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Sound Bites Grill jazzes up for 10th anniversary celebration

Will Donato
(Photo courtesy of Sound Bites Grill)

Will Donato (Photo courtesy of Sound Bites Grill)

Originally Published: June 1, 2022 9:27 p.m.

Sound Bites Grill in Sedona celebrates its 10th anniversary this weekend, jazzing it up with Groove Jazz masters JJ Sansaverino and Will Donato.

Donato will be performing with Steve Oliver on Friday, June 3, 7-9 p.m., and Sansaverino plays Saturday, June 4, from 7 to 9 p.m.

What better way to celebrate Sound Bites’ decade of providing some of the best music in Northern Arizona other than with a jazz extravaganza?


JJ Sansaverino (Photo courtesy of Sound Bites Grill)

A high energy Groove Jazz audience engaging show is what these three jazz musicians inspire for aficionados, and they are ready to put on a show of a lifetime in the Sound Bites Celebrity Showroom.

Donato is considered one of music’s most dynamic performers, gifted with the ability to bond and connect with his audiences. A saxophonist, composer, and producer, Donato has performed with some of the best-known musicians of the groove and smooth jazz genre.

He has played with Al McKay of Earth Wind and Fire, Richard Elliot, Bruce Conte of Tower of Power, Steve Reid of The Rippingtons, and other jazz notables like Brian Simpson, Steve Oliver, Gregg Karukas and Nick Colionne.

Donato has worked in the pop music genre as well - most notably with Gerald Levert, Wynonna Judd, Toni Childs, and superstar Richard Marx.

He was nominated by Coachella Valley Weekly for their annual CV Music Awards in the categories of “Best Jazz Instrumentalist” & “Best Instrumental Performance and has recorded numerous albums and chart-topping hits.

Joining Donato on stage Friday night, June 3, will be jazz impresario Steve Oliver. Chase Huna, Slim Man, Lamar Gaines and Joel Reeves will also be gracing the stage. Don’t be surprised if JJ Sansaverino joins in.

Steve Oliver’s career spans over 25-years in music, multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer, Oliver is still being heard each day on contemporary and smooth jazz radio around the world.

His career has produced multiple #1 hits on the Billboard charts and countless radio staples over nearly two decades - including with his latest album “Unified” (2020) - a collaboration with keyboardist Brian Simpson that reached the #1 spot on the Billboard and Amazon jazz sales charts.

Steve’s been a touring member of Acoustic Alchemy, has played countless club dates and headlined festivals worldwide. He’s also co-written and produced tracks with Grammy award winning pianist Omar Akram and many smooth jazz notables including Vincent Ingala, Brian Simpson and Paul Taylor.

His 2019 full-length album “Illuminate” is a followup to 2016’s acclaimed all vocal project “Pictures & Frames” (recorded with the legendary Vinnie Colaiuta on drums and Leland Sklar on bass at the famed Capitol Studios in Hollywood). Illuminate is record deeply rooted in contemporary jazz guitar melodies and Steve’s trademark wordless vocalese.

The jazz keeps on going Saturday, June 4, with Groove Jazz guitarist JJ Sansaverino. JJ met owners Michele and Steve Sullins 12 years ago and has played at the restaurant many times over their 10 years of operation.

Sansaverino, with a Billboard #1 smash hit under his belt titled “Style & Elegance” and numerous highly acclaimed albums and singles recorded during his meteoric rise in the music world, brings to the table an act every Reggae, Jazz and R&B aficionado can groove to and revel within.

His masterful guitar playing, and his creative prowess mesmerize audiences and set the mood for a night of grooving, finger snapping and dancing.

Funk, Jazz, R&B, mellow and bluesy tunes, JJ masters them all with his unique style and soulful delivery.

JJ will be debuting his new Album releasing June 3rd called “Soul & Energy” at Sound Bites! Energy is part of JJ”s DNA..... if you’ve ever met him his soul is beautiful and his energy is on fire.

He spent the last year touring the country promoting his album “Cocktails & Jazz,” that he wrote during COVID-19. JJ is on his way to national recognition and a top-selling CD.

He is a Berklee School of Music graduate, having shared the stage with the likes of Maceo Parker, Victor Bailey, Gerald Albright, Randy Brecker, Shaggy, Ricky Lawson, Sean Paul, Rick Braun and the Marley Family.

He even performed for Sir Paul McCartney’s wedding in 2002, an accomplishment every musician worth his or her salt would give anything to experience.

JJ spent a lot of his career touring the world with Maxi Priest which he still does. He will be performing with Lamar Gaines. Fred Boswell, Dylan Thomas and John White.

So, get ready for an “overdose” of jazz this weekend at Sound Bites Grill.

Sound Bites Grill is located at the Shops at Piñon Point adjacent to the Hyatt in Sedona. For more information and tickets please visit SoundBitesGrill.com or call 928-282-2713. Tickets can be purchased via website.