing all night.

The event includes a diverse group of Jazz artists highlighting unique sounds of different cultures.

“It was something about the saxophone that resonated with me because it seems like it was the closest thing to the human voice,” jazz artist Dee Lucas said.

Lucas is a self-taught saxophonist, who left the IT industry to pursue a career in jazz music.

“I would say my style is smooth [jazz], but I play from the heart. One thing I do like to convey on stage, is that it’s not about me. I like to share the stage with other talented musicians,” Lucas said. “Everyone is going through something, and it could be that one song, that one note, that can make a difference in someone’s life.”

Lucas is part of a diverse lineup for the Apopka International Jazz Festival. He’ll be sharing the stage with platinum artist Jeffrey Osborne, Grammy-nominated ensemble Hiroshima and Latin Grammy flutist Nestor Torres.

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Torres is bringing a unique Latin flavor to the jazz genre.

“I am a result of my influences and my preferences so it’s not just traditional jazz. We include with the Cuban and Latin rhythms and bring them together,” Torres said.

Torres said visitors of the Apopka International Jazz Festival will be more than just spectators, but part of the performance.

“My musicians know. I will have something planned, a song list. At the most, I may stick to the program for the first three songs. After that, anything goes. It’s a very fluid, very dynamic experience in that I am always being responsive to the audiences,” Torres said.

Proceeds from the festival will benefit Central Florida organizations, including Boy Scouts and the Wekiva High Band Program. Music programs are something performers said are essential to character development, especially at a young age.

“When you learn to play an instrument or read music, there’s so many components that go into it with developing one’s ability to relate to others, to be able to be persistent, patient, develop a skill,” Torres said.

Nestor agrees.

“It’s very important we continue this legacy of passing down the music to the next generation. It’s very important to have art in the schools because art gives balance, it gives life balance, and also most importantly the creativity tears down barriers, whether social or economic and it needs to be instilled at a young age,” Nestor said.

The Apopka International Jazz Festival takes place Saturday, March 19, at the Apopka Amphitheater located at 3710 Jason Dwelley Parkway in Apopka. The gate opens at 4 p.m. with performances starting at 5:15 p.m. General admission ticketholders are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs for the event. Click HERE to purchase tickets.

Tentative Performance Schedule*

4 p.m. - Gate Opens

5:15 p.m. - Dee Lucas with special guest Lori Williams

6 p.m. - Nestor Torres

7 p.m. - Hiroshima

8:15 p.m. - Jeffrey Osborne

*Schedule may be subject to change.

Along with live performances, the event will have food and beverage venues, along with pop-up shops.

ZnL Productions (formerly Steglich Ross and Associates) is a joint venture between to long time friends, Zita Steglich-Ross and Lori L. Burke, bringing their passion for music along with their event, conference and festival planning and execution expertise to host the Apopka International Jazz Festival (formerly Orlando International Jazz Festival). These ladies will host the second annual Apopka International Jazz Festival Saturday, March 19, 2022.

Building on the solid foundation of the successful February 2020 festival, it will bring, internationally known musical entertainers, local bands, diverse food vendors and fine art and crafts to the beautiful Apopka Amphitheater. This one day event is expected to draw a few thousand attendees and will be promoted regionally and nationally. Their mission is to support youth programs in the City of Apopka that are interested in the arts. ZnL Productions is a nonprofit organization.

Apopka International Jazz Fest (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.