Saxophonist Joseph Vincelli brought in 1998 doing what he loves most: performing, this time as the headliner for Seventeen Seventeen’s celebratory bash.

That performance marked the beginning of what could be a breakthrough year for the jazz artist, who has been a frequent performer at neighborhood restaurants and venues like the Bath House Cultural Center. Contemporary radio stations nationwide are giving airplay to “After Five,” a new CD Vincelli describes as “smooth jazz, but more funky and danceable than most of what you hear.”

Originally from New Jersey, Vincelli graduated from the Berklee School of Music in Boston and worked first in New York and later in Los Angeles before moving to our neighborhood about four years ago.

“I got tired of the crime and the traffic in L.A.,” Vincelli says. “Besides, the people here are a lot friendlier.”

Since relocating, Vincelli has signed with a record label – Breakaway Records, based in Tyler – and released five CDs: “The Time Has Come” in 1994, “Christmas With You” that same year, “The Night Is Ours” in 1995, “I Will Wait For You” in 1996, and now “After Five.”

Growing up in New Jersey, Vincelli was the youngest of five children. His parents encouraged their children to play a musical instrument.

“By the time it got to me, the saxophone was about the only instrument nobody else played, so that’s what I chose,” he says.

Vincelli credits the unflagging support of his family with enabling him to enter the music profession and stick with it. Now he feels that the years of study, practice and worldwide touring are beginning to pay off.

“Everything came together on this recording: My production skills were sharper and the mindset of the entire CD and unity with the musicians was so much stronger than it had ever been,” Vincelli says.

“When we were finished, I felt I could say, ‘Now I can really begin my career.’”

After opening for such jazz greats as Al Jarreau, Earl Klugh and Joe Sample, and playing at jazz festivals nationwide, the five-man Joseph Vincelli Group now finds itself booked more often as a headliner. The group will be on tour for much of the winter, returning to the Metroplex to perform March 7 at Caravan of Dreams in Fort Worth.

For information on that concert, call 817-429-4000.