This Monday night is crammed full of options — if you're a jazz lover, or theater aficionado and want to help in the continued fight against AIDS by supporting a local arts organization dedicating to awareness-raising and providing assistance to those affected and infected by HIV and AIDS.
Two separate jazz programs are held on either side of Tampa. At USF, a tribute to Gil Evans, known for his work with Miles Davis on Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain. ) The Canadian jazz composer, arranger, producer and bandleader left behind a tremendous legacy after his passing in 1988, not to mention heaps of scores that had never even been recorded. Composer Ryan Truesdell set out to change this, and after combing through numerous archives and charts of bandleaders Evans had worked with, he chose 10 scores, recruited more than 30 first-class instrumentalists to record it, jazz orchestra style, and issued Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans last year, on the 100th anniversary of Evans' birth. The album made numerous Best Of lists in 2012, earned two Grammys, and is considered by some to be one of the most significant jazz ventures of the past decade. Truesdell conducts the USF Jazz Ensemble through a Monday Night Jazz program featuring choice cuts off Centennial, among other Evans offerings. 7:30-9 p.m., USF-Tampa School of Music (MUS) Concert Hall, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., $8-$12 advance
More after the jump...
Another college-driven jazz show finds the UT Jazz Ensemble — a big band of students encompassing a rhythm section, saxophones, trumpets and trombones — joined by guest jazz composer and trombonist Dave Stamps. Their program includes new arrangements of jazz standards as well as the world premiere of a piece Stamps composed exclusively for the ensemble. 7:30 p.m., West Verandah, Plant Hall (Reeves Theater in case of rain), University of Tampa, free admission.
Finally, there's a very special Prelude to World AIDS Day theater presentation at American Stage. Here's what CL Editor-in-Chief David Warner had to say about it: Last year, before I saw the Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project’s staged reading of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart at American Stage, I wondered whether this 1985 drama about the early years of the AIDS epidemic would seem dated. Hardly. In fact, the reading was so raw, so heartfelt, that it has stayed in my memory as one of 2013’s most powerful theater events. It may go on to be one of 2014’s, too; freeFall is giving the play a full production next year with much of the same cast from the reading. Now Suncoast is doing another staged reading of an early landmark of AIDS drama: Craig Lucas’ screenplay for Longtime Companion, the 1989 film (DVD cover at right) that was the first major wide-release film about AIDS. Like the movie, which starred such well-known names as Campbell Scott and Mary-Louise Parker, SATP has assembled a crackerjack cast of award-winning actors: Katherine Michelle Tanner, Chris Crawford, Larry Alexander, Brian Shea, Steve Garland, Vincent Stalba, Jim Sorensen, Joey Panek, Jonelle Marie Meyer, Drew DeCaro, Chris Jackson and Daniel Harris. This sounds like a must-see to me, and even better, ticket proceeds benefit HIV/AIDS programs at Metro Charities in Pinellas, by special permission from screenwriter Lucas. 7:30 p.m., American Stage, 163 Third St. N., St. Petersburg; admission is pay-what-you-will at the door (advance tickets for $15).