Entertainers' Bios

Learn about the Entertainers

GUEST EMCEE....
WJXT Morning Show Anchor, NIKKI KIMBLETON

After more than a decade on The Morning Show, Nikki is 'almost' used towaking up so early in the morning. Even though the alarm goes off before thesun comes up, she truly loves being one of the first faces you see every dayand her goal is to get your day started with a smile. In addition to herMorning Show anchoring duties, she is also the sideline reporter for theJacksonville Jaguars preseason games.

Nikki has hometown ties toJacksonville: her parents, aunts, uncles and a bunch of cousins live all overthe area.

Nikki has received numerous awards related to her job, but is most proud ofthe ones voted on by the viewers.

She loves to volunteer and serves on the board of several local charities including Blessings In ABackpack and The Cattyshack Ranch.

Nikki and her husband created an all-purpose seasoning called Martha's Mix,in honor of her mother-in-law. They give all of the profits from the product tohelp feed children in our area and in Pollocksville, North Carolina, whereMartha was a pastor.

Nikki is also active with the Jacksonville Humane Society, Susan G. KomenFoundation, American Cancer Society, ElderSource and CHILD Cancer Fund, amongothers. As a result, she was named to the 2015 panel of Legacy of Leaders, acelebration of positive leadership in the greater Jacksonville community.

UNF Jazz Ensemble I

TheUniversity of North Florida Jazz Ensemble I, led by director J.B. Scott, is theflagship ensemble of the prestigious University of North Florida Jazz StudiesProgram. Thanks to the visionary leadership of Rich Matteson in 1986, UNF's JazzEnsemble I has enjoyed the reputation of being one of the finest collegiatejazz ensembles worldwide. 

The majority of the group members of the UNF Jazz Ensemble I are undergraduates.  The EnsembleI has won numerous group and individual awards and has been consistentlyrecognized by such publications as Cadence, Jazz Times, Jazz Educators Journal,and DownBeat Magazine for its improvisational prowess and precision ensembleplaying. They were the first collegiate winner of the prestigious Monterey NextGeneration Festival in California. The band has consistently been invited toperform at prestigious stages in both the U.S, Europe, and Asia, for the formerInternational Association of Jazz Educators Conferences in Atlanta, Boston,Miami, and New Orleans, for Jazz Educators Network Conferences, for theprestigious Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, and for jazzfestivals including the Montreux Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival,the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Suncoast Jazz Festival, the Mobile JazzFestival, and annually at the Savannah Jazz Festival and the Jacksonville JazzFestival.


THE GARY STARLING GROUP

Gary Starling has been a fixture onthe Jacksonville jazz scene for several decades. He was inducted into theJacksonville Jazz Festival Hall of Fame in 2012 and continues to performarea-wide and teaches guitar and jazz at Jacksonville University.

For the inaugural Atlantic BeachJazz Festival, Starling has assembled a talented group starting withkeyboard/organist Scott Giddens. Scott is a much in demand player as well asteaching in the UNF and JU jazz programs. 

Drummer Rick Kirkland is a veteran ofthe Ray Charles band and  continues to play in the area and teaches drums atJU. Eric Riehm is a talented saxophonist/composer who performs as a freelanceartist in various ensembles and is a disciple of sax master, Bunky Green.

THE CHRIS THOMAS BIG BAND

"When Chris Thomas takes the stage, he doesn’t just sing, he aims to embody the
swagger and style of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis and Frank Sinatra, showing off his 30-plus years of professional dancing experience with every tap of his foot...He lifts audiences out oftheir chairs." Florida Times Union, 7/20/17
Chris Thomas has the style and swagger of Sinatra and the performance excitement of James Brown and Bruno Mars. The ChrisThomas  Band specializes in theperformance of vintage Sinatra, soulful Motown, as well as current popularsongs custom arranged for big band by its
own band members.  Chris Thomas has performed with various artists over the past 17 years. The band has performed shows for major venues and clients such as:
Jacksonville Jazz Festival, JacksonvilleJaguars, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville Symphony, City of Jacksonville,Jacksonville City Council, and venues such as: Prime Osborne Convention Center,TIAA/Everbank Field, Ritz Carlton, Florida Theater, Florida Times-Union Center,TPC Sawgrass, Sawgrass Marriott, Omni Plantation Amelia Island, Hyatt Regency,Alhambra dinner theater.
October 2016 CTB released its first CD, Only the Beginning, which reached #11 on the jazz album chart.
In September 2017 the 8-piece ensembleperformed their Sinatra to SoulUK Tour, produced by SusieHomes, Red Carpet Entertainments and Meridian 107FM.


 















LISA KELLY/JB SCOTT SEXTET w/ DAVE STEINMEYER

Based in Florida, the artists of the Lisa Kelly/JB Scott Sextet have performed for numerous music festivals, jazz societies, jazz clubs, and special events, and presented many jazz education clinics. Lisa and JB are known for presenting highly entertaining musical concerts with top-shelf fellow musicians, pleasing their audiences with unique arrangements of classic jazz repertoire to original songs, in the jazz styles of ‘classic swing to New Orleans! "  Influences of Ella, Diana Krall, Clark Terry, Louis Armstrong, Freddie Hubbard, Jack Teagarden, and other notables of the jazz tradition, the ensemble’s versatility shines through grooves of in-the-pocket swing, up-tempo driving bop, Bossa Nova’s, jazz funk, soulful shuffles, and a taste of Mardi Gras.                                     The group is co-led by award winning jazz vocalist LISA KELLY and Warburton signature trumpet artist JB SCOTT, who’s 1st performance was together at the 1997 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, leading to countless appearances since as featured soloists and band leaders, 6 co-released CD projects, profiles in the 2010 book, "The New Face of Jazz," and inductions into the Jacksonville Jazz Festival 2013 and 2017 "Hall of Fame." band.  A legendary trombonist among trombonists and fans, DAVE STEINMEYER performed for 28 years with the esteemed D.C. Air Force big band, the Airmen of Note, leading the band for over 10 years. He appeared in the movie, "A Few Good Men." Now back in his hometown of Jacksonville, FL, Dave is a freelance artist and the jazz trombone adjunct at UNF, traveling constantly to perform, mentor, and recruit for the college. 






The Cultural Arts and Recreation Advisory Committee invite you to enjoy the Inaugural Jazz Festival in Johansen Park on Saturday, September 15, 2018 from 3-8 pm.

Entertainment is free.

Food trucks and vendors will be available for food purchases.  ID required for purchases at Culhane's Irish Pub tent.

Hope to see you there.

3:00  UNF Jazz Ensemble I
4:15  Kelly/JB Scott Sextet w/
             Dave Steinmeyer
5:30   Gary Starling Group
6:30   The Chris Thomas Big
              Band

Food vendors start serving at 2 pm