PORT ARTHUR —
Downtown Port Arthur is the place to be this weekend where smokin’ jazz musicians will mix it up in honor of native son Zachary Breaux.
The two-day festival honors the memory of a nationally-known bluesy-style jazz artist from Port Arthur who died a hero in 1997 while attempting to save a drowning woman.
Althea Rene, Michael Ward, The Jazz Innovators and Flava Band are among the headliners bringing the groove back to Port Arthur for the Zachary Breaux Jazz Festival. This year’s concert, the sixth, is back after a two year hiatus.
Jazz lovers can come out to the newly- revamped downtown pavilion at 500 Procter St. between 6 p.m. and midnight Friday, June 13, and between 2 p.m. and midnight Saturday, June 14, to enjoy a concert honoring the memory and the music of local jazz legend.
The concert was rained out in 2012, and wasn’t held for unspecified reasons in 2013, but this year, the groove is back.
“We had been asked, ‘What happened?’ so many times,” Doris Hayes, concert coordinator, said in a previous interview. “The community rallied around us, so we’re excited to bring it back.”
Breaux was born in Port Arthur in 1960 to a family of eight children. Early on, while just a child, the musically gifted Breaux discovered the guitar and clarinet.
After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School, he studied music composition at the University of North Texas College of Music in Denton. In 1984, Breaux left his home state for New York City, where he performed as a sideman for musicians such as Ronnie Laws and Roy Ayers.
Breaux’s solo career took off in the early ‘90s. His final album, “Uptown Groove,” reached No. 14 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chat.
His jazz style was unique — a tempered version of southern-syle blues infused with a mix of funk and hip hop — that was heard all over the world.
Breaux died in 1997 at age 36, after suffering a heart attack while attempting to save another swimmer from the riptide at Miami Beach.
In honor of his music, and his character, Breaux’ family, his friends and fans gather each year to listen to the music he loved.
Tickets are $10 for Friday’s shows and $15 for Saturday’s shows. A two-day pass is $22 and children 12 and younger will be admitted for $5.
For details or call Doris Hayes at (409) 982-8394 or (409) 293-2309. This is also the contact for a really “jazzy” BreauxJazzFest T-shirt.
Zachary Breaux Jazz Festival Performers
Friday, June 13, 2014
6 - 7 p.m. — Briscoe Lake
7:30 - 8 p.m. — Iona LeBlanc (vocalist)
8:30 - 10 p.m. — Althea Rene
10:15 - 11:45 p.m. — Michael Ward
Saturday, June 14, 2014
1 - 1:30 p.m. — Iona LeBlanc (vocalist)
2 - 3 p.m. — Henry Jones Group
3:30 - 4:30 p.m. — George Hill & Friends
5 - 6 p.m. — Instruments of Praise
6:30 - 7:30 p.m. — Gene Scott Jazz Band
8 - 9 p.m. — Brian Best
9:30 - 10 p.m Amber Nicole (vocalist)
10 - 11 p.m — The Jazz Innovators
11 - 12:15 p.m. — Flava Band