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4 | smooth jazz news


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Rainbow Promotions, LLC and Payne Pest Management Present

4T H A N N UA L

Hosted by Eric Darius Embarcadero Marina Park North | 400 Kettner Blvd | San Diego, CA 92101

FRIDAY, JULY 10, 2020

3 hour dinner cruise aboard the Hornblower Inspiration featuring Greg Manning, Jeff Ryan, Tom Browne with special guest Erin Stevenson

SATURDAY, JULY 11, 2020 Headliner TBA 6/ 1

Special EFX Allstars featuring: Chielli Minucci, Eric Marienthal, Karen Briggs, Gerald Veasley and Lao Tizor

Keiko Matsui

Brass Attack BBZ featuring: Willie Bradley, Johnny Britt and Rob Zinn

Nicholas Cole

SUNDAY, JULY 12, 2020

Eric Darius

Jeffrey Osborne

Najee

Nick Colionne, Eric Roberson & Jackiem Joyner

Jessy J

All acts and times are subject to change without prior notice.

For Tickets and Information:

Rainbow Promotions, LLC (562) 424-0013 | www.sandiegosmoothjazzfestival.com #SDSmoothJazzFest


6 | smooth jazz news

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8 | SMOOTH JAZZ NEWS

CONTENTS Photo: Describe The Fauna

Publisher and Managing Editor Melanie Maxwell Operations & Distribution Manager Craig Collier Copy Editors JoAnn Armke Kerri De Rosier Paula Fitzgerald Barbara Knox Brad Sondak Contributors Ken Capobianco Cashmira Marcia Manna Darcy Peters Graphic Design Gina Mancini Contributing Photographers Cover photo: Bobby Quillard Ambrose De’Andrea Freeman/Dees Eyes Photography Describe The Fauna David Hopley kmcdphotography R. Andrew Lepley Caesar Lima Raj Naik Alessandra Nicole Bobby Quillard Daniel Ray Jurgen Reisch Lori Stoll Aric Thompson Byanna Webber Smooth Jazz News 5519 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., #134 San Diego, CA 92117 858-541-1919 smoothjazznews@aol.com www.smoothjazznews.com Smooth Jazz News is published seven times annually: Monthly: April and May; Bimonthly: June-July, August-September, October-November, December-January and February-March.

The publisher assumes no responsibility for claims or actions of its advertisers. Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the publisher, staff or advertisers. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the publisher.

©2020, Smooth Jazz News | All rights reserved

Smooth-Jazz News/123513291125001 @SmoothJazzNews

Boney James is scheduled to perform at Rainbow Promotions’ “A Smooth Jazz Valentine’s Concert for Friends and Lovers,” at the Terrace Theater, Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, California, on Feb. 14, along with Will Downing. For information on this and other events happening in February and March, check out our calendar section, beginning on page 24.

6 Smooth Jazz News merchandise Cool concert apparel: new hoodies, plus hats, fleece jackets, golf shirts, T-shirts and tank tops

10 Notes from the Publisher A joyous 20th anniversary of Smooth Jazz News at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, California, proved that smooth jazz is party music

14 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest Civic-minded residents turned to jazz to boost the region’s economy during a recession. Three decades later, it’s a world-class event.

17 Special FREE-CD/DVD with subscription offer Receive a FREE CD or DVD when you renew or subscribe to Smooth Jazz News at the 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest

18 Black History Month Breaking records and barriers

19 DISCover New Music Catchy and cool, check out the latest smooth jazz grooves

20 David Benoit The pianist renowned for his jazz chops is also a world-class symphony orchestra conductor

24 Calendar of smooth jazz events Concerts, festivals, Valentine’s shows and brunches nationwide

32 Jazz Buzz Who, what, when and where? The line on the grapevine says . . .

35 Smooth Jazz News subscription The perfect Valentine’s Day gift for yourself or a friend. Show your love ... subscribe today!

36 Book Reviews “The Fierce 44: Black Americans Who Shook Up the World” and “Me: Elton John Official Autobiography”

38 Cashmira’s Starguide February and March horoscopes


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E L Y I S T S A E F L I L ABOU L Z Z A J T TH E H T O O P M ARTY S E TH and creating a soulful vibe in a cool setting with our like-minded jazz community. show, demonstrations, and writing orders for their superb line of saxophones and other wind instruments. Luckily, we had some Cannonball fans in the house. Eric Darius, who endorses Cannonball saxophones, attended the party with his wife, Lynne. As did Rick Braun, who plays a Cannonball flugelhorn, and his wife, Christiane, and their daughter Emma. Unfortunately, Gerald Albright, who has his own line of Cannonball saxophones––the Gerald Albright Signature Series–– had to miss this year’s celebration. This glorious blend of saxes, a flugelhorn and a trumpet made for an amazing jam session when they joined DW3 onstage. And, for the audience, Rick Braun with Kathy and Willie Payne it was pure joy to (Payne Pest Management) watch Darius, Braun, trumpeter Rob Zinn and former DW3 member and saxophonist Isaac Edwards display their talents. Darius, who will again host The San Diego Smooth Jazz Festival (July 10-12), had a chance to catch up with festival producers Kim and Ozzie Benoit (Rainbow Promotions) and sponsors Kathy and Willie Payne (Payne Pest Management), who brought Kathy’s mom, Joan Giddens, to the party. As an added bonus, Rebecca Milkey, director of marketing for Hornblower Cruises & Events, was there to celebrate not only our Photos: Ambrose

was our aim for the 20th anniversary celebration of Smooth Jazz News, held again at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, California, during their legendary Sunday brunch. The ultimate party band––DW3––performed in the lounge, which overflowed with fellow jazz enthusiasts, some of our advertisers and a sprinkling of special guest artists. Our annual bash usually takes place on the last Sunday of the NAMM Show, the world’s largest trade show of music products, held at the nearby Anaheim Convention Center. This is where many professional musicians and artists shop for new equipment, learn about the latest technology and/or endorse and demonstrate the instruments they play. However, this year, many of our guest artists were already booked on a cruise that Sunday, so we moved the date up a week. Unfortunately, this made it too early or too inconvenient for some of our other guest artists to attend. On the flip side, it also meant that Sheryl and Tevis Laukat, owners of Cannonball Musical Instruments, were already in town. The Laukats, who have a booth at NAMM every year, helped us celebrate before they got pulled in by the demands of the

DamonReel, Rick Braun, saxophonist and former DW3 member Isaac Edwards, Rob Zinn and percussionist Sean Lawson

continued on page 12


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Photos: Ambrose

Sheryl and Tevis Laukat, owners of Cannonball Musical Instruments

Kathy and Willie Payne (front) present Smooth Jazz News with a 20-year commemorative plaque at Spaghettini, accompanied by DW3 band members Billy Mondragon and DamonReel and saxophonist Eric Darius

“smooth jazz is party music. [it’s] about environment and having fun.”

Denise and Steve Thornton (president of Thornton Winery)

-David Benoit Craig Collier accepts award for Smooth Jazz News Spaghettini co-owners Cary Hardwick and Laurie Sisneros meet Angela Sanchez (Catalina Express marketing manager) and her husband, Adam Sanchez, while Evette Benjamin (Gardena Jazz Festival) and Melanie Maxwell (Smooth Jazz News publisher) watch DW3 perform

On-air personality Pat Prescott (right) interviews Rick Braun during 94.7 The WAVE’s live broadcast at Spaghettini Angela and Adam Sanchez


Photos: Ambrose

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Al Williams (Rainbow Promotions founder), Kei and David Benoit, Christiane and Rick Braun, Ozzie Benoit, Steve Thornton, Kim Benoit, Kathy Payne, Lynne Darius, Emma Braun, Bud Harner, Isaac Edwards, Rob Zinn and Eric Darius (Above right) Rob Zinn continued from page 10

anniversary, but also Hornblower’s partnership with The San Diego Smooth Jazz Festival. For the second year in a row, the festival kicks off with a dinner cruise on Inspiration Hornblower on Friday, July 10. Another type of cruise kept Dave Koz from joining the festivities. The popular Grammy-nominated saxophonist, radio show host, winemaker and humanitarian was on a site inspection for his 2020 fullship charters (both seven-day sailings to Amsterdam and the British Isles are sold-out). But, he sent us this message: “Sadly, I will be missing this year’s brunch. Apologies! Have a wonderful time, and sending my love to you and all. May this new year and decade bring continued blessings, good health, success and tons of fun for you and Craig! Much love always, DK.” Although we missed Koz, Pat Prescott, his previous radio co-host on 94.7 The WAVE, was broadcasting live on-site.

In between interviewing Braun, Darius and other musical guests on-air, Prescott raffled off prizes to Spaghettini patrons, including gift baskets, concert tickets and round-trip boating excursions on Catalina Express (compliments of Angela Sanchez, director of marketing for Catalina Express). When Angela first attended our anniversary brunch, she was known by her maiden name Puchala. Back then, she brought her boyfriend Adam Sanchez, a Catalina Express boat captain. Seated at a table for two, the cozy couple sparkled and beamed at each other during champagne toasts and over the music without conversation (yep, we noticed!). Later that year, the two became engaged, and the year after, they married. This year, the wedded pair announced the next logical step in their happy relationship: shopping for maternity clothes and furnishings for a baby nursery! Another couple who joined us were Steve Thornton (president of Thornton Winery in Temecula, California) and his wife, Denise. The newly married couple shared a table with Steve’s father, John, the founder of Thornton Winery, and the winery’s general manager, Tonya Wake, who has brought the production and operations of the 2020 Thornton Winery’s Lynne Darius and Emma Braun dancing during the jam session; Rebecca Milkey (director of marketing for Champagne Concert Series Hornblower Cruises & Events) with her partner Rick Kail; Willie Payne groovin’ to the music in-house. They were joined by


Steve Chapman (Chapman & Co. Management), who is booking the concert series, which is now in its 32nd season. Other guests included pianist-composer David Benoit (no relation to Kim and Ozzie) and his wife, Kei; Evette Benjamin (Gardena Jazz Festival); Sandy and Al Williams (founder of Rainbow Promotions and Kim Benoit’s father); and artist manager Bud Harner and his wife, Debra. Plus, major smooth jazz supporters Marilyn James and her husband, Rick Phetteplace, drove up from San Diego to share in the fun before catching a flight to Florida to attend other genre festivities. The philanthropic couple frequently sponsor concerts and festivals, help fund artists’ projects and host private smooth jazz concerts at their downtown San Diego high-rise condo building. Carmen Ramirez (owner of Maritza’s They definitely epitomize the smooth jazz Mexican Food in San Diego) with her daughter Carmen Rubalcaba celebrating lifestyle (on steroids!). Smooth Jazz News’ 20th anniversary James and Phetteplace (who support genre endeavors under the moniker 2 Jazz FANatics) definitely epitomize an opinion David Benoit shared during an interview for his feature in this issue of Smooth Jazz News: “Smooth jazz is party music. [It’s] about environment and having fun.” Hopefully, everyone who helped us celebrate our 20th anniversary enjoyed the musical entertainment, upscale environment and genuine conviviality.

We thank you all. And, cheers to another 20 years!

Steve, Denise and John Thornton (Thornton Winery) with Sheryl and Tevis Laukat (Cannonball Musical Instruments), Eric Darius, Craig Collier and Lynne Darius

Ozzie and Kim Benoit partying with Kathy Payne

Photos: Ambrose

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14 | smooth jazz news

Photo: kmcdphotography Photo: kmcdphotography

Photo: kmcdphotography

Photo: kmcdphotography

Photo: R. Andrew Lepley

March 27-April 5

Top row: (left) Chris Botti performs March 27; (right) In 2018, Rick Braun, Dave Koz and Mitch Forman surprised fans at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading with a spontaneous jam in the lobby. Bottom row: (left) Eric Marienthal with his personalized Reading Fightin Phils jersey from his performance of the national anthem at the team’s home opener; (center) Glynis Albright (wife of saxophonist Gerald Albright) at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading preparing her chicken and waffles dishes at her Glynis’ Kitchen pop-up, which is open at this year’s fest, April 2-4; (right) The late Albert Boscov, founder of the Boscov’s department stores, with Boney James at the 2016 fest

30th Annual

BOSCOV ’S BERKS JAZZ FEST R E A D I N G , P E N N S Y LVA N I A By Marcia Manna

In 1991, no one dared to dream that a weekend jazz concert in Reading, Pennsylvania, would grow into a world-class event, destined to thrive for three decades. Yet every spring, Reading’s remarkable Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest, situated in Berks County, unites its residents and visitors through live music and helps boost the city’s economy. This year, the Berks Jazz Fest celebrates its 30th anniversary with more than 50 major concerts (and 75 other events) over a 10-day period, staged at venues ranging from intimate churches to swank hotels and performing arts centers.


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The event opens March 27 with a performance by Grammywinning trumpeter Chris Botti at the 1,700-seat Santander Performing Arts Center. The 30th Anniversary All-Star Celebration Concert on March 28, also at the Santander, is hosted by trumpeter (and Allentown, Pennsylvania, native) Rick Braun and features guitarists Peter White and Nick Colionne, saxophonists Mindi Abair and Euge Groove, former Tower of Power singer Larry Braggs, and bassist Brian Bromberg. The festival concludes on April 5, when multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson brings The XX Tour to West Reading. Though the Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest now generates millions of dollars, provides educational scholarships and attracts hundreds of volunteers through its impressive lineup of internationally renowned recording artists, 30 years ago it was an economic gamble for Reading because of a nationwide recession. Known as the “Outlet Capital of the World,” Reading’s numerous discount stores––within driving distance of New York and Pittsburgh––attracted millions of shoppers. But the economic impact was minimal: visitors shopped for deals, stocked up on pretzels (Reading is famous for them), and left for home. To help revitalize the city, the Berks County Arts Council and the Berks County Visitors Information Center decided to explore a different approach. They met with business owners, community organizations and John Ernesto, marketing director at the time for the Reading Eagle daily newspaper. Together, they brainstormed ways to enrich the city, support local businesses and entertain visitors. “It was basically a dead period for the hotels,” explained Ernesto, now retired from the Reading Eagle. “Mainly, they were trying to create a cultural tourism event.” After considering a range of ideas, the civic boosters chose to launch the Berks Jazz Fest. Ernesto drew up a marketing plan that included a special promotional section published in the newspaper. “It started out as a two-and-a-half-day festival, and it got off the ground with six or seven events,” Ernesto said. “Ultimately, we were in a straight-ahead jazz vein at that time. But we were fortunate with the advent of contemporary jazz and smooth jazz radio in the mid-’90s. That was a key turning point in the festival. We brought people in from a whole different genre of jazz, and it was much more commercial. Smooth jazz radio was building a fan base, and we had Photo: Caesar Lima an opportunity to attract Rick Braun, Euge Groove Peter White and Keiko Matsui––young, is scheduled to up-and-coming artists who have grown perform March 28 with us for the past 30 years.

“We created a partnership with adult contemporary radio station WJJZ [in Philadelphia], and that opened the door to a whole different audience,” said Ernesto, who became the festival’s general manager in 1994. “It was a natural synergy, a perfect storm for us. We quickly discovered there was interest outside the area, and we could create tourism. It was just a matter of keeping it going. Suddenly, we were able to fill 1,000-seat theaters with artists like The Rippingtons. It created a new revenue source for us, which created a new business model.” Ernesto, a veteran newsman, and family man with two young daughters and a jazz-singer wife Suzie, was well connected to the community and to important media outlets. He knew how to market the festival, but had little experience with contracting talent and programming appearances. “When I first took over, I was learning on the go. I never really booked a band, and I had a lot to learn,” he admitted. “I talked to people, worked with some people, and got my feet on the ground with the whole process.” Like many music lovers, Ernesto has his favorites. He had to get over that. He also learned to “never assume something will be a

“ What we try to do with the

festival is to create unique programs and concerts.”

continued on page 16

Photo: Raj Naik

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Brian Culbertson is scheduled to perform April 5

Photo: Lori Stoll

Rick Braun (left) and Peter White (above) are scheduled to perform March 28


16 | smooth jazz news

Photo: R. Andrew Lepley

home run.” He undertakes a matchmaking challenge that requires choosing which artists will perform in which venue, and when and at what time. “You learn quickly to take yourself out of the equation,” he admitted. “And you have to stay on course with knowing what the fans want, and what artists can sell tickets. We learned you have to diversify. Jazz is a big umbrella, so we present traditional jazz, contemporary jazz, Latin jazz, big band, gospel and even popinfluenced shows.” Still, there have been unforgettable favorites, especially the groundbreaking artists who have since passed on and left once-in-a-lifetime memories: Grover Washington Jr. in 1998, the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 2007 (his sons, the Brubeck Brothers, will perform a tribute to their dad on April 4), and jazz singer Nancy Wilson, who performed in 2008. And, then there’s jazz guitarist Chuck Loeb, a mentor and close friend to Ernesto who succumbed The late Chuck Loeb with John Ernesto at the 2004 Berks Jazz Fest to cancer in 2018 at age 61. The festival pays tribute to him on April 2, with the Chuck Loeb Memorial All-Star Jazz Jam featuring more than a dozen artists, including Braun, Colionne, Eric Darius and Gerald Albright. There’s also a scholarship in Loeb’s name, and this year’s winners will perform at the tribute. Collaboration is a big part of the festival’s ongoing success. Ernesto works closely with the Berks Arts Council, particularly Executive Director Meggan Kerber, Production Manager Gary Spencer and Program and Grants Coordinator Konstance Folk, all of whom help foster a partnership that supports festival programming. A signature of the Berks Jazz Fest is bringing together musicians to present a theme or style of music. It’s a strategy that musicians love to participate in because it forms musical partnerships unique to the festival. This year, many headlining artists, including Braun, vocalist Maysa, saxophonist Eric Darius, and the local DOXA Gospel Ensemble will participate in a concert of Stevie Wonder compositions on April 4. “What we try to do with the festival is to create unique programs and concerts,” Ernesto said. “When we create relationships, we ask artists to put something together with special guests, so that the only chance you get to see that show is at the Berks Jazz Fest.” Through the years, the Berks Jazz Fest has attracted fans from faraway places, including Switzerland, Italy, England, Holland,

Australia, and all over the United States. Ernesto remembered the student from Australia who took internet lessons from Loeb, then traveled to the festival to watch him perform. “We are known for creating a family atmosphere, and people feel at home here,” Ernesto said. “We have a simple philosophy: When you take care of the artists and you take care of the fans, everything else takes care of itself.”

When March 27-April 5

Where Various venues throughout Berks County, Pennsylvania. Main venues include: Santander Performing Arts Center, 136 N. 6th St., Reading; DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, Grand Ballroom, 701 Penn St., Reading; Scottish Rite Cathedral, 310 S. 7th Ave., West Reading; Miller Center for the Arts, Reading Area Community College, 4 N. 2nd St., Reading.

Getting there Flights are available to the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), approximately 70 miles from Berks County.

Staying there www.berksjazzfest.com/where-to-stay/

Tickets and information Visit www.berksjazzfest.com

Ph ot

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Photo: Aric Thompson

continued from page 15

Maysa (top left) is scheduled to perform March 27, Eric Darius (bottom left) is scheduled to perform April 2, and Gerald Albright (above) is scheduled to perform April 3

Lo

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Lineup: Below is a partial lineup of the major concerts. For the complete lineup, visit the festival website. For smooth jazz concert listings, see our calendar section, beginning on page 24.

Friday, March 27 Opening Night Celebration featuring Chris Botti ............ 7 p.m. Santander Performing Arts Center Pieces of a Dream with special guest Maysa, and introducing Justin-Lee Schultz........................................................... 9:30 p.m. DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, Grand Ballroom

Saturday, March 28

Keiko Matsui and Kirk Whalum ...........................................2 p.m. DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, Grand Ballroom 30th Anniversary All-Star Celebration featuring Rick Braun, Peter White, Mindi Abair, Nick Colionne, Larry Braggs, Brian Bromberg, Euge Groove .............................................6 p.m. Santander Performing Arts Center Damien Escobar ............................................................... 9:30 p.m. DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, Grand Ballroom

Wednesday, April 1 30th Anniversary Berks Bop Big Band featuring Rick Braun, Eric Marienthal, Gerald Albright, Everette Harp, Jeff Lorber, Brian Bromberg, Andrew Neu, Randy Brecker, Skip Spratt, Sherrie Maricle, Aubrey Logan, Gil Parris, Craig Kenney, Tony DeSantis, Paul Arbogast, Jarred Antonacci, Dave Cianci; plus the Berks High School All-Star Jazz Band directed by Albert Rivera ...................................................................... 7 p.m. DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, Grand Ballroom

Thursday, April 2 Chuck Loeb Memorial All-Star Jazz Jam featuring Rick Braun, Eric Marienthal, Gerald Albright, Gerald Veasley, Brian Bromberg, Dean Brown, Chris “Big Dog” Davis, Randy Brecker, Andrew Neu, Nick Colionne, Chieli Minucci, Eric Darius, Aubrey Logan, Bobby Lyle, Tony Moore, Ray Fuller, plus Chuck Loeb Memorial Scholarship winners ............................................ 7 p.m. DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, Grand Ballroom

Friday, April 3 Boney James ...........................................................................6 p.m. Scottish Rite Cathedral Gerald Albright and Jonathan Butler........................... 9:30 p.m. DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, Grand Ballroom

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30TH ANNUAL BOSCOV’S BERKS JAZZ FEST Various venues throughout Berks County, Pennsylvania March 27 - April 5, 2020 www.berksjazzfest.com

Saturday, April 4 Celebrating the Music of Stevie Wonder at 70! Hosted by Chris “Big Dog” Davis, featuring Rick Braun, Maysa, Kimberly Brewer, Eric Darius, Nick Colionne, Art Sherrod Jr., Ragan Whiteside, Glenn Jones, DOXA Gospel Ensemble and more .................................................................................. 1 p.m. DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, Grand Ballroom Incognito 40th Anniversary Tour with Maysa............. 9:30 p.m. DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, Grand Ballroom

Sunday, April 5 David Benoit and Lindsey Webster ....................................3 p.m. Miller Center for the Arts, Reading Area Community College 30th Anniversary Finale featuring Brian Culbertson: The XX Tour ..............................................................................6 p.m. Scottish Rite Cathedral

*This free-CD/DVD offer is a special promotion only available at the 2020 Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest, while supplies last, and CD/DVD selection is subject to change without notice. This offer is not available when ordering by phone, mail or online. CD/DVDs are provided compliments of record labels.


18 | smooth jazz news

\

Kobe Bryant

Smooth Jazz News salutes the accomplishments and sacrifices made by African American citizens

Aug. 23, 1978—Jan. 26, 2020 In memoriam for a life lost too soon. Kobe Bean Bryant was born in Philadelphia and grew up to achieve the following accomplishments and more:

» 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers (1996-2016); helped lead team to five world titles »18-time NBA All-Star; NBA’s Most

Valuable Player in 2008; three-time All-Star Game MVP; and two-time NBA Finals MVP

Tyler Perry

Photo: Featureflash

Black History Month is celebrated each February in the United States with concerts, rallies, parades, parties and other festivities to commemorate the contributions of African Americans who changed the world. Much progress has been made toward equality and against racial discrimination since Dr. Carter G.Woodson launched “Negro History Week” in 1926: We elected our first black president, Barack H. Obama, to two terms in office. Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman to launch a television network; and, last year, Tyler Perry was the first African American man to own a major movie studio. Still, there is much more work to do.

» Perry, a writer, actor, producer, director and philanthropist, is doing his part. He made history when he opened Tyler Perry Studios last year. In honor of people who have inspired and helped him along the way to his success, the New Orleans native dedicated 12 new sound stages to Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Halle Berry, Tyler Perry is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Sidney Poitier, Della Reese, Spike Fame on Oct. 1, 2019, in Hollywood, California Lee, Harry Belafonte, Cicely Tyson, Whoopi Goldberg, Diahann Carroll, Ruby Perry, now a multimillionaire, is the creator Dee and Ossie Davis, and Will Smith. of 17 feature films, 20 stage plays and seven Acquired by Perry in 2015, the television shows, and is also a New York Times 330-acre studio lot is located in best-selling author. Atlanta on the historic grounds of Fort During a broadcast of “The View” on Jan. 20, McPherson Army base, which was used as 2020, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Perry said: a confederate Army installation during “I’m definitely part of his [Dr. Martin Luther the American Civil War. King Jr.] dream. I’m in his backyard where One day while he was driving to work, he grew up there in Atlanta. Atlanta always the once homeless 50-year-old teared up felt like the promised land for me. For me when he noticed that a sign on Georgia to be able to go in there, build the studio, State Route 166 had changed from “Fort not only open a door, but take that door McPherson” to “Tyler Perry Studios.” It and lay it down and let it become a ramp was next to the exit sign for “Sylvan Road,” for other people to come through and come the street where he lived in his car in the up on, I love having that moment, for sure.” late ’90s.

» Member of two gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic men’s basketball teams (2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London) » Author of “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play” » Winner of the 2018 best Animated Short Film Academy Award for “Dear Basketball,” which also earned him a Sports Emmy and an Annie Award » Founder of Granity Studios, a multimedia content company Bryant—who is survived by his wife, Vanessa Laine Bryant, and daughters Natalia Diamante Bryant, Bianka Bella Bryant and Capri Kobe Bryant––died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant. Also killed were the pilot, Ara Zobayan; college baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, a basketball coach; and Sarah Chester and her daughter, Payton Chester.

Photo: Rick Braun

By Melanie Maxwell

On his 14th birthday, Kyle Braun meets his idol Kobe Bryant on court at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in 2016. The son of trumpeter Rick Braun (and wife Christiane) is a high school basketball star with an offer to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, next year.


F E B RUA RY | M A R C H 2 0 2 0 | 1 9

EARNEST WALKER JR.

CHRIS STANDRING

• IFATOBA

• Real Life

(IFATOBA MUSIC L.L.C.)

(Ultimate Vibe Recordings)

Celebrating 20 years since the release of his acclaimed debut album, Raindrops in the Sun, versatile independent saxophonist Earnest Walker Jr. gets back in the grooves big time with his highly anticipated album whose title, IFATOBA, is as exotic, compelling and bold as the eclectic, multi-faceted music itself. WEBSITE: www.earnestwalkerjr.com AVAILABLE AT: www.earnestwalkerjr.com, www.amazon.com, Apple Music, iTunes, www.spotify.com, www.cdbaby.com, and many more

One of contemporary urban jazz’s most prolific hitmakers since the late ’90s with 13 Billboard Top 10 singles and six No. 1s, Chris Standring takes the opportunity on his 13th solo album to acknowledge the sometimes-harsh twists and turns of Real Life, offering a truly uplifting way forward on this joyful soul-jazz infused retro-flavored set. Website: www.ChrisStandring.com AvAilAble At: www.amazon.com, iTunes, www.ChrisStandring.com and all online music outlets

Advertisement: To inquire about placement, call 858-541-1919 or email smoothjazzads@aol.com.


20 | SMOOTH JAZZ NEWS

DAVID BENOIT

Tracking the creation of his latest album, the composer circles back to the basics with his A-list peers By Ken Capobianco

The much-lauded smooth jazz star has made an intimate, highly melodic and musically diverse album with some of his longtime peers, including Dave Koz, Rick Braun and Peter White, along with a few younger musicians like vocalist Lindsey Webster and saxophonist Vincent Ingala. “There are so many genres I live in, so I knew this album could be a classical symphonic record, a straight-ahead jazz trio one, or a very slickly produced smooth jazz record, but I thought the best thing to do at this point in my career was to go back to basics, and where I started,” said Benoit via phone while savoring an early morning cup of coffee in his home in Palos Verdes, California, where he lives with his wife, Kei. “I went back to an old formula I used for years, which is hiring the best players, doing everything live in the studio and writing my songs and finding a few cover tunes that I love and would fit. Just an old-fashioned David Benoit record without slick production. We didn’t do anything classical or straight-ahead jazz. We did what I think I do best: melodic melodies and great songs.”

Photo: Bobby Quillard

With an impressive four-decade resume spanning multiple musical genres, pianist, composer and conductor David Benoit could have gone in any direction with his 36th album as a leader, David Benoit and Friends. The jazz virtuoso ultimately decided to bring his career full circle and follow the approach and sound that marked his early records of the late 1970s and early ’80s.


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Benoit has made many friends over the course of his long, internationally successful career, so finding suitable collaborators for the 11-song effort, which includes a new interpretation of “96132” from his very first record, Heavier Than Yesterday, was not very difficult. He set a wide net and reeled in new blood to bring fresh sounds and visions. “We first had the songs that we laid down with bass, drums, piano and guitar, and then asked, ‘OK, who would be good for this track?’” the amiable and talkative musician explained. “Of course, I had my stalwart friends like Dave, Rick and Peter––those are my comrades. We grew up in this business together and toured together for so many years. They were so great when asked. They were like, ‘I’ll be there.’ “And then there were the artists I hadn’t worked with, like Vincent and Lindsey, who did a fantastic job.” He enlisted his manager, and longtime music industry veteran, Bud Harner, to produce. “I’ve known Bud for 35 years. He and I used to play in bands together when he was playing drums, so we have a long history. He understands smooth jazz and contemporary jazz very well,” Benoit said. “He knows me and all the different genres I’ve explored. It was great working together because he gently guided me in certain directions and suggested different covers. He steered the ship in a nice way without being intrusive and saying, ‘This is the way it’s got to be.’ He got the best out of me.” The warm album leans on Benoit’s strengths—a delightful ear for melodies and remarkably strong compositional skills––while exploring different musical styles, including blues, bossa nova, swing, funk and upbeat foot-to-the-floor smooth jazz. It also includes two inventive arrangements of Coldplay’s popular “Viva La Vida” and the Grammy-winning pop hit “Feel It Still” from Portugal. The Man. It opens with “Ballad of Jane Hawk,” a graceful homage to best-selling writer Dean Koontz, with Peter White on guitar. Benoit explained that he is a big fan of Koontz’s suspense thrillers, and wrote a fan letter to him. To the pianist’s surprise, the creator of the steel-nerved FBI agent, Jane Hawk, responded. “We started writing to each other,” Benoit said. “I found out he was a fan of mine. My wife and I got an invitation to spend time with him and his wife at his 40,000-square-foot home in Newport Beach. It’s on Pelican Hill—just beautiful—and we became quick friends. He sent me his books, and he always liked ‘Kei’s Song.’ He said he would include it in one of his books, and, sure enough, he did in one of the Jane Hawk novels. I felt like reciprocity would be to write a song about Jane Hawk, which I co-wrote with another old friend, Russ Freeman of The Rippingtons. I wanted him to play on it, but he was on tour with the Rips. I was happy to write together again, though.”

For his reinvention of “Feel It Still,” Benoit had to figure out a way to approach the song that would make sense for his oeuvre and fit in the album. “That was recommended by Bud. I’d never heard it, and then realized you can hear it everywhere,” the pianist laughed. “When he first sent it to me, I thought, ‘No, there’s nothing I can do with this.’ Then I listened again and thought, ‘You know, if I take it in the kind of Ramsey Lewis direction, it would work.’ Ramsey was

Photo: Bobby Quillard

“I never went to music school, and did it the old-fashioned way–I went on the road and learned the ropes.”

one of my heroes. He was the original smooth jazz artist. That was happy, feel-good music with people participating and an R&B vibe to it. And the other major component of what I do, and why Ramsey is such a big influence, is you have to have a groove. You have to have that backbeat. That’s a foundation of smooth jazz because the groove is so important.” Benoit will bring the music from the album along with his deep songbook to the 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest in April. He has fond memories of the festival, and is looking forward to playing this year. “I really like John Ernesto,” said Benoit about the festival’s general manager. “He has done so much for the community. One of my favorite memories was conducting the pop symphony they have there. I conducted from the piano that time. It was so much fun. I do all my own orchestrations and conduct. Usually, they have an arranger and conductor, but I love doing all of it. “Last time I played Berks was with Marc Antoine, and we had a blast. Marc is very musical and melodic like I am. We share that same passion for intimacy and melody. The other special thing about the fest is the hang––all the cats are hanging out, and you have a big jam session. It’s tremendous fun to see the community.” While he may be best known as one of the pre-eminent jazz pianists, Benoit is also a world-class conductor who has worked with an array of symphonies, including The London Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The seasoned continued on page 22


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veteran of film scoring has conducted the Asia America Symphony Orchestra and the Pacific Vision Youth Symphony for many years. The Southern California native, who spent his formative years in Hermosa Beach (Hermosa Beach Party Central), said his passion for conducting was developed early in his career. “I was an accompanist for vocalists way before I did my own thing. I got my conducting chops as a musical director for someone like Lainie Kazan, so I had to learn how to conduct an orchestra,” he maintained. “I never went to music school, and did it the old-fashioned way— I went on the road and learned the ropes. I was always interested in conducting, and when I started scoring films in Hollywood, I took it more seriously and studied conducting with the head of the UCLA conducting department. I always conducted my own scores, and fell into this situation with a local orchestra, the Asia America Orchestra. They wanted to build up the youth program, so I formed the Youth Orchestra over time. We had two orchestras going at once. We couldn’t fund the Asia America Orchestra anymore, and I kept the Youth Orchestra. This is the first year that I took a step back and asked the assistant conductor to run it.” Benoit was turned on to jazz at a very young age when he first heard the music of Vincent Guaraldi on a “Peanuts” music special, but he said he didn’t try to influence his daughter, June, to follow his career path when she was growing up. To his surprise, she showed an early interest in the violin. “My wife got very excited about that, and I was excited, too, because I know the violin is such a tough instrument and so classical. I figured if she learns the violin, I can learn with her. As a conductor, it’s great to learn bowings and how the violin works. I saw it as an opportunity for us both, so we pushed her and then, yes, there was

that moment in junior high where she just opted out and said ‘no, this isn’t for me.’ We had to listen to her. “Not everyone is cut out to be a musician, but she wants to have a career in the music business. She loves music and maybe wants to be a music attorney or a supervisor. She’s at the University of the Pacific in Stockton studying the music business. My bottom line for her was always her happiness. She has to be the happiest, most well-adjusted kid, so I must have done something right.” As someone who has spent his entire career in the jazz scene, Benoit has a unique perspective of the evolution of the genre. As the host of a morning radio show on the contemporary jazz station KJAZZ 88.1 (KKJZ) in Long Beach, California, he’s also especially plugged into new music from emerging artists. “Jazz means so many different things now. The straight-ahead community with the Joey Alexanders seems to be all about prestige, Grammy Awards and prestigious jazz festivals. Dare I say it’s a little bit arrogant and snobbish,” he ruminated. “That’s what I feel, even though I shouldn’t come out and say it like this. “But that small community is not the music of the masses and hasn’t been for years. You have that elite community and the smooth jazz, which is party music. You have Brian Culbertson’s Jazz Getaway, and Rick Braun and Dave Koz have their cruises. Smooth jazz is about environment and having fun. “You have these two polar opposites. So, where’s the middle ground? Maybe Michael Franks. Someone who just comes out, sings his songs, and people love him. And then there’s still the icons of jazz––Chick Corea, Lee Ritenour, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter––the ones who are in their own universe. I think it’s definitely a fascinating time for jazz fans.” For more information on Benoit, visit benoit.com.

On Tour April 5 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest Miller Center for the Arts Reading, Pennsylvania www.berksjazzfest.com

May 11 Mallorca Smooth Jazz Festival Protur Biomar Gran Hotel & Spa Sa Coma, Mallorca, Spain www.mallorca.smoothjazzfestival.de 49-821-2292711

Ph ot o:

Lo ri

Sto ll

Sept. 10 and 12 Brian Culbertson’s Chicago Jazz Getaway Hotel Fairmont Chicago-Millennium Park Chicago, Illinois www.chicagojazzgetaway.com


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24 | smooth jazz news

CONCERTs, FESTIVALs and cruises February 1

Chris Botti, 7pm, The Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, California, www.livenation.com/ events/1235227-feb-1-2020-chris-botti, 213-388-1400 6

DW3, 8pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www. spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 7

Ray Parker Jr., 8pm, Rams Head On Stage, 33 West St., Annapolis, Maryland, www.ramsheadonstage.com, 410-268-4545 DOTSERO, 9:30pm, Live at Jack’s, 500 16th St., #320, Denver, Colorado, www.liveatjacks.com, 303-433-1000 Gerald Albright, 7 & 10pm, Soiled Dove Underground, 7401 E. 1st Ave., Denver, Colorado, www.soileddove.com, 303-830-9214

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Gerald Albright, 7 & 10pm, Soiled Dove Underground, 7401 E. 1st Ave., Denver, Colorado, www.soileddove.com, 303-830-9214

Adam Hawley, 8pm, BLU Jazz+, 47 E. Market St., Akron, Ohio, http:// blujazzakron.com, 330-252-1190

Jeff Kashiwa, 8pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 12

Sammy Miller & The Congregation: Leaving Egypt Tour, 7:30pm, California Center for the Arts, Escondido, Center Theater, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, California, artcenter.org, 800-988-4253 13

DW3, 8pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 Mindi Abair, 7:30pm, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, 2033 6th Ave., Seattle, Washington, www.jazzalley.com, 206-441-9729

Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Smooth Jazz Concert featuring Eric Darius, 7:30pm, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, Atwood Concert Hall, 621 W. 6th Ave., Anchorage, Alaska, https://atwoodconcerthall. alaskapac.org/, 907-263-2787 Rainbow Promotions presents a Smooth Jazz Valentine’s Concert for Friends & Lovers featuring Boney James & Will Downing; dinner check-in (for VIP ticket holders), 5:30pm, dinner starts at 6:30pm; concert, 8:30pm, Long Beach Performing Arts Center, Terrace Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, California, www.rainbowpromotions.com, 562-424-0013 Valentine’s Jazz Evening at The Abbey on Fifth Avenue featuring Hot Pursuit, 8pm, The Abbey, 2825 5th Ave., San Diego, California, www.hornblower.com/san-diego/ valentines-day-at-the-abbey/,  855-627-8482

CHRIS BOTTI

Boney James

Sax To The Max

Christian Sands

Jeffrey Osborne

Valentine’s Day featuring Darryl Walker, 5:30 & 8pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 Mindi Abair Valentine’s Day Celebration, 7:30 & 9:30pm, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, 2033 6th Ave., Seattle, Washington, www.jazzalley.com, 206-441-9729 15

Eric Darius, 7pm, Hering Auditorium, 901 Airport Way, Fairbanks, Alaska, www.ericdarius.com Special EFX All-Stars, 5:30 & 8pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 Mindi Abair, 7:30 & 9:30pm, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, 2033 6th Ave., Seattle, Washington, www.jazzalley.com, 206-441-9729 El Olam Cares 3rd Annual Valentine’s Gala featuring Lin Rountree & Adam Hawley, 7pm, The Premier by the Best Western,

Spyro Gyra

MARCH 26-28 2020 Reserve Now! 844-810-8205

Adam Hawley

A.R.T.

weekend of jazz.com/broadmoor


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26555 Telegraph Road, Southfield, Michigan, www.adamhawley.com 16 Ilya Serov & His 10-piece Big Band, 7pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 Mindi Abair, 7:30pm, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, 2033 6th Ave., Seattle, Washington, www.jazzalley.com, 206-441-9729 20 Eric Darius, 7:30pm, Suite Food Lounge, 375 Luckie St. N.W., Atlanta, Georgia, http://suiteatl.com/, 404-577-2500 DW3, 8pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 David Sanborn Jazz Quartet, 7:30pm, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, 2033 6th Ave., Seattle, Washington, www.jazzalley.com, 206-441-9729 21 DOTSERO, 9:30pm, Live at Jack’s, 500 16th St., #320, Denver, Colorado, www.liveatjacks.com, 303-433-1000 David Sanborn Jazz Quartet, 7:30 & 9:30pm, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, 2033 6th Ave., Seattle, Washington, www.jazzalley.com, 206-441-9729 22 DOTSERO, 9:30pm, Live at Jack’s, 500 16th St., #320, Denver, Colorado, www.liveatjacks.com, 303-433-1000 Eric Darius, 7pm, Punta Gorda Wine & Jazz Festival, Laishley Park, north end of Nesbit St., Punta Gorda, Florida, https:// puntagordachamber.com/ David Sanborn Jazz Quartet, 7:30 & 9:30pm, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, 2033 6th Ave., Seattle, Washington, www.jazzalley.com, 206-441-9729 23 Jeffrey Osborne, 7:30pm, The Birchmere, 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Virginia, www.birchmere.com, 703-549-7500 Blake Aaron, 7pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old

Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 David Sanborn Jazz Quartet, 7:30pm, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, 2033 6th Ave., Seattle, Washington, www.jazzalley.com, 206-441-9729 27 Adam Hawley, 7:30pm, Suite Food Lounge, 375 Luckie St. N.W., Atlanta, Georgia, http://suiteatl.com/, 404-577-2500 DW3, 8pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 Chris Standring, 8:30pm, PizzaExpress Jazz Club, 10 Dean St., Soho, London, www.pizzaexpresslive.com, 020-7439-4962

RAINBOW PROMOTIONS, LLC PRESENTS

A Smooth Jazz Valentine’s Concert FOR FRIENDS & LOVERS

February 14, 2020, 8:30pm

28 Adam Hawley & Marcus Anderson, 8pm, The Tin Pan, 8982 Quioccasin Road, Richmond, Virginia, https:// www.tinpanrva.com/, 804-447-8189

Will Downing

Chris Standring, 9pm, PizzaExpress Jazz Club, 10 Dean St., Soho, London, www.pizzaexpresslive.com, 020-7439-4962 29 Jessy J, 5:30 & 8pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 Chris Standring, 7 & 10pm, PizzaExpress Jazz Club, 10 Dean St., Soho, London, www.pizzaexpresslive.com, 020-7439-4962

BoneyJ ames

RebeccaJ ade

TERRACE THEATER Long Beach Performing Arts Center

MarCH 1 Adrian Crutchfield, 7pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 6 Black Violin, performance for youth, noon; Impossible Tour, 7:30pm, California Center for the Arts, Escondido, Concert Hall, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, California, artcenter.org, 800-988-4253 continued on page 26

300 East Ocean Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90802

Tickets and Information

562-424-0013 www.rainbowpromotions.com Connect with us:


26 | smooth jazz news

continued from page 25 8

Tom Braxton, 7pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 11

Pink Martini, 7:30pm, California Center for the Arts, Escondido, Concert Hall, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, California, artcenter.org, 800-988-4253 12

Special EFX All-Stars featuring Chieli Minucci, Eric Marienthal, Karen Briggs, Lao Tizer, Ric Fierabracci & Gene Coye, 8pm, Soiled Dove Underground, 7401 E. 1st Ave., Denver, Colorado, www.soileddove.com, 303-830-9214 13

Ray Fuller, 8pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199

15

Greg Manning & Jeff Ryan, 7pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 21

Jeff Kashiwa & Steve Cole, 8pm, Soiled Dove Underground, 7401 E. 1st Ave., Denver, Colorado, www.soileddove.com, 303-830-9214 22

Steve Cole, 7pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 26

Earl Klugh’s 17th Annual Weekend of Jazz at The Broadmoor featuring Spyro Gyra, 6 & 8:15pm, Cheyenne Lodge, A.R.T. featuring Al Turner, Ron Otis & Tom Braxton, 9:45pm, The Broadmoor, West Ballroom, 1 Lake Ave., Colorado Springs, Colorado, www.weekendofjazz.com, 844-810-8205 (for 3-night package guests)

DW3, 8pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 27

Earl Klugh’s 17th Annual Weekend of Jazz at The Broadmoor featuring Jeffrey Osborne, 8pm; Boney James, 9:45pm, West Ballroom; Adam Hawley, 11:30pm, International Center, The Broadmoor, 1 Lake Ave., Colorado Springs, Colorado, www.weekendofjazz.com, 844-810-8205 (for 2- & 3-night package guests) 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest Opening Night Celebration featuring Chris Botti, 7pm, Santander Performing Arts Center, 136 N. 6th St., Reading, Pennsylvania, www.berksjazzfest.com 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest featuring Pieces of a Dream with special guest Maysa & introducing Justin-Lee Schultz, 9:30pm, DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, Grand Ballroom, 701 Penn St., Reading, Pennsylvania, www.berksjazzfest.com DW3 CD-Release Party, 8pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining &

Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest presents Gerald Veasley’s Midnight Jam featuring Blake Aaron, Tom Braxton, Albert Rivera, Nick Colionne, Andrew Neu, Rob Zinn, Tony Exum Jr., Nelson Rangell, Marc Antoine, Donald Robinson, Richard Waller & more, 11:59pm, The Inn at Reading Ballroom, 1040 N. Park Road, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, www.berksjazzfest.com 28

Sounds of Jazz & Blues featuring Gerald Albright, 8:30pm, Tarpon Point Marina, 6179 Black Marlin Lane, Cape Coral, Florida, www.capeconcerts.com/ entertainment, 239-573-3128, 877-722-2823 Earl Klugh’s 17th Annual Weekend of Jazz at The Broadmoor featuring Christian Sands, 8pm; Chris Botti, 9:45pm, West Ballroom; Sax to the Max featuring Michael Lington, Paul Taylor & Vincent Ingala, 11:30pm, International Center, The Broadmoor, 1 Lake Ave., Colorado Springs, Colorado, www.weekendofjazz.com, 844-810-8205


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30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest presents Gerald Veasley Unscripted at Berks featuring Nelson Rangell, Alex Bugnon & Marc Antoine, 1 & 7pm, DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, 701 Penn St., Reading, Pennsylvania, www.berksjazzfest.com 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest featuring Keiko Matsui & Kirk Whalum, 2pm, DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, Grand Ballroom, 701 Penn St., Reading, Pennsylvania, www.berksjazzfest.com 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest featuring Andrew Neu & Rob Zinn, 3:30pm, DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, Cheers Lounge, 701 Penn St., Reading, Pennsylvania, www.berksjazzfest.com (free admission) Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest 30th Anniversary All-Star Celebration featuring Rick Braun, Peter White, Mindi Abair, Nick Colionne, Larry Braggs, Brian Bromberg & Euge Groove, 6pm, Santander Performing Arts Center, 136 N. 6th St., Reading, Pennsylvania, www.berksjazzfest.com 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest featuring Damien Escobar, 9:30pm, DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, Grand Ballroom, 701 Penn St., Reading, Pennsylvania, www.berksjazzfest.com Eric Marienthal & special guest artist, 5:30 & 8pm, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 Uptown Music Festival featuring Adam Hawley, 6pm, University Area Community Park, 14013 N. 22nd St., Tampa, Florida, www.uptownmusicfestival.com, 813-558-5212 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest presents Gerald Veasley’s Midnight Jam featuring Blake Aaron, Tom Braxton, Albert Rivera, Nick Colionne, Andrew Neu, Rob Zinn, Tony Exum Jr., Nelson Rangell, Marc Antoine, Donald Robinson, Richard Waller & more, 11:59pm, The Inn at Reading Ballroom, 1040 N. Park Road, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, www.berksjazzfest.com

29 Maysa: 25th Anniversary of 1st Studio Album, 5:30 & 8:30pm, Rams Head On Stage, 33 West St., Annapolis, Maryland, www.ramsheadonstage.com, 410-268-4545 Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest featuring Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Victor Wooten, Roy “Futureman” Wooten & Howard Levy, 6pm, Santander Performing Arts Center, 136 N. 6th St., Reading, Pennsylvania, www.berksjazzfest.com 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest featuring Soul Patrol: Larry Braggs, Blake Aaron, Tom Braxton, 2:30pm, The Inn at Reading Ballroom, 1040 N. Park Road, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, www.berksjazzfest.com

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F T H E SO U T H E R N CAL

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OPENING WEEKEND OCTOBER 8-11 CLOSING WEEKEND OCTOBER 15-18

JAZZTRAX

30 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest presents Get JazzED Reading Musical Foundation Night, RMF Project Penske Jazz Jam hosted by Mike Eben, featuring Albert Rivera, Gerald Veasley, Brian Bromberg, Eric Marienthal, Aubrey Logan & Bobby Lyle, 7pm, The Inn at Reading Ballroom, 1040 N. Park Road, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, www.berksjazzfest.com

DAVE KOZ

MINDI ABAIR

GERALD ALBRIGHT

NAJEE

NICHOLAS COLE

Steely Dan/Crusaders show

31 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest welcomes the Reading Eagle Community Concert featuring the U.S. Air Force Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble with Eric Marienthal, plus the Berks High School All-Star Jazz Band directed by Albert Rivera, 7pm, Exeter Township Senior High School, 201 E. 37th St., Reading, Pennsylvania, www.berksjazzfest.com (free admission) 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest presents Jazz at the Abe featuring Bobby Lyle & The Ladies of Song with Toni Lynne, Annette Hines & more, 7pm, The Abraham Lincoln Hotel, 100 N. 5th St. Hwy., Reading, Pennsylvania, www.berksjazzfest.com

DON’T MISS A BEAT OF

continued on page 28

SPYRO GYRA

MANY MORE STILL TO BE ANNOUNCED!

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FULL WEEKEND SERIES & THURSDAY NIGHTS UNPLUGGED ON THE BEACH (single session tickets on sale at Memorial Day)

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28 | smooth jazz news

jazz bruNches continued from page 23

continued from page 27 s at u r day, f e b. 1

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER s u n day, f e b. 2

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Rainbow Harbor Marina, 100 Aquarium Way, Dock 6A, Long Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER

Hornblower San Diego Champagne Brunch Cruise featuring live performances by the Dave Scott Duo, sails 11am-1pm, boards at 10:30am from Pier 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, California, www.hornblower.com, 855-627-8482

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER

Spaghettini’s Legendary Champagne Brunch with performances by DW3, 10am, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER

Cupid’s Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower, 2 sailings: 11:30am-1:30pm & noon-2pm, boards at 11 & 11:30am, respectively, from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER

Hornblower San Diego Champagne Brunch Cruise featuring live performances by the Dave Scott Duo, sails 11am-1pm, boards at 10:30am from Pier 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, California, www.hornblower.com, 855-627-8482

Hornblower San Diego Champagne Brunch Cruise featuring live performances by the Dave Scott Duo, sails 11am-1pm, boards at 10:30am from Pier 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, California, www.hornblower.com, 855-627-8482

s at u r day, f e b. 8

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER s u n day, f e b. 9

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Rainbow Harbor Marina, 100 Aquarium Way, Dock 6A, Long Beach, California, www. hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER

Spaghettini’s Legendary Champagne Brunch with performances by DW3, 10am, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 s at u r day, f e b. 1 5

KJAZZ Cupid’s Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Rainbow Harbor Marina, 100 Aquarium Way, Dock 6A, Long Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Cupid’s Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring

live jazz music, 2 sailings: 11:30am1:30pm & noon-2pm, boards at 11 & 11:30am, respectively, from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER

s u n day, f e b. 1 6

Cupid’s Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Rainbow Harbor Marina, 100 Aquarium Way, Dock 6A, Long Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Cupid’s Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, 2 sailings: 11:30am1:30pm & noon-2pm, boards at 11 & 11:30am, respectively, from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER continued on page 30


f e b rua ry | m a r c h 2 0 2 0 | 2 9


30 | smooth jazz news

continued from page 28

Cupid’s Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower, 2 sailings: 11:30am-1:30pm & noon-2pm, boards at 11 & 11:30am, respectively, from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Rainbow Harbor Marina, 100 Aquarium Way, Dock 6A, Long Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER

Hornblower San Diego Champagne Brunch Cruise featuring live performances by the Dave Scott Duo, sails 11am-1pm, boards at 10:30am from Pier 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, California, www.hornblower.com, 855-627-8482

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER

Spaghettini’s Valentine’s Day Champagne Brunch with performances by DW3, 10am, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, with special guest appearance by KJAZZ radio host Bubba Jackson, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER

m o n day, f e b. 1 7

Cupid’s Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Rainbow Harbor Marina, 100 Aquarium Way, Dock 6A, Long Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Cupid’s Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER Cupid’s Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER

s at u r day, f e b. 2 2

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER

s u n day, f e b. 2 3

Hornblower San Diego Champagne Brunch Cruise featuring live performances by the Dave Scott Duo, sails 11am-1pm, boards at 10:30am from Pier 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, California, www.hornblower.com, 855-627-8482 Spaghettini’s Legendary Champagne Brunch with performances by DW3, 10am, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199

s at u r day, f e b. 2 9

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER

s u n day, m a r c h 1

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Rainbow

Harbor Marina, 100 Aquarium Way, Dock 6A, Long Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER

Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER Hornblower San Diego Champagne Brunch Cruise featuring live performances by the Dave Scott Duo, sails 11am-1pm, boards at 10:30am from Pier 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, California, www.hornblower.com, 855-627-8482 Spaghettini’s Legendary Champagne Brunch with performances by Derek Bordeaux, 10am, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 s at u r day, m a r c h 7

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER

s u n day, m a r c h 8

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Rainbow Harbor Marina, 100 Aquarium Way, Dock 6A, Long Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from

Hornblower San Diego Champagne Brunch Cruise featuring live performances by the Dave Scott Duo, sails 11am-1pm, boards at 10:30am from Pier 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, California, www.hornblower.com, 855-627-8482 Spaghettini’s Legendary Champagne Brunch with performances by Heart-N-Soul, 10am, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 s at u r day, m a r c h 1 4

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER

s u n day, m a r c h 1 5

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Rainbow Harbor Marina, 100 Aquarium Way, Dock 6A, Long Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at


f e b rua ry | m a r c h 2 0 2 0 | 3 1

Smooth Jazz News contributors David Hopley (photographer), Denise Hovey (admin), Barbara Knox (editor), and our server Jen enjoying Hornblower San Diego’s Champagne Jazz Brunch aboard Inspiration Hornblower

11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER Hornblower San Diego Champagne Brunch Cruise featuring live performances by the Dave Scott Duo, sails 11am-1pm, boards at 10:30am from Pier 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, California, www.hornblower.com, 855-627-8482 Spaghettini’s Legendary Champagne Brunch with performances by Erin Stevenson, 10am, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 s at u r day, m a r c h 2 1

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER

CharleHoult s and Virginia Tillie Hoult plays cornhole on the upper deck of the Inspiration Hornblower Circle above: Tillie, Virginia and Findlay Hoult meet Dave Scott, jazz musician and KUSI-TV broadcast meteorologist and feature reporter

s u n day, m a r c h 2 2

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Rainbow Harbor Marina, 100 Aquarium Way, Dock 6A, Long Beach, California, www. hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER Hornblower San Diego Champagne Brunch Cruise featuring live performances by the Dave Scott Duo, sails 11am-1pm, boards at 10:30am from Pier 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, California, www.hornblower.com, 855-627-8482 Spaghettini’s Legendary Champagne Brunch with performances by DW3, 10am, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www. spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199

Charles and Virginia Hoult with their kids, Findlay and Tillie, on holiday from the United Kingdom enjoying Hornblower San Diego’s Champagne Jazz Brunch aboard Inspiration Hornblower

s at u r day, m a r c h 2 8

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, with special guest appearance by KJAZZ radio host Bubba Jackson, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER s u n day, m a r c h 2 9

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Rainbow Harbor Marina, 100 Aquarium Way, Dock 6A, Long Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring performances by Mat Gurman, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from Fisherman’s Village Marina, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California, www.hornblower.com, 310-301-9900, 888-HORNBLOWER

KJAZZ Champagne Brunch Cruise aboard Hornblower featuring live jazz music, sails noon-2pm, boards at 11:30am from 2431 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, California, www.hornblower.com, 949-650-2412, 888-HORNBLOWER 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest welcomes the Smooth Jazz JJZ Sunday Brunch featuring Jazz Funk Soul with Jeff Lorber, Everette Harp & Paul Jackson Jr., buffet, 10am; show, 11:30am, DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, Grand Ballroom, 701 Penn St., Reading, Pennsylvania, www.berksjazzfest.com Hornblower San Diego Champagne Brunch Cruise featuring live performances by the Dave Scott Duo, sails 11am-1pm, boards at 10:30am from Pier 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, California, www.hornblower.com, 855-627-8482 Spaghettini’s Legendary Champagne Brunch with performances by DW3, 10am, Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, www.spaghettini.com, 562-596-2199 NOTE: Artists, events, venues, dates and show times are subject to change without notice. Smooth Jazz News is not responsible for any cancellations or changes or the accuracy of any concert or festival information contained in this magazine in advertisements and/ or editorial, which has been provided by outside sources. Please contact each venue directly to confirm all information.


32 | SMOOTH JAZZ NEWS

jAzz BuZz

and the succulent life By Melanie Maxwell

Sending an ensemble of smooth jazz artists out on tour as a package has certainly gained popularity since the first incarnation of the “Guitars and Saxes” concept launched in 1995. That lineup featured saxophonists Richard Elliot and Warren Hill, with guitarists Peter White and Craig Chaquico, and was the brainchild of John Harrington and Bobby Engel, agents at Variety Artists International. Twenty-five years later, tour packages are on nearly every festival lineup. Here is a preview of some of the newest packages hitting the touring circuit in 2020:

Photo: Byanna Webber

1.

Keiko Matsui

Kirk Whalum

KEIKO MATSUI and saxophonist KIRK WHALUM are touring together this year. Keyboardist

Their first concert is scheduled for March 28, at the 30th Annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, Grand Ballroom, 701 Penn St., Reading, Pennsylvania. For tickets or more information, visit www.berksjazzfest.com. For more information on Matsui and Whalum, visit their websites, www.keikomatsui.com/ and www.kirkwhalum.com/, respectively.

2. PETER WHITE and EUGE GROOVE have teamed up together again for another year of White Hot Summer Groove. The guitarist and saxophonist will also welcome MINDI ABAIR on select dates. Abair, who left the genre and her management a few years ago to explore her blues chops, is dipping her toes back into smooth jazz and has returned to her prior management team, Chapman & Co. Management. White and Groove are scheduled to perform at the Seabreeze Jazz Festival in Panama City Beach, Florida, on April 23 (www.seabreezejazzfestival.com); and the inaugural Mazatlan Jazz Festival in Mexico on May 16 (https://mazatlanjazzfestival.com/). For more information on White and Groove, visit their websites at www.peterwhite.com and www.eugegroove.com, respectively.

Peter White

Euge Groove

Mindi Abair


F E B RUA RY | M A R C H 2 0 2 0 | 3 3

3. RICK BRAUN and JONATHAN BUTLER not only share a

Photo: Raj Naik

Longtime friends

close friendship, they’ll share a stage on several tour dates. Bookings are currently in the works. For more information and updates on Braun and Butler, go to www.rickbraun.com and www.jonathanbutler.com.

(Above) Jonathan Butler (Left) Rick Braun

4.

Photo: Alessandra Nicole

Brass lovers won’t want to miss trumpeters WILLIE BRADLEY, JOHNNY BRITT and ROB ZINN as the Brass Attack BBZ tour this year. Dates include Saturday, July 11, at the 4th Annual San Diego Smooth Jazz Festival, held at Embarcadero Marina Park North, 400 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, California. If you’d like to familiarize yourself with the backgrounds of these multitalented musicians, here are some quick facts: Bradley taught music to middle school students at an Army base in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, while playing local gigs

Willie Bradley

Photo: De’Andrea Freeman/Dees Eyes Photography

Rob Zinn

Johnny Britt

and struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. In 2010, after his fourth stint in rehab, he made his dream of recording a CD come true by releasing a gospel jazz record, Speak to My Heart, with his group Kingdom Builders. Since then, he’s recorded two solo CDs, and he is now in the studio with Britt and Zinn finishing their single, a cover of Herb Alpert’s “Tijuana Taxi.” Britt produced the group’s first single, which is scheduled to hit the radio airwaves in late February. Britt is not only a vocalist, trumpeter, songwriter and producer, he is also the founder of Impromp2, an R&B soul group signed to Motown’s jazz label MoJazz Records in the ’90s. After 17 years together, the band broke up, and Britt released his first solo record, Feels so Good, in 2012. Throughout his career, he has continued composing songs for artists such as Boney James (three of which hit No. 1 on the radio airplay charts), Paul Brown, Euge Groove, Rick Braun, The Temptations, Peabo Bryson, Marion Meadows and Jessy J. He’s currently working on his next solo project, scheduled for release in May. Zinn, the third member of Brass Attack BBZ, is a veteran trumpeter and flugelhornist with two solo albums to his credit. While performing in his high school jazz band, the Maryland native began his career in a 15-piece swing band. His performance experience also includes dance party bands and blues groups. To learn more about these artists, visit their websites at www.williebradley.net, http://johnnybritt.com and http://robzinn.com, respectively. For tickets or more information about The San Diego Smooth Jazz Festival scheduled for July 10-12, which also features a Friday night dinner cruise aboard Inspiration Hornblower on July 10 (boarding at Pier 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 N. Harbor Dr.), visit www.sandiegosmoothjazzfestival.com, or call 562-424-0013. continued on page 34


34 | SMOOTH JAZZ NEWS

continued from page 33

6. Photo: Jurgen Reisch

Unfortunately, one artist will be absent from the festival and concert circuits this year. Saxophonist RICHARD ELLIOT is taking 2020 off. On Dec. 9, 2019, the Grammy-nominated saxophonist posted this message on his Facebook page:

NILS

Steve Oliver

Tim Bowman

5. Guitarists NILS, STEVE OLIVER and TIM BOWMAN have formed Guitar G-Force. Although we don’t see these talented artists on every festival lineup, this newly minted trio is sure to generate some buzz with this package. To pique your interest, here’s a little bit about each one: With 10 solo CDs to his credit (and an 11th scheduled for release in March), NILS is also the author of several music books, JamTracks and lead sheets. In addition, he produces and writes songs for other artists, as well as for television and film. And, he teaches personalized private music lessons in the Los Angeles area and from anywhere online via Skype or Facetime. Oliver’s first solo release, First View, earned Smooth Jazz News’ Debut Artist of the Year title in 1999. In addition to his 11 solo records, the multi-instrumentalist/producer/vocalist has co-written or produced for smooth jazz artists such as Brian Simpson, Paul Taylor, Will Donato and Steve Reid. Detroit native Bowman grew up playing guitar in his church. He served as musical director for gospel luminaries The Winans before launching his solo career in 1987. Since then, he’s released seven solo records, which spawned five No. 1 singles on the radio airplay charts. Guitar G-Force is scheduled to perform on April 24, at the Seabreeze Jazz Festival at Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater, 500 W. Park Dr., in Panama City Beach, Florida. For tickets or more information, visit www.seabreezejazzfestival.com or call 850-267-3279. For more information on each artist, visit their websites at www.nilsmusic.com, www.steveoliver.com, and www.timbowman.com.

“To all of my dear friends and supporters, I’m currently dealing with a health issue that has forced me to take time off this coming year to fully recover. I want to express my sincere love and gratitude for all of your prayers and thoughts. Thank you for your inspiring kindness. I look forward to seeing you soon. Much love to you all, Richard” We’re sending much love and healing prayers to Richard, and look forward to seeing him onstage in 2021! For updates on Elliot, visit his website at www.richardelliot.com, and social media platforms.

Richard Elliot


f e b rua ry | m a r c h 2 0 2 0 | 3 5

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36 | SMOOTH JAZZ NEWS

BOOK REVIEWS “The Fierce 44: Black Americans Who Shook Up the World” By The Staff of The Undefeated, ESPN HMH (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) 2019 • 96 pages • $17.99 Profile by Melanie Maxwell Featured on “The View” as part of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration Jan. 20, 2020, this book is “a collection of dreamers, doers, noisy geniuses and quiet innovators,

“Me: Elton John Official Autobiography” By Elton John Henry Holt & Co. 2019 • 384 pages • $30 Reviewed by Darcy Peters Elton John has penned an enjoyable look at his amazing life. His autobiography covers decades of the remarkable career that this multiple Grammy-winning legend and flamboyant superstar has created. Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in 1947 to a working-class family, he was an only child of an unhappy couple. His parents eventually divorced, but John was left with basically no relationship with his father and endlessly troubled tangles with his mother. Blessed with the ability to quickly mimic any tune he heard, John developed his love of music. When he discovered rock ’n’ roll, he became obsessed. He played with small groups and made the rounds, attempting to get gigs. After another of his many rejections, he was given the name of a song lyric writer, Bernie Taupin. Their partnership became one of the most enduring and successful in musical history. “Bernie writes the words, gives them to me, I read them, play a chord and something else takes over, something comes through my fingers,” John writes in the book.

record breakers and symbols of pride and aspiration,” according to Kevin Merida, editor in chief, The Undefeated, ESPN. However, “It’s not a list of the Greatest Black Americans of All Time or the Most Influential Blacks in History. Or even the Dopest Brothers and Sisters Who Matter Most This Week,” Merida writes in the book’s preface. “It is a list––fervently debated among the staff of The Undefeated, a list chiseled and refined––of 44 blacks who shook up the world, or at least their corner of it.” While admitting that this is not a complete list of “jaw-dropping black achievers,” this book is an homage to

the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, who was the first African American to hold this office. Those “achievers” featured include Quincy Jones, Sidney Poitier, Jay-Z, Duke Ellington, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou. And, “From Frederick Douglass to Oprah Winfrey to Barack Obama, we hope this collection inspires you to learn more about the incredible contributions black Americans have made to our country,” Merida concludes. For more information, visit https://theundefeated.com.

After a slightly successful first album, John was advised to go to America, where he began performing with wilder and wilder costumes. Following successful gigs at the Troubadour, he was overwhelmed by the number of his idols and celebrities he was meeting. He also began his first serious relationship with John Reid, who eventually became his manager. John was always worried about his sexuality being made more public, and when The Sun newspaper outed him, the reaction was much less than he had feared. John name-drops aplenty from his days in Hollywood during the ’70s and ’80s. He shares anecdotes from Bob Dylan to Brian Wilson, and his own collisions with substance abuse. When he was introduced to cocaine, John jumped right in and spent years using the drug. After many years, John’s addiction to cocaine, and later to alcohol, landed him in rehab. He has remained clean and sober for nearly three decades. A key theme in recovery is service to others, which has sparked his multitude of philanthropic interests. After meeting with Elizabeth Taylor, John was inspired by her AIDS advocacy, and he created the Elton John Aids Foundation, which has generated millions of dollars for the cause. His Oscars after-party has become not only a Hollywood tradition, but also a major fundraiser for his foundation. And, he counts himself lucky that he did not contract the disease. John’s turbulent personal life changed when he met and fell in love with David

Furnish. The couple cemented their commitment with a civil ceremony in 2005, and, when same-sex marriages became legal in Britain in 2014, they wed. The couple wanted children, and, after much red tape and time, they successfully had two sons together through a surrogate––Zachary, now 8, and Elijah, 6. John and Furnish’s extended “family” circle included many world-famous celebrities. They were both great friends with Gianni Versace, and they were devastated when he was murdered. John’s close friendship with Princess Diana ended with her death. In tribute to her, Taupin changed the lyrics of “Candle in the Wind,” to include an homage to the popular princess of Wales. John performed the rewritten version of that song, the biggest-selling single of all time (which sold more than 33 million copies), at her funeral in 1997. A new challenge came to John with a request from Disney to write songs for an animated film, “The Lion King.” He had not yet written for a film, and he wrote these songs with lyricist Tim Rice. The movie and the music became a massive hit, giving John some of his highest sales. This entertaining autobiography is full of stories written in self-deprecating and sarcastic terms describing the public and private life of celebrity icon Sir Elton Hercules John.


f e b rua ry | m a r c h 2 0 2 0 | 3 7

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38 | SMOOTH JAZZ NEWS

GRAPHIC P L E H DESIGN N E E D RO J E C T ? P A H EDITING WIT talent to make CASHMIRA’S STARGUIDE ! r n u o WRITING Tap od impressi goo a BLOGGING GRAPHIC DESIGN EDITING WRITING BLOGGING GRAPHIC DESIGN EDITING WRITING BLOGGING FEBRUARY | MARCH 2020

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Capricorn Dec. 22 - Jan. 19

Cancer June 22 - July 22

Aquarius Jan. 20 - Feb. 18

Leo July 23 - Aug. 22

You will soon be presented with an opportunity. Be careful to not bite off more than you can chew. This project will take a huge amount of effort, but if you decide it’s worth it, jump in and do your very best. Some exciting adventures are beckoning, but remember you have responsibilities at home. If you can’t turn down the traveling, make sure there is someone at home to step in and help take care of business.

Pisces Feb. 19 - March 20

You have some new ideas you are exploring. Try not to get too obsessed with this journey, and make sure you listen to other colleagues or friends. You should exercise some control, but the effort will be worth it.

Aries March 21 - April 19

There is an important conversation you need to have with someone close to you, and now is the perfect time to have that sit-down. Organize your thoughts so you can be clear. Take a deep breath, and go for it.

Taurus April 20 - May 20

You’ve been hesitant about your ability to succeed in a particular field. It’s time to test yourself. So buck up, and finally just go for it. You will need some help, but just persevere, and you just might surprise yourself.

Gemini May 21 - June 21

You have a busy life, and you have been taking care of business, home and job. Try to carve out some time for yourself. An invitation will be coming your way; don’t hesitate to accept it. There are some surprises in the future.

It is time to stop probing into your partner’s past. All this digging can create feelings of distrust that do not need to be there. Everyone has a past, including you. Concentrate on what you have together now, and how you can make things better. Try to work with others. You may be fighting back bad feelings that were generated in the past, but now it’s time to take a step forward. Do you want to make a difference? Then accept the assistance of others.

Virgo Aug. 23 - Sept. 22

Life is currently presenting a large list of unusual circumstances. Take a breath when dealing with these occurrences. Make use of all your personal contacts to find a way to make your way through these troubling times.

Libra Sept. 23 - Oct. 22

Be careful with all the family requests coming at you. You will be asked to contribute both time and money to various folks. Though you want to help all of them, take a step back before you find yourself promising more than you should.

M

Scorpio Oct. 23 - Nov. 21

Family responsibilities are important to you, but take time to give yourself a break. Some of these projects will be ending soon enough, so try to stay as positive as possible. There is light at the end of the tunnel, so try to laugh a little.

Sagittarius Nov. 22 - Dec. 21

You may enjoy doing most things solo, but now would be a good time to enjoy the socialization of working with a group. The companionship of others can make for a more successful completion of some of your projects.

CHR BRI MA TOU GUE KEIK BÉL BON INC GER JON


f e b rua ry | m a r c h 2 0 2 0 | 3 9

March 27-April 5 l Reading, PA 30th Anniversary Celebration

CHRIS BOTTI BRIAN CULBERTSON: THE XX TOUR MARCUS MILLER LAID BLACK TOUR featuring SURPRISE SPECIAL GUESTS KEIKO MATSUI & KIRK WHALUM BÉLA FLECK & THE FLECKTONES BONEY JAMES INCOGNITO with MAYSA GERALD ALBRIGHT & JONATHAN BUTLER

CELEBRATING THE MUSIC OF STEVIE WONDER AT 70! with CHRIS “BIG DOG” DAVIS, ERIC DARIUS and many more 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION ALL-STAR CONCERT featuring RICK BRAUN, PETER WHITE, NICK COLIONNE, MINDI ABAIR, EUGE GROOVE, BRIAN BROMBERG, LARRY BRAGGS DAMIEN ESCOBAR

PIECES OF A DREAM TAB BENOIT JAZZ FUNK SOUL featuring JEFF LORBER, EVERETTE HARP, PAUL JACKSON JR. DEAN BROWN’S SUMMER OF LOVE EVOLUTION 30TH ANNIVERSARY BERKS BOP BIG BAND directed by ERIC MARIENTHAL & ANDREW NEU

... and many more!

For tickets and complete festival schedule, visit berksjazzfest.com

continued on page 24


40 | smooth jazz news

THURSDAY APRIL 23RD

Average White Band

Peter White and Euge Groove Nick Colionne FEAT. MAYSA * Michael J. Thomas FRIDAY APRIL 24TH

Brian Culbertson

Marcus Miller * Najee * Guitar G-Force feat. Tim Bowman, Nils, and Steve Oliver SATURDAY APRIL 25TH

Boney James

Jeffrey Osborne * Jazz Funk Soul feat. Jeff Lorber, Everette Harp, and Paul Jackson, Jr. * The Rippingtons feat. Russ Freeman * Mindi Abair * Marqueal Jordan Seabreeze Rising Star

SUNDAY APRIL 26TH

The Isley Brothers

Gerald Albright * Damien Escobar * Eric Darius Cindy Bradley and Chris Standring * Roman Street

APRIL 22-26th 2020 SeabreezeJazzFestival.com

Profile for Advanced Web Offset

Smooth Jazz February-March 2020  

Smooth Jazz February-March 2020