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Get Jazzed at Sacred Grounds Jazz Coffehouse

By Mariah Fleming

Next week Sacred Grounds Jazz Coffeehouse celebrates its eighth anniversary. The venue continues to be a showcase for some of the best jazz artists in the Valley. Sacred Grounds offers a relaxed setting where you can always enjoy the best in Arizona jazz with no distractions. This Thursday May 26th Sacred Grounds Jazz Coffeehouse presents a five-man powerhouse of talent with musicians Thomas Williams, Dom Moio, Frank Smith, Bill Moio and Joe Garcia. Sacred Grounds

Leader and bassist Thomas Williams has appeared with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Louie Bellson, Slide Hampton, and such jazz notables as Diane Schurr, Claudio Roditi, Arturo Sanduval and James Moody and performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, the Toronto Jazz Festival and many of the world's most prestigious jazz festivals. Williams has performed with Bob Hope, Steve Allen, Little Anthony and the Imperials and the Drifters. A former member of the prestigious U.S.A.F. "Airmen of Note," Thomas was a featured soloist with the band. Many of William's compositions and arrangements have been performed at major music and jazz festivals, including the Detroit Montreux Kool Jazz Festival.

Williams' recording career spans over 20 years. He most recently recorded with famed Brazilian trumpeter Claudio Roditi in Rio de Janeiro. His writing garnered him a first place award from the Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest and his compositions have been used for the nationally broadcast television program "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Jazz education is near and near to his heart. Thomas has conducted clinics and seminars for many of the nation's leading high schools, colleges and universities as well as for the 1994 and 1996 International Association of Jazz Educators conferences. He has participated in the Stanford Jazz Workshop and most recently he conducted a clinic on Latin bass styles at Arizona State University.

Guitarist Bill Moio lived and worked in Reno, Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas for many years, until Arizona, luckily, lured him away. Moio picked up his first guitar at the tender age of eight and made his professional debut at fifteen years old. He was later accepted at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. After leaving Boston, Moio taught at The University of Maine at Augusta and performed with his own Bill Moio Quartet. Moio has performed with numerous jazz and contemporary artists including Joe Diorio, Joey DeFrancesco, Nelson Rangell, David Garibaldi, Marc Russo, Frank Sinatra Jr., and the legendary soul band, Tower of Power. Presently, in addition to a busy performance schedule, Bill shares his enthusiasm for jazz guitar by teaching privately and as a returning clinician at Arizona State University.

Tom Williams

It would not be an exaggeration to call Frank Smith a renaissance man. He leads a diverse life that includes many talents including music, teaching, aviation and psychotherapy. In his 40 years as a professional musician, Smith has played with internationally known stars including Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Coasters, Frankie Valle, Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Diamonds and The Fifth Dimension. Smith has been a featured soloist with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and was the woodwind soloist on the ABC Network Television series "Evening Shade." He began teaching when he was in eighth grade. His skills in music influenced a number of his peers to take private lessons. He has a Bachelor’s degree in music composition and twelve years experience teaching college, ten years teaching at Tempe's ASU.

One of the Valley’s most in-demand drummers and a special favorite at Sacred Grounds is Dom Moio. He studied drums and percussion with jazz great Alan Dawson, recording legend Bernard Purdie and Cuban Master Walfredo De los Reyes, Sr. His performance and recording credentials include some of the finest names in jazz, such as Al Cohn, Herb Ellis, Eddie Harris, Ahmad Jamal and the list goes on. Moio's most recent CD's include recordings with his own group Cinco de Moio, Armand Boatman’s Be Bop Revolution and Justice for the Earth with Chuck Marohnic & ‘Seeds.’ In addition to a busy performing career, Moio teaches at ASU, Mesa Community College and works as traveling clinician.

Born in Miami, Florida, second-generation Cuban musician Joe Garcia takes pride in his heritage. Garcia's love and respect for traditional and contemporary music is evident in everything he does. As a percussionist, performer and educator, Garcia has devoted more than twenty years of his musical career to developing his unique blend of traditional Latin rhythms and contemporary sounds. This endeavor includes Garcia's work with fellow percussionist Dom Moio with their educational duo known Tambores. As a solo performer, Garcia has collaborated on numerous recordings and opened shows for legendary performers such as Gladys Knight, the Everly Brothers, Sergio Mendes & Brazil 2000 and the Fifth Dimension.

Sacred Grounds is a relaxed atmosphere where everyone is welcome to enjoy some of the most outstanding jazz in Arizona. Coffee, non-alcoholic beverages and delicious desserts are available. Get a schedule of upcoming events and find out about Sacred Grounds eighth anniversary at Sacred Grounds.