Lakeshore Music presents "A Very Jerry Christmas" with Jerry Donato and Nicole Pesce

Jerry Donato and Nicole Pesce for December 2018Two Valley jazz legends, saxophonist Jerry Donato and pianist Nicole Pesce, headline a special holiday concert exclusively for Lakeshore Music’s 10th season at Tempe Center for the Arts. The celebration includes vocalist Vicki McDermitt and guitarist Mike Eldred, along with Bob Lashier on bass and John Lewis on drums.

Anyone who appreciates saxophone knows that the sought-after Donato, who moved to Phoenix in 1983 from Baltimore, has been in the pit for three decades with virtually every touring show and orchestra that has come through the Valley. Donato is a familiar figure playing alongside pianists Pesce and Armand Boatman, bassist Lashier and legendary vocalists McDermitt and Margo Reed.

His extensive career includes everything from television to Broadway shows, including “The Arsenio Hall Show,” soundtracks for CBS TV’s "Evening Shade" and several TNT movies.

Donato's latest CD, “It’s a Cool Heat,” features the last recording of West Coast legend pianist Pete Jolly, who lived and performed in Phoenix in the 1950s and '60s. 

Pesce has been recognized among the “Top Ten Musicians to Hear in Phoenix” by the Arizona Republic, and named among the Valley’s top performers by Arizona Foothills Magazine. She has performed for Shaquille O’Neal, Jimmy Carter and The Gypsy Kings.

With a remarkable gift for memorizing music, she has been dubbed “The Human iPod.”

Pesce began playing at age 7 with her father as her teacher and mentor, motivated by the records of the jazz and classical great pianists he constantly had playing in the house. By age 10, she had memorized 500 songs. That same year, she won the Discovery Television National Talent Competition in New Orleans.

This concert is family-friendly and school-age children are half-price. 

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