davinci jazz experiment
BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN FEELING THE MUSIC — The DaVinci Jazz Experiment performs at Cafe DaVinci in Downtown DeLand in 2017. From left are performers Russ White, Ken Goldberg, John Tichenor, Todd Sneeringer, Gary Gould and Jeff Shepherd.

After a two-year COVID-19-induced hiatus, Jazz in the Courtyard at Downtown DeLand’s Cafe DaVinci is back this weekend with a performance from the reformed DaVinci Jazz Experiment. 

The popular jazz event formerly turned DaVinci’s courtyard into a jazz-lover’s paradise, but COVID-19 caused the event to shutter and one of the event’s mainstays, the DaVinci Jazz Experiment, to take a break.

Sunday, Sept. 25, Jazz in the Courtyard is back, and so is the DaVinci Jazz Experiment. The seven-piece band will feature original members Russ White on trombone, John Tichenor on drums and Jeff Shepherd on saxophone. Joining them will be Thom Chambers on saxophone, Aquila Marshall on trumpet, Dan Walters on bass and Sal Manning on piano. Percussionist Ken Goldberg will also join the band.

Shepherd hasn’t stopped performing — he performs biweekly at the Jazz on the Alley event on Artisan Alley in Downtown DeLand — but he’s excited to return to the stage with his old group.

The group also invited guest musicians to join. 

“We are really looking forward to it,” Shepherd said. “I know that COVID lingers, but, to me, the return of this band is a symbol of hope.”

“It’s gonna be fun to play together again,” trombonist White told The Beacon. “It will be a mix of old and new.”

Founded in 2012, the band is known for sight reading, or performing songs without prior practice, in front of a crowd.

Hosted by the Cafe DaVinci, at 112 W. Georgia Ave., and sponsored by the DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts, Jazz in the Courtyard will kick off at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25. 

Admission is free, but drinks are not.


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