Michael Tozzi Launches First Sunday Emerging Artist Series at SOUTH Jazz Kitchen

FROM the FIELD

Michael Tozzi, creator of the “First Sunday Emerging Artist Series,” is off to a great start at South Jazz Kitchen in Philadelphia. “The series was born out of the frustration of so many artists that feel that they don’t have a chance to move forward in the music business because no one will give them the opportunity to play venues where they can get noticed,” Tozzi said. 

Tozzi, a longtime radio entrepreneur who has also volunteered as emcee at the Jazz Philadelphia Summit, says he saw a need for exposing audiences to new talent. So he created a space for emerging artists to present their music in one of Philadelphia’s premier jazz venues. “[My] goal is to build the series to a point where everyone will feel like they’re missing out on something if they don’t join us at SOUTH Jazz Club for our ’emerging artist series’ regularly,” said Tozzi. “They can discover new and exciting artists as we build that trust by providing ‘great’ (this is subjective) new (and old) talent!” 

South is one of my favorite venues, and I have seen countless shows there. When I saw Tia Fuller play on one of her “Diamond Cut” album release shows, I knew that one day I wanted to be up on that stage. The opportunity certainly came sooner than I anticipated, and I was able to be a part of the First Sunday Series at South on February 6, 2022. 

I brought a quintet of New York City musicians to join me on stage. We performed many of my original compositions and arrangements, as well as jazz standards, and a composition by trumpet player Kal Ferretti. Susana Schutza joined me on piano, Nya Holmes on bass, and Carmen Murrary on drums. I learned so much as an artist and bandleader through this experience. Without someone like Michael to curate a space for emerging artists, this show may not have come as quickly.  

For the next emerging artist in the series, Tozzi is bringing Suzzette Ortiz to the stage with her band. Ortiz is a pianist, composer, choral conductor and educator originally from Bayamon, Puerto Rico. She now resides in Pennsauken, New Jersey. She is also on the Jazz Philadelphia Education Working group, and will be working with Jazz Philadelphia to produce an event celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month this April at Esperanza in North Philadelphia. (Keep on the lookout for details soon, and thanks to the Office of Arts Culture and Creative Economy for funding the event as part of their Philly Loves Jazz program).

If you can’t catch Suzzette Ortiz at SOUTH, she’s got a busy schedule coming up with shows throughout the region at both traditional and nontraditional jazz venues. You may have just missed her at Yardley’s The Vault Brewery, and Punjab Live! in Media, but SOUTH, the Clef Club and GlenCairn Museum are upcoming.


Feb 27
Suspiro Flamenco
3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
GlenCairn Museum, Bryn Anthem, PA
Tickets can be bought on the GlenCairn Museum Website. Click HERE for more information

March 6
Suzzette Ortiz Latin Jazz Ensemble
Michael Tozzi’s Emerging Artist First Sundays Series
6:30 PM and 8:30 p.m.
SOUTH Jazz Club, Phila, PA

March 19
The Clef Club Presents Gloria Galante
7:00 pm
The Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Get your tickets HERE