in 1997, the Gulf Jazz Society (GJS) serves as an advocate of jazz
music in the Panama City, Panhandle region of Florida. As part of its
annual program, the GJS awards scholarships and introduces jazz to local
schools. Recently the Society awarded three $500 scholarships and
granted Bay County Public Schools a curriculum guide entitled “Jazz For
Young People“ as well as instructional materials for the use of
In February of 2001 The Society presented
its first independently produced “Emerald Coast Jazz Fest / Brunch” at
the Edgewater Resort. The same year the GJS inaugurated its series of
“Open Monthly Jam Sessions” at a downtown restaurant, and started its
series of quarterly “Jazz Gumbos". The Gumbo's are a live music event
paying tribute to legendary jazz musicians, such as Duke Ellington,
Thelonious Monk, Lionel Hampton, Buddy DeFranco, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie
Holiday and others.
The Society’s St. Andrews festival series
began in April of 2002 with ”Joy Spring––A Jazz Jubilee” in celebration
of National Jazz Appreciation Month. A highlight of the mini-festival
was the presentation of a “Lifetime Achievement Award” to legendary
clarinetist Buddy DeFranco who accepted the award in person with
stirring words about the importance of jazz to our cultural experience.
free Jazz-By-the-Bay festivals have been presented each fall through
2007. The festivals have featured jazz musicians of national reputation,
such as Ira Sullivan, Bob Dorough, Warren Vache, J. B. Scott and the
University of North Florida Jazz Ensemble, Duke Heigter, John Eric
Kelso, Eddie Higgins, Steve Gilmore, Giacomo Gates, Hod O’Brian and
The Ninth Annual Jazz By-the-Bay Festival is
scheduled for October 16th and 17th at Oaks-By-the-Bay Park at 10th and
Chestnut Streets in Panama City,
Gulf Jazz Society Board of
Directors meets monthly in the fellowship room of the historic St.
Andrews Church at 10th and Chestnut in Panama City, FL. Any person
interested in jazz and the program of the GJS is welcome to attend. Call
850 235 1659 for meeting details.
Larry Fletcher Vol. Executive Director Gulf Jazz Society Inc.