By Suzy Kridner
NEW SMYRNA BEACH - The first New Smyrna Beach Jazz Festival produced by Marc Monteson almost didn't happen 12 years ago.
"It was 10 days after 9/11 and we were teetering on canceling it," Mr. Monteson said. "But we were encouraged by supporters to continue on with the event.
The 12th annual New Smyrna Beach Jazz Festival, an intimate indoor event, takes place Sept. 21-23. Performances will be in the Flagler Avenue Historic District, the Historic Downtown District or Third Avenue.
The kick-off party will be at the Flagler Tavern, 414 Flagler Ave., from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21, featuring music by The Marc Monteson Quartet.
This is one of two events that require a ticket, Mr. Monteson said.
Admission is free for all other events.
At the first festival, "People had cabin fever after 9/11 so the jazz festival was a release for them. We had great crowds," Mr. Monteson said. "People said they wanted to get out and do something."
Among this year's performers who were at that first event is the Thom Chambers Trio, he said. They've been at 11 of the 12 festivals.
Some returning favorites are jazz vocalists Jacqueline Jones, who also performed at the inaugural event 12 years ago, and local favorite Linda Cole.
The late Harold Blanchard also helped launch the first festival.
The second festival in 2002 featured two trumpeters, on separate stages.
Mr. Monteson said this year's festival is dedicated to the memory of those two trumpeters Joe Mose and Bobby Branca, who both died in the past year.
Making its first festival appearance is the Orlando Jazz Orchestra, performing from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, at the Brannon Center, 105 S. Riverside Drive. They appeared to a sold-out crowd at the Brannon Center last year. Tickets are required.
Mr. Monteson said this year the festival is branching out into the downtown historic district, including The Hub, Jason's Corner and the Brannon Center.
Some of the other big names to appear are a new version of the Four Freshmen and also Ira Sullivan, a jazz legend from Miami.
Mr. Monteson, a vocalist, said his brother, Anthony "Hutch" Monteson, a jazz pianist, is coming this year.