KASU presents “Jazz for the Holidays” in Pocahontas
Arkansas State University’s public media service, KASU-FM 91.9, will present
“JAZZ FOR THE HOLIDAYS” on Saturday December 7th, at 7:30 PM, in downtown
Pocahontas, at The Rendezvous Event Center, 106 West Everett Street.
Featured musicians are Lisa Ahia, Sam Ahia, Gary Gazaway, Joy Sanford, Tim
Crouch, Robert Bowlin, and David Eckert. Admission at the door will be a
suggested donation of $15, or $5 for students.
Pocahontas native Gary Gazaway has organized a group of incredibly talented
area musicians to perform jazz arrangements of familiar holiday songs and
Christmas hymns for this concert. Gazaway is a trumpeter, composer and
record producer who has been working as a professional musician for over
four decades. He has recorded or performed with musicians including Joe
Cocker, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Derek Trucks, Phish, and many other
Vocalist Lisa Ahia’s musical career began at age eight on stage with her
father, Sam Ahia, an acclaimed traditional Hawaiian and Jazz guitarist.
Since then she has performed in some of the major Polynesian shows in her
native Hawaii. She also loves to sing standards from the Great American
Songbook and has performed with Jazz artists including Hugo Fattoruso,
Victor Wooten, Charles Thomas and Buck Powell.
Heralded as Hawaii’s premier Jazz guitarist, Sam Ahia has achieved
accomplishments in musical styles that transcend his native born Honolulu
roots, and he has gained international attention from major artists and
musicians around the world. Sam has performed with Jazz artists including
Freddie Hubbard, Monk Montgomery, and luminaries George Benson, and Howard
Roberts. In the 1970s he began working for many of Hawaii’s musical legends
including Don Ho, Loyal Garner, Jimmy Borges, and with the most important
Native Hawaiian musicians playing ukulele and slack key guitar. He performed
at Carnegie Hall in NYC in 2013 and was recently featured on the Hawaii
Public Radio Hawaiian Music Series.
Pianist Joy Sanford is a native of Hardy, and studied classical piano at
ASU, and has been a long-time resident of Jonesboro. She is a former band
and choir director at public schools in Arkansas, and she has served as an
accompanist for many area musicians performing in a wide variety of musical
styles. Joy also studied Jazz piano at the acclaimed Jamey Abersold Jazz
Workshops in Louisville and has performed with many important musicians in
Violinist and multi-instrumentalist Tim Crouch is from Strawberry, Arkansas.
He is a former staff fiddle player for the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, and
he has appeared as a session musician on thousands of recordings. He has
collaborated musically with Dolly Parton, Glen Campbell, Alan Jackson, Jerry
Reed and Mike Snider. He has also appeared on television programs including
Austin City Limits, Hee Haw, the Late Show with David Letterman, and Late
Night with Conan O’Brien.
Guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Robert Bowlin was raised in Pocahontas.
He is a past winner of the National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship.
Bowlin has recorded or performed live with Kathy Mattea, Tom T. Hall, Ricky
Skaggs, Bill Monroe, Bobby Bare, and was bandleader for Bill Monroe. He has
appeared numerous times on the Grand Ole Opry.
Bassist David Eckert is classically-trained and studied with Ferdinand
Maresh of the Philadelphia Orchestra well as with Clifford Spohr and Dwight
Shambley of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Eckert spent two years as the
principle double bassist for the Sinfornica Nacional in the Dominican
Republic. Upon returning to the United States, he enrolled at Kent State in
Library Science, and developed a passion for Jazz. He plays with several
groups in Northeast Arkansas and is director of the Craighead Public
The concert is presented by KASU and sponsors, including: River Bank of
Pocahontas, Lesmeister Guesthouse, City Pharmacy, and Bella Piazza & Uptown