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The 43rd annual Sarasota Jazz Festival, featuring an all-star lineup of artists in the genre from across the globe —including right here in Sarasota County — comes to a close this weekend. Van Wezel hosts a benefit for Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood featuring Broadway stars, while an Anna Maria Island concert series will welcome a group playing the music (and boasting a former member) of prog-pop-rock favorites Electric Light Orchestra. And of course, there'll be plenty of the acclaimed blues musicians that the Sarasota area is known for showcasing. Here are this week's highlights. Event details are subject to change.
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Crystal Shawanda and Alex Lopez
Bradenton Mexican restaurant and music venue Birdrock Taco Shack celebrates St. Patrick's Day with what it calls its "1st annual Irish Mexican celebration," featuring blues musicians Crystal Shawanda and Alex Lopez. The Canadian-born Crystal Shawanda started out as a country musician before switching to the blues, winning two Juno Awards (Canada's equivalent of the Grammys), including Blues Album of the Year for 2020's "Church House Blues." Lopez, meanwhile, was born in Cleveland before moving to Florida, where he and his band the Xpress have become fixtures of the Sunshine State's blues scene. 6:30 p.m. Friday; Birdrock Taco Shack, 1213 13th Ave. W., Bradenton; $20 advance, $25 day of; 941-545-9966; facebook.com/birdrocktaco
Sarasota Jazz Festival
The 43rd annual festival, featuring trumpeter Terell Stafford as this year's music director, concludes this weekend. Friday's lineup features two-time Grammy-winning jazz singer Kurt Elling's SuperBlue Band with guitarist Charlie Hunter, and Venice's own piano maestro and NEA Jazz Master Dick Hyman with Grammy-nominated guitarist Diego Figueiredo. Saturday's lineup features another NEA Jazz Master and multi-Grammy winner: Paquito D'Rivera, who just earned his latest Grammy nomination last month, with fellow saxophonist Houston Person and organist Tony Monaco. The main stage concerts are held in a big top at Nathan Benderson Park, with late night open jams at the park's finish tower. Friday and Saturday; various venues; ticket prices vary; 941-260-9951; sarasotajazzfestival.com
Chris Anderson and Friends
Sarasota-raised guitarist and singer-songwriter Chris Anderson returns to the area for a show at Big Top Brewing Company. A former member of Tampa-formed "Green Grass & High Tides" Southern rockers the Outlaws, Anderson also released the 1995 solo record “Old Friend,” with a title track co-written with Warren Haynes that was later covered on the Allman Brothers Band's final studio album “Hittin’ the Note," and released the full-length "World's Gone Crazy" as Rattlebone in 2019. Anderson is joined by Mike Kach on keyboards, Mark Serio on slide guitar, Garrett Dawson on drums and Pedro Arevalo on bass. 7 p.m. Saturday; Big Top Brewing Company, 975 Cattlemen Road, Sarasota; 941-371-2939; bigtopbrewing.com
Also returning to Big Top this weekend is guitarist, singer-songwriter and former Anna Maria Island resident Damon Fowler, playing the brewery's Blues & Brews Sunday concert series. Earlier this year, Fowler released the album "Live at the Palladium," recorded at the titular St. Petersburg venue, the follow-up to his 2021 full-length "Alafia Moon" that topped Billboard's blues album chart and was nominated for a Blues Rock Album Blues Music Award. Along with his solo career, Fowler has played in the groups of founding Allman Brothers Band members Dickey Betts and the late Butch Trucks, and in the supergroup Southern Hospitality with Victor Wainwright and J.P. Soars. 3 p.m. Sunday; Big Top Brewing Company, 975 Cattlemen Road, Sarasota; 941-371-2939; bigtopbrewing.com
Listening Room of Sarasota, which has held concerts by various folk and singer-songwriter acts at area venues, next hosts Chuck Brodsky at Music Compound. The singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist is known for his songs about baseball, having released two "Baseball Ballads" albums and his work included in the sound recording library of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, where he's also performed. However, his lyrics spans various topics, as heard on albums including last year's "Gravity, Wings, and Heavy Things." 6:30 p.m. Sunday; Music Compound, 1751 Cattlemen Road, Sarasota; $20 donation; email email@example.com to make a reservation
‘Hermitage Turns 20: Andy Sandberg and Broadway Friends'
To celebrate Hermitage Artist Retreat's 20th anniversary season, and raise funds to repair damage to the Manasota Key retreat caused by Hurricane Ian, Hermitage CEO and Artistic Director Andy Sandberg joins Broadway friends for this benefit show. Sandberg, a Tony Award winner as a producer of 2009's "Hair" revival, will sing Broadway songs with other performers including Tony nominees Jeannette Bayardelle ("Girl from the North Country") and Laura Bell Bundy ("Legally Blonde.") Jay Armstrong Johnson, Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer and Sarasota's own Ann Morrison also perform, with music direction by recent Grammy nominee Rona Siddiqui ("A Strange Loop.") 7:30 p.m. Monday; Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $25-$75, $250 VIP; 941-263-6799; vanwezel.org
The Center of Anna Maria Island's Bradenton Gulf Island Concert Series will continue with The Orchestra, featuring former members of famed prog-pop-rock group Electric Light Orchestra as well as ELO Part II, the band later formed by co-founder/drummer Bev Bevan. Along with ELO Part II, violinist Mik Kaminski also played in Electric Light Orchestra from 1973 to 1979, while bassist Glen Burtnik was also a former member of fellow classic-rock staples Styx. The show promises "the hits and nothing but the hits," so expect to hear Electric Light Orchestra favorites such as "Mr. Blue Sky," "Evil Woman" and "Do Ya." 6 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. show Tuesday; The Center of Anna Maria Island, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria; $55 and up; 941-778-1908; centerami.org
Harper and Midwest Kind
Birdrock Taco Shack will feature another acclaimed blues act this week when Harper and Midwest Kind visits the venue for a show. The blues group is fronted by the Australia-raised Peter Harper, who plays the continent's indigenous instrument the didgeridoo as well as the harmonica. Harper and Midwest Kind's most recent release was 2020's "Rise Up," which was named one of the year's Top 20 albums by Blues Blast Magazine reviewer Rhys Williams and reached No. 3 on Billboard's blues album chart, the same spot as their previous album, 2016's "Show Your Love." 8 p.m. Wednesday; Birdrock Taco Shack, 1213 13th Ave. W., Bradenton; $7; 941-545-9966; facebook.com/birdrocktaco
Igor and Red Elvises
"Siberian surf rock" group Igor and Red Elvises continues its lengthy string of Florida dates with return visits to Englewoods on Dearborn and Celtic Ray this week. The group is fronted by Igor Yuzov, who grew up in the former Soviet Union, seeking out the forbidden sounds of rock 'n' roll. He later moved to America and formed the Red Elvises, which has released albums including 1996's "Grooving to the Moscow Beat" and 1997's "Surfing in Siberia," and is still going strong. 6 p.m. Wednesday; Englewoods on Dearborn, 362 W. Dearborn St., Englewood; $10; 941-475-7501; englewoodsondearborn.com; 8 p.m. Thursday, March 23; Celtic Ray Public House, 145 E. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda; 941-916-9115; celticray.net
Biscuit Miller and Friends
Englewoods on Dearborn's live music lineup this week will also include bassist and singer-songwriter Biscuit Miller. The charismatic performer, whose 2010 album was aptly titled "Blues with a Smile," won two Instrumentalist — Bass Blues Music Awards in 2017 and 2012. Before embarking on his solo career, Miller also played for numerous years in the backing bands of other blues musicians, including Lonnie Brooks and Anthony Gomes. 6 p.m. Thursday; Englewoods on Dearborn, 362 W. Dearborn St., Englewood; $10; 941-475-7501; englewoodsondearborn.com
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This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Best live music concerts in Sarasota, Bradenton, Englewood, Anna Maria