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Mesa Arts Center has partnered with The Nash, jazz venue in downtown Phoenix, to offer a series of jazz café-style events in the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum Courtyard. Sound in the Ground: Nash Nights at MAC kicks off with legendary percussionist, Joe Saylor, best known for his work with Jon Batiste and Stay Human on October 5. Then, on November 2, see Phoenix native blues, jazz, R&B, gospel singer Francine Reed who’s currently touring with Lyle Lovett. Finally, the series wraps up with Cuban jazz trumpeter and composer Josiel Perez.


Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum will be open for each event, where five jazz-themed exhibitions of contemporary art will be on display beginning September 14.


Joe Saylor (Featured drummer on Stephen Colbert Show with Jon Batiste)

Phil Kuehn (bass player and director of jazz studies at Snow College)

Angelo Versace (director of jazz studies at UofA)
Brice Winston-sax

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From the mid-1970s through the early 90s, Francine reigned as the most popular jazz and blues vocalist in the Valley. In fact, she was still winning New Times/Best of Phoenix awards after she moved to Atlanta. Francine appeared with her bands Jazz Alive and Fever at venues such as The Boojum Tree, Chuy’s and Bombay Bicycle Club, plus numerous festivals and concert halls. Francine has been part of Lyle Lovett’s Large Band since the mid-80s and has appeared many times on The Tonight Show. She also performed for many seasons in Seattle’s high-energy dinner-theatre cabaret, Teatro ZinZanni.

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“I believe that each note I write or play is a story”
Born in Pinar Del Rio, Josiel Perez comes from an extensive musical family, beginning with his grandfather who is a refined flautist to his uncle, Andres Perez, who is considered one of Cuba’s best baritone saxophonists.

Currently residing in Phoenix, Arizona, Josiel has performed alongside top-level musicians, Lady Antebellum , Vince Wilburn Jr (Miles Davis), Harvey Mason (Herbie Hancock), Haakon Graf, Rayford Griffin, Hans Zermuelen, Dan Lutz, Stan Sergeant, Walfredo Reyes Jr (Chicago Band), Luis Eric Gonzalez, Kamasi Washington, Jimmy Branly, Raul Pineda, Rey de la Paz . He also led, composed for, and arranging music for the AC Jazz Project aka Afro Cuban Jazz Project. He is currently teaching the Latin Jazz Ensemble class at Paradise Community College.

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