JD Salas and the Swingin' Axes at the Fredonial Brewery

“Swingin’ at the Brewery” returns to Fredonia Brewery in downtown Nacogdoches  from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29. The event benefits the SFA School of Music’s jazz program.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas –The Swingin’ Axes and Swingin’ Aces jazz bands at Stephen F. Austin State University will present their fall “Jazz at the Brewery” fundraiser from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, at Fredonia Brewery in downtown Nacogdoches.
The concert continues the jazz bands’ tradition of taking our performance out into the community, according to Dr. JD Salas, director of the Swingin’ Axes jazz ensemble.
“The Fredonia Brewery has been a great partner to live music in the area, and each year our concerts there get better,” Salas said. “We’re excited about our first concert back in Turner Auditorium in November, but there’s something special about our shows downtown.
“This show will highlight several different jazz, rock and funk styles,” Salas added. “The earlier large ensemble sets will lean toward the traditional swing of big band music, then transition to rock, blues and funk for the later sets.”
The concert features special performances by The Jazz Doctors, an SFA music faculty jazz combo, and The Jazz Jacks, an SFA music student combo. The Jazz Doctors includes Deb Scott, trombone ; Jake Walburn, trumpet; Benjamin Morris, piano ; Larry Greer, guitar; and Salas, bass. Joining them is guest artist Mark Saldaña, drums.
Saldaña grew up in the “Golden Triangle” of Southeast Texas under the tutelage of the late Dr. Wayne Dyess at Nederland High School. While attending Lamar University, Saldaña performed with acclaimed artists Jack Sheldon, Helen O’Connell, James Moody, Bill Watrous and Joe Williams, among others.
Saldaña studied medicine at Lamar and graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1990 with a degree in physician assistant studies. He worked in and around Texas until he and his family settled in Lufkin where he continued to perform. Over the years, he diversified his drumming technique to include performing with a variety of rock, country, blues, pop, dance and R&B acts, including the Bellamy Brothers, Payton Sweat and Johnny Rodriguez. Saldaña performs regularly with the Riff Runners Big Band, formerly known as the Angelina Community Jazz Band, local Christian groups and dance bands.
The Jazz Jacks includes Jacob Soto of Houston, tenor saxophone; Giovanni Flores of San Juan, alto saxophone; Micah York of Texarkana, piano; Andrew Kingston of Mission, bass; and Isaac May of Lindale, drums.
Shali’s Indian Kitchen on Wheels will be on site, and the brewery’s Rebellion Pizza will be open. SFA Jazz T-shirts and other merchandise will be available for purchase.
Donations and proceeds from this event will go toward supporting the SFA jazz ensembles by  funding guest artists and providing student scholarships. The Fredonia Brewery has created an easy way to donate as patrons are completing their purchases at the register.
“Jazz ensemble is not a required ensemble for the music education degree at SFA,” Salas said, “so each ensemble member shows true dedication to the jazz arts, and any donation will go toward their support.”
 For more information about supporting the SFA jazz ensembles, contact Salas at salasjd@sfasu.edu
The Fredonia Brewery is located at 138 N. Mound St. For additional information, call the SFA School of Music at (936) 468-4602 or the brewery at (936) 305-5125.