Occurs on Friday January 5 2018

Approximate running time: 2 hours


Raymond James Theatre
163 - 3rd St N
Street Address: 163 3rd Street North
St. Petersburg FL 33701

Performance Notes

× Singin’ & Swingin’

The Al Downing Tampa Bay Jazz Association is thrilled to start 2018 with a concert featuring jazz vocalists Whitney James & Synia Carroll. Whitney & Synia will be Singin’ & Swingin’ with Alejandro Arenas on bass, James Suggs on trumpet, John O’Leary on piano and Mark Feinman on drums at the American Stage Theatre. This special evening of jazz will feature Whitney and Synia signing original duet arrangements of their favorite jazz standards such as You Don’t Know What Love Is, Comes Love, Happy Days Are Here Again and many more. While the concert will have a nice collection of duets, it will also allow the ladies room for solo performances with St. Pete’s favorite rhythm section La Lucha featuring the talented James Suggs on trumpet. Whitney and Synia are thrilled to be working together for the first time. Their diverse influences and styles are a wonderful compliment to each other and has made for an exciting collaboration. Join us for Whitney & Synia Singin’ & Swingin’ Friday, January 5, 2018 at American Stage.

Jazz Vocalist Whitney James pairs incredible vocal skill with intimate, meaningful interpretations. She brings flawless intonation, a broad range of colors and sounds, and an instrumentalist’s sensibility to the bandstand.

Early in her career, she opened for jazz legends Nina Simone and Betty Carter and pop giants Earth Wind & Fire and Macy Gray. Her 2010 debut album, The Nature of Love spent four months on the jazz charts and was widely hailed by US and International jazz press. James trained in opera and musical theater before becoming a protégé of master jazz vocalists Jay Clayton and Sheila Jordan. In 2012, Whitney was chosen as one of the top twelve Rising Stars in the world of jazz and was featured on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz Rising Stars on NPR hosted by Jon Weber. Whatever the setting, she brings pure jazz and pure joy to her listening audience. Tune into WUSF 89.7 FM to listen to Whitney host All Night Jazz Sunday evenings and visit for upcoming performance information.

Synia Carroll:

A native of Philadelphia, Synia relocated to Sarasota in 2014 from Connecticut in what would prove to be a musical turning point. It was shortly after this move that Synia’s love and appreciation for Jazz took hold and flourished. Her intuitive understanding and natural feel for this music was quickly recognized by musicians and audiences in the Sarasota and St Petersburg area and she has been described as a ‘rising star’. Synia has had the opportunity to be a featured vocalist in a variety of venues, including; David Manson’s Helios Jazz Orchestra at the Palladium in St. Petersburg and Al Hixon’s Under Heard Herd Concert. Synia, frequently accompanied by the Billy Marcus Trio, has also been spotlighted on the Giving Hunger The Blues Concert Jazz Stage, the Jazz Concert Series at WDNA in Miami, Florida, as well as several Jazz at Two Concerts sponsored by the Sarasota Jazz Club. Most recently, Synia was featured at The Sun Coast Jazz Classic with The Al Downing AllStars. In 2016 Synia’s debut CD, Here’s To You..., received acclaim and air play both locally and in other cities including; Philadelphia, Miami, and New Orleans. C. Michael Bailey (All About Jazz) reviewed the CD, stating, “Wow, This is how it’s supposed to sound...It is a definitive statement of an artist who has arrived and has done so definitively.” Ken Franckling (Jazz Notes) referred to the CD as a “gem of a debut recording” and Joseph Lang (Jersey Jazz) described Synia as, “a a singer who combines musicality and a feeling for lyrics...” Synia continues to grow and expand her audience as well as musical collaborations. Check for information and updates about Synia’s past and future performances at or contact her directly at

Whitney & Synia’s band features Alejandro Arenas, John O’Leary and Mark Feinman also known as La Lucha. La Lucha is a Tampa Bay based trio that consists of three best friends from three different parts of the world; Colombia, Mexico & United States. They have been awarded Creative Loafing’s “Best of the Bay Jazz Ensemble” in 2013, 2014 & 2015. La Lucha aims to create music that transcends genres and classifications. Visit for upcoming performance information.

We are also thrilled to have trumpeter James Suggs on the bandstand for this concert. James Suggs began playing the trumpet at age 9. At 16, he started performing professionally and toured the US and Europe with the Continental Singers. In 2002, James received a Bachelor’s degree in music performance from Youngstown State University in Ohio. He was employed on six cruise ships taking him around the world. In 2005, Suggs toured and recorded with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and later performed with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Later that year, James moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina where he remained for 8 years, playing and touring. He has shared the stage with such artists as Kenny Burrell, Robin Eubanks, Dick Hyman, Sean Jones, Chuck Mangione, Maria Schneider, and Frankie Avalon to name a few. In 2015, James was awarded the Best of the Bay's Critic's choice for "Best Jazz Transplant". He currently lives in St. Petersburg and is a TA in the Jazz Studies department, getting his Master’s degree at University of South Florida in Tampa.

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