How and Why Sarasota Became a Place for Jazz

Jazz history expert and two musicians tell the tale in words and jazz tunes

In our March 10 Conversation at the Crocker, you’ll hear, in words and music, the reasons why there are upwards of 200 active professional jazz musicians living in the Manatee-Sarasota area.

Did you know this area supports more than a dozen places in Bradenton, Sarasota and Venice offering jazz music any night of the week?



Join the Jazz Club’s Gordon Garrett when he leads a Conversation at The Crocker, on Tuesday, March 10, starting at 7 p.m. at the Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street (Pioneer Park), Sarasota. He will be joined on stage by

jazz pianist Mike Moran and singer Kitt Moran. They will play as well as contribute to the conversation. Additionally, their CDs will be for sale before and after this exuberant music-filled evening.


Gordon Garrett is the vice president of the Jazz Club of Sarasota, founded in 1980 to promote, preserve, and educate people about the original American art form. Garrett, who says he studied clarinet for three years before his teacher begged him to stop, has had a lifelong love of jazz music and its history and actually moved to the Sarasota area  in 2003 because of the thriving jazz community here.


Born and raised in New York City, jazz pianist Mike Moran led a trio as a teenager. He earned bachelor’s degree in Music Composition from Boston University. The Mike Moran Trio joined forces with vocalist, Kathy Walsh, who is now known as Kitt Moran. Their career took off with performances at Trumpets, Shanghai Jazz, and as regulars at Jimmy Weston’s and Gregory’s in Manhattan. Moran did studio work with industry giants, wrote lyrics and music, and his recording studio was the platform for a host of TV commercials, music for films and music CDs.


Kitt Moran began performing professionally at age 10, in operas such as Carmen and La Boheme. She fronted her own band in high school and worked in regional theater. She studied music and acting at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York . While singing in a bar, she met musician Mike Moran who was looking to add a singer to his trio. Mike’s trio became Kitt’s backup band and the two married. It was Mike who exposed Kitt to jazz, which defines her style today. She became a recording artist in the early 1980s.


Conversation at The Crocker, on Tuesday, March 10, starting at 7 p.m. at the Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street (Pioneer Park), Sarasota. Organized and presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota County and sponsored by SARASOTA Magazine, free to Historical Society members and students. Guests, $10. Come early to buy their CDs during this exuberant music-filled evening.

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