A relatively recent arrival in Savannah, Espina is a respected saxophone, clarinet and flute player from New York, who - for reasons known only to him - opted out of prestigious recording, touring and teaching gigs to move his mouthpiece-making business to the Creative Coast.
It's called Jody Jazz, and it takes orders - millions of ‘em - from musicians all over the world.
At Berklee College of Music, Espina won a Phil Woods Performance Scholarship. Up until 2005, he was the Director of the Jazz Department at Hoff Barthelson Music School in Scarsdale, N.Y. In Barcelona, Spain, he taught woodwinds and directed the Big Band at the Aula de Musica i Moderna Jazz.
He's a conductor in the musical sign language system called Sound Painting, and has given seminars and workshops on it in Europe and the U.S.A. In New York, he was involved with the "Grammys In The Schools" program, bringing performing artists to inner city students.
He played in lots and lots of Broadway pit orchestras, on film and TV soundtracks, and toured with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and others.
Yeah, yeah, credits make for nice reading - but can the guy play? That's what you want to know.
The short answer is, of course. Espina is a super-fine jazz saxman, which you'll discover at his Friday night gig alongside Eric Jones (piano), Sean Bolden (drums) and George Sheck (bass). Listen & learn: www.jodyjazz.com. At 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27 at Blowin' Smoke BBQ, 514 Martin Luther King Blvd.
THE PRODIGAL SONS
Here we have singer and guitarist Justin Boykin fronting a rock ‘n' soul trio; the other two guys are Eric Dunn and Markus Kuhlmann of the Train Wrecks. Head Trainwrecker Jason Bible is out of town for a couple of days, so the guys put together a set of rockin' tunes with their pal Justin. For those of you hungry to hear the Train Wrecks' upcoming second CD, word is that it's still being recorded and it sounds incredible. According to Bible, plans to have it out before Christmas were premature, and it'll most likely be in our hot little hands in February or March. More on this in a future issue of Connect. At 10 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25 at the Rock House Tybee, 1518 Butler Ave., Tybee Island.
Our friends at Paste magazine had this to say about the Atlanta-born singer/songwriter: "Arcuragi's voice [is] somber but gentle, it has the mellifluous tone of an American Nick Drake.... He reaches for bliss again and again." At first, he seems like one of those ubiquitous, fervent "Americana" guys, with country, folk and blues wrestling for attention in his music, but he's compellingly direct, and poetic, and his scrappy use of southern religious imagery and gospel seems more like the genuine fear o'god than a songwriting affectation. Listen & learn: www.myspace.com/adamarcuragi. At 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25 at the Wormhole, 2307 Bull St. With Lizzy Pitch. Free.
One of our area's jewel-in-the-crown acoustic guitarists, Georgia Kyle Shiver's world-weary singing voice comes from years of the hard road life. A longtime fixture of clubs and coffeehouses in the northeast, he settled in Savannah seven years ago, and nary a week goes by that he ain't playing somewhere, trying out new tunes and giving the old classics a fresh touch. He's got a bluegrass band, and a hard-blues trio, but the best way to experience his country/blues is solo. Here's your post-Thanksgiving chance (four of them, in fact). You won't be sorry. Listen & learn: www.georgiakyle.com. Wednesday and Friday at Augie's Pub, Richmond Hill; Saturday at Molly MacPherson's Scottish Pub, Savannah; Sunday at Café Loco, Tybee Island.