Smooth Jazz in SA
Local Couple Brings Music Series to Town
By Amy Morgan
Jazz music lovers in San Antonio take heart. No longer is our city devoid of the dulcet tones of the saxophone. Foster Perry Travel presents their inaugural Jazz on the Water – By Land & By Sea series featuring monthly concerts of America’s most talented, nationally recognized Smooth Jazz musicians. The artists will perform at the brand new 300-seat Buena Vista Theatre located on UTSA’s downtown campus between S. Frio Street and the IH-35 frontage road. Parking directly across the street from the theater is included in the price of the tickets, which can be purchased directly from the UTSA box office through their website https://buenavistalive.showare.com.
Jazz enthusiasts Dionne Roberts and husband, Henry Alvarez, owners of Foster Perry Travel, grew up listening to inspiring music in Boston and New Orleans respectively. They’ve made it a point to seek out performance venues on their travels worldwide. Except in San Antonio, where a lack of live Jazz music sent them to Austin or Houston to get their fix of the sound they craved. Frustration peaked last spring when their favorite Jazz club in Austin changed format. The couple decided to fulfill their dream of sharing the music they love with the residents of their town. The Jazz on the Water series was born.
Dionne and Henry were already personally acquainted with many of the artists. Foster Perry Travel has hosted a seven-day Jazz cruise out of Galveston since 2017 (skipping the two years when COVID-19 shut down the cruise industry). 2022’s cruise last October was a smashing success, and 2023 is already planned for November 5-12 with stops in Roatan, Costa Maga and Cozumel. In addition to the usual amenities found on a cruise, the Foster Perry Travel group enjoys their own private music events aboard the Harmony of the Seas, one of the newer Royal Caribbean liners, Dionne said. Jazz cruisers will experience theme nights, autograph sessions and daily special events. Many repeat attendees look forward to reconnecting with friends. Local saxophonist Billy Ray Sheppard hosts the performances, joined by nationally known artists joining the cruise for this special experience.
“We’re making jazz accessible both financially and geographically,” she said. “We’re bringing top-billed artists we’re normally not able to see in San Antonio on a regular basis. We hope to create a jazz community where people can meet new friends and hear top-talent music.”
Javier Colon kicks off the series February 10th, with shows at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Javier won the first season of The Voice and is known for his angelic voice, Dionne said. “It will be the perfect Valentine’s date night – there’s not a bad seat in the house.” Concert goers can take their refreshments — wine/beer and light snacks — right to their seats with them and expect some special surprises, Dionne added. Foster Perry Travel has even arranged a discount rate at the Doubletree hotel across the street from the theater for those who wish to stay the night downtown. Other notable musicians include the Bob James Trio performing Sept. 1 during the Labor Day Weekend and the season finale Dec. 9, which will entice legendary Walter Beasley out of retirement for an encore.
Foster Perry Travel is already planning the 2024 and 2025 Jazz on the Water series. “We’re committed to investing long term in the city we’ve come to call home,” Dionne said.
Jazz on the Water also partners with UTSA to use the performances to give back to a cause close to Dionne and Henry’s hearts – at-risk foster children. Space in the CCTV livestream area will be provided free for foster families for every 7 p.m. showing. The same spot will be offered to UTSA students at 9:30 p.m. for just $10/ticket. Proceeds from student tickets will fund programs for foster youth. “We want to raise awareness and encourage people to think about charitable opportunities in everything they do,” Dionne said.
Dionne and Henry founded Foster Perry Travel, located in Stone Oak, in 2016 and have run the travel club at the Club at Sonterra for the past five years. “We’re a full-service travel agency helping families and friends find fun and adventures,” Dionne said. “Travel and music are our passion. When we can, we love to bring them together.”