January 30, 2008

Jazz Meets Bluegrass at the VF Outlet Berks Jazz Fest

Latest release regarding the Berks Jazz Fest!

READING, PA -- January 29 -- The VF Outlet Berks Jazz fest is notable for its diversity of music and its innovative concepts.

That twin tradition will be emphatically upheld on Wednesday, April 2, when Jazz Meets Bluegrass: Bill Evans' Soulgrass with special guest Sam Bush at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel ballroom at 7:30 p.m.

Jazz saxophonist Bill Evans has had a distinguished career as a solo artist, one whose first full-time gig was a berth with the Miles Davis Band. But over the years he has explored a variety of such musical settings as hip-hop, fusion, reggae, Brazilian and slamming funk. He stepped into more adventurous territory with his 2006 release Soulgrass, collaborating on the project with numerous jazz fusion all-stars as well as famed bluegrass vocalist and mandolin master Sam Bush.

Now Evans and Bush are teaming up at the Berks Jazz Fest.

The 18th annual VF Outlet Berks Jazz Fest, presented by the Berks Arts Council, runs March 28 through April 6 and offers fans a wide array of musical styles, including contemporary and traditional jazz, blues, big band and gospel. Shows are held at major venues, clubs and restaurants throughout Reading and Berks County, making it a truly unique festival.

Getting back to Evans and Bush, the question is what happens musically when
hipster marries hayseed?

"You get a marriage that really works," Evans says. "Jazz may be more intellectual, but the lines and rhythms can be exactly the same as bluegrass, and both are about improvisation."

Rounding the Soulgrass bluegrass-jazz fusion band at the festival will be banjo phenom Ryan Cavanaugh, fiddler/violinist Christian Howes, bassist Mark Egan and drummer Joel Rosenblatt.

It's a nervy merging of genres. While progressive bluegrassers have been experimenting with swing jazz elements for years, Evans is the first overtly modern jazz bandleader to move in a bluegrass direction. In 2006, Evans' Soulgrass album received a Grammy nomination in the contemporary jazz category.

"I can't afford to rest on my laurels with this band," said Evans, who has played with Herbie Hancock, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Mick Jagger and Willie Nelson when not touring extensively with his own band. "Nobody knows me on the grassroots scene. We have the best players, and a fresh musical vision. We cover all the bases, which I have to do to gain a new audience."

Everybody knows Sam Bush on the grassroots scene. Besides vocals and mandolin, he is a capable guitar and fiddle player. He was a founding member of the New Grass Revival and has been called a modern-day Bill Monroe. He is known as one of the liveliest performers at bluegrass festivals and released his first live concert DVD On The Road in 2007.

"The real definition of jazz is about growth, innovation and moving forward," Evans said. "So a hybrid like this is the essence of jazz."

And it's happening on April 2nd at the Berks Jazz Fest. Don't miss it!

Other featured artists at this year's festival include the return of the ever-popular Guitars & Saxes featuring Gerald Albright, Peter White, Jeff Golub and Jeff Lorber; jazz guitar great Pat Martino; blues legend Buddy Guy; master guitarist Chuck Loeb; saxophonist Eric Marienthal; alto saxophonist Candy Dulfer; the gifted and charismatic trumpeter Chris Botti; guitarist Paul Brown, vocalist Kenny Rankin, fellow guitarist Marc Antoine
and saxman Eric Darius; Berks favorite and keyboardist Brian Culbertson; trumpet great Rick Braun and saxman Richard Elliot; guitarist Nick Colionne with keyboardist Brian Simpson; and versatile bassist Brian Bromberg.

Additional marquee artists include popular keyboardist and vocalist Joe McBride; the Caribbean Jazz Project featuring Dave Samuels with special guest, reed player Paquito D'Rivera; saxman Euge Groove and keyboardist Alex Bugnon; violinist Regina Carter in a quintet; the Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, high-energy jazz dance performers; New York's Finest Jazz Band, an 18-member group performing jazz and pop standards; Kennedy Center presents Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead, featuring young emerging artists; Sherrie Maricle and the all-female DIVA Jazz Orchestra; Simone, daughter of legendary singer
Nina Simone, the Rob Stoneback Big Band; the return of Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band; and the considerable blues talents of Maria Muldaur, Bonerama, the Clarence Spady Band, Campbell Brothers and Eric Bibb.

Music director and keyboardist Jason Miles once again is bringing special ensemble shows to the Berks Jazz Fest. Miles and an all-star roster will be Celebrating the Life & Music of Grover Washington Jr., the late legendary saxman. The show, To Grover with Love, brings together some of the top names in the business, including Patti LaBelle, Walter Beasley, Everette Harp, Kim Waters, Maysa, Phil Perry, Chuck Loeb, Will Lee, Buddy Williams and Ralph MacDonald. The world premiere of Jason Miles/DJ Logic Global Noize features Christian Scott, Karl Denson, Bernie Worrell, Café, Brian Dunne, Carl Burnett and Tim LeFebvre.

###

To order tickets:

Visit the Sovereign Center Box Office, Seventh and Penn streets, Reading

Visit the Sovereign Performing Arts Center Box Office, 136 N. Sixth St.,
Reading

Call Ticketmaster at 215-336-2000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com

Order online at berksjazzfest.com

For more information on the festival, including artist bios and archived
releases, click on www.berksjazzfest.com

For more information on the Berks Arts Council, a nonprofit organization
that promotes all the arts in an effort to enrich the quality of life in
Berks County, click on www.berksarts.org.

Major Ticketed Events

Thursday, March 27 -- Berks Jazz Fest Kickoff Concert: Andrew Neu Group
featuring the Bright & Tight Horns, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton
Reading Hotel, 7 p.m., $10.

Friday, March 28 -- Brian Bromberg Band, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base,
Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., $25

Friday, March 28 -- An Evening with Nancy Wilson, Sovereign Performing Arts
Center, 7:30 p.m., $47 and $41

Friday, March 28 -- Buddy Guy, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 10 p.m., $40
and $35

Friday, March 28 -- Kenny Blake Quartet, L'Arte della Vita Jazz Cabaret,
Abraham Lincoln Hotel, 10 p.m., $15

Saturday, March 29 -- LA Chillharmonic featuring Brian Bromberg, Richard
Smith, Michael Paulo, Gregg Karukas, Greg Adams plus the Berks Jazz Fest
Horns, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 2 p.m., $39 and $34

Saturday, March 29 -- Simone and the Rob Stoneback Big Band, Gerald
Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., $25

Saturday, March 29 -- Chris Botti, Sovereign Performing Arts Center, 7:30
p.m., $47 and $41

Saturday, March 29 -- Jump Rhythm Dance Project, Miller Center for the Arts,
8 p.m., $20

Saturday, March 29 -- Kenny Blake Quartet, L'Arte della Vita Jazz Cabaret,
Abraham Lincoln Hotel, 10 p.m., $15

Saturday, March 29 -- Gerald Veasley and the WJJZ All-Stars Rick Braun,
Bobby Lyle, Chuck Loeb, Chris Farr and the Berks Jazz Fest Horns, Sheraton
Reading Hotel, 10:30 p.m., $39 and $34

Sunday, March 30 -- Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead, Miller Center, 1:30 p.m., no
charge

Sunday, March 30 -- Paul Brown's Guitar Night featuring Kenny Rankin and
Marc Antoine plus saxophonist Eric Darius, Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom,
2 p.m., $39 and $34

Sunday, March 30 -- Sweet Honey in the Rock, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 3
p.m., $45, $35, $25

Sunday, March 30 -- Celebrating the Life & Music of Grover Washington Jr. --
To Grover with Love: Patti LaBelle, Walter Beasley, Everette Harp, Kim
Waters, Maysa, Phil Perry, Chuck Loeb, Will Lee, Buddy Williams, Ralph
MacDonald, and musical director Jason Miles, Sovereign Performing Arts
Center, 7 p.m., $49 and $43

Monday, March 31 -- Michael Manring & David Cullen, Gerald Veasley's Jazz
Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m., $12

Tuesday, April 1 -- New York's Finest Jazz Band, Sheraton Reading Hotel,
7:30 p.m., $15

Wednesday, April 2 -- Bill Evans' Soulgrass with special guest Sam Bush,
Abraham Lincoln Hotel ballroom, 7:30 p.m., $32

Thursday, April 3 -- MusicReport with special guests Lynn Riley and Aaron
Graves, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m., $12

Thursday, April 3 -- Nick Colionne with special guest Brian Simpson, Abraham
Lincoln Hotel ballroom, 7:30 p.m., $32

Thursday, April 3 -- Berks All-Star Jazz Jam featuring Rick Braun, Chuck
Loeb, Gerald Veasley, Richard Elliot, Nick Colionne, Brian Bromberg, Pat
Martino, Joe McBride, Brian Simpson, Ricky Lawson, Andrew Neu and more,
Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 10 p.m., $35

Friday, April 4 -- Pat Martino Quartet, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton
Reading Hotel, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., $30

Friday, April 4 -- The Caribbean Jazz Project featuring Dave Samuels with
special guest Paquito D'Rivera, Abraham Lincoln Hotel ballroom, 7:30 p.m.,
$32

Friday, April 4 -- Rick Braun & Richard Elliot, Scottish Rite Cathedral,
7:30 p.m., $47 and $41

Friday, April 4 -- New Orleans Funky Friday: Maria Muldaur and Bonerama, Inn
at Reading, 7:30 p.m., $32

Friday, April 4 -- Joe McBride Trio, L'Arte della Vita Jazz Cabaret, Abraham
Lincoln Hotel, 10 p.m., $15

Friday, April 4 -- Candy Dulfer, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 10:30
p.m., $39 and $34

Saturday, April 5 -- Euge Groove plus Alex Bugnon, Sheraton Reading Hotel
ballroom, 2 p.m., $39 and $34

Saturday, April 5 -- Sherrie Maricle & The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Abraham
Lincoln Hotel ballroom, 2 p.m., $28

Saturday, April 5 -- Tribute to Chet Baker: Rick Braun, Gerald Veasley's
Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., $30

Saturday, April 5 -- Guitars & Saxes featuring Peter White, Gerald Albright,
Jeff Golub and Jeff Lorber, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 7 p.m., $47 and $41

Saturday, April 5 -- Clarence Spady Band plus Campbell Brothers plus Eric
Bibb, Inn at Reading, 7 p.m., $37

Saturday, April 5 -- Regina Carter Quintet, Miller Center for the Arts, 7:30
p.m., $38

Saturday, April 5 -- Joe McBride Trio, L'Arte della Vita Jazz Cabaret,
Abraham Lincoln Hotel, 10 p.m., $15

Saturday, April 5 -- World Premiere: Jason Miles/DJ Logic Global Noize
featuring Christian Scott, Karl Denson, Bernie Worrell, Café, Brian Dunne,
Carl Burnett and Tim LeFebvre, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 10:30 p.m.,
$39 and $34

Sunday, April 6 -- Chuck Loeb with special guests Eric Marienthal, Tom
Scott, Will Lee, Carmen Cuesta, Lizzy Loeb, Rob Mounsey, Cafe, Cliff Almond
and more, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 2 p.m., $39 and $34

Sunday, April 6 -- Brian Culbertson, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 7 p.m., $47
and $41

CONTACT:
Mike Zielinski
Co-Publicity Director
VF Outlet Berks Jazz Fest
610-236-4747
610-371-5146 fax
mzielinski@readingeagle.com
Catherine Catanach
Director of Development and Marketing
Berks Arts Council
610-898-1930
ccatanach@berksjazzfest.com
www.berksjazzfest.com

Happy Jazzin' at the Berks Jazz Festival!!

Beverly J. Packard
MyGirlSunday22@aol.com
Jazz Circle Member of the Berks Arts Council
Reading, Pennsylvania

Posted by Beverly J. Packard at 2:41 AM

January 28, 2008

What We're Listening To * January

B E V E R L Y * P A C K A R D

Donald Fagan's The Nightfly Trilogy, 2008. Three CD set with everything from IGY to his newest compositions. You must know that Donald Fagan is half of Steely Dan, and all of Donald Fagan, of course!

Richard Smith, Puma Creek. What a great listen from a great guitarist who now teaches guitar at Southern Cal.

Jay Rowe, Red, Hot and Smooth. Jay is truly hot on this CD. I love him on keyboards and his piano playing is really superb, lots of energy always, with Jay.

B R I A N * S O E R G E L

January Picks

Kenny G, Rhythm & Romance (Concord/Starbucks Entertainment): The saxophonist's best CD in years finds him stretching out a bit on the horn. A nice accompaniment to your extra-hot latte.

Paul Hardcastle, Hardcastle 5 (Trippin N Rhythm): Infectious grooves and sultry vocals. But you knew that already.

Najee, Rising Sun (Heads Up): Truly a must-have for smooth jazz fans. Eleven outstanding songs, including a cover of "Moody's Mood for Love."

Jason Miles presents Soul Summit, Live at the Berks Jazz Fest (Shanachie): An all-star cast grooves on killer orginals and classics like "Shotgun" and "Son of a Preacherman."

Ed Johnson & Novo Tempo, The Other Road (Cumulus): More charming Brazilian-flavored jazz from the guitarist.


December Picks (not published in December but worth a mention here)

D-Lucca, Have Yourself a Fretless Little Christmas (Innervision): Yule tunes with a kick. Lovin' the disco thang of "The Christmas Song."

Peter White, Mindi Abair, Rick Braun, Peter White Christmas (ARTizen): The live show is brought to a CD, finally. Very jolly indeed.

Larry Kimpel, The Music Inside (GVR): Excellent smooth jazz CD with bite and raw appeal from the veteran sideman.

David Hughes, Foreign Shores (Suburbank): The swedish bass player makes intelligent and romantic music. Highly recommended.

Eric Marienthal, Just Around the Corner (Peak): With a big assist from Brian Culbertson, Eric Marienthal brings joy back to his smooth jazz music with upbeat and catchy tunes, including "Blue Water."


P E T E R * B O E H I

Al Smith - Cruisin' (2007)
Truly great independently released smooth jazz album by saxophonist Al Smith who can compete with the best. Check it out!

Andre Ward - Crystal City (2007)
Saxophonist Andre Ward is somewhat underrated yet delivers one outstanding album after the other, this one included. Smooth jazz bliss!

Brian O'Neal - Daisy (2007)
Nice piano led smooth jazz album full of memorable melodies and contemporary grooves to soothe your soul. Very recommended.

Jeannette Harris Band - Reflections (2007)
Every album by this band is a winner delivering catchy and groovy instrumental tracks, just excellent! Not to be missed!

Billy Larkin & The Delegates - Blue Lights (1965)
Organist Billy Larkin delivers some ultra cool soul jazz with sax player Clifford Scott, one of my recent favorites on LP.


J E F F * D A N I E L S

25th Street Band, "The Key Of H" (2007) (http://www.25thstreetband.com)

Transoceanic, Audio Caviar (Machine Productions (2007)

Spyro Gyra, Good to Go-Go (Heads Up 2007)

Jeff Kashiwa, Play (Native Language 2007)

Rick Braun & Richard Elliot, RnR (Artizen 2007)


D E N I S * P O O L E

‘Angelina’ by Earl Klugh from the excellent Mosaic compilation The Ultimate Earl Klugh. Hearing this signature track makes it difficult not to feel the excitement that heralded the 1976 self titled debut release from which the tune is taken. Laid back yet captivating, the record was produced by Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen who shortly afterwards went on to set up GRP Records.

‘Blue Water’ by Eric Marienthal from the CD Just Around The Corner. Co-written and produced by Brian Culbertson this lusciously mid temp tune sparkles with flashes of his distinctive keys.

‘Back Together Again’ by Gordon James from his album In Joy. Possibly one of the greatest soul anthems of all time, ‘Back Together Again’ was a huge smash for Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway yet James understated cover, which includes Chuck Loeb on guitar, pays it huge respect.

‘Vem Dancar’ by The 25th Street Band from the CD The Key Of H. This mellow, retro infused smoker features the delightful vocals of Jandira Silva and later, on the same album, when the song is reprised in instrumental form, Dave Radnor on piano and David Bitelli on sax really shine.

‘I Only Want To Be With You’ by Curtis Stigers from the album Real Emotional. Tugging at the heartstrings, it perfectly illustrates Stigers unrivalled ability to tell a moving, emotional story with a beautiful song.


J O N A T H A N * W I D R A N

The Matt Savage Trio, Live: Hot Ticket (Savage Records)

Brian Hughes, Live (Radio Canada)

Jim Brickman, Valentine (SLG Music)

Amy Winehouse, Back To Black (Island)

Marcus Miller, Marcus (Concord Records)

Posted by Beverly J. Packard at 2:19 AM

January 26, 2008

Paul Hardcastle Unveils New Website

hardcastle_paulmaxine_1.jpgFans of Paul Hardcastle, who has a Top 5 smooth jazz single with “Lucky Star,” haven’t had many places to catch up on the goings-on of the British-based instrumentalist and producer since he closed up his official website a few years ago. There are unauthorized fan sites, and his record label has some biographical information at trippinrecords.com.

Now, however, Hardcastle has just unveiled a personalized website at paulhardcastle19.com. The “19,” by the way, refers to his worldwide smash hit from 1985. The home page features a full stream of “The Return of the Rainman,” a song taken from his forthcoming CD, Hardcastle 5. Hardcastle has also included exclusive photos of himself, friends and family, a news section where he maintains a blog and an “Exclusive” section where he’ll highlight songs. And just added are two treats: a never-before-released tune titled "Run Free" and a track Hardcastle recorded titled "70s Cop Show," which he says could wind up a future CD.

There are also separate sections on both of his kids, 21-year-old Maxine (pictured in photo) and 16-year-old Paul Jr. Both have appeared on their father’s CDs, and in fact Hardcastle Jr. wrote and performed a song called “Take 1” for Hardcastle 5, which will be released Feb. 5.

"It’s got some funny bits about my son, about Maxine, what she’s doing," Hardcastle says. "And it’s also go some photos of when my wife did me a surprise party over in Spain for my 50th birthday. So yeah, it’s just meant as a little bit of fun. Just for catching up with little bits of news and things like that. It’s just for a laugh, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it."

Posted by Brian Soergel at 8:22 PM

January 25, 2008

Fourplay Will Join Legends Of Jazz Tour

Fourplay08X.jpgPianist Ramsey Lewis has confirmed that a live tour based on his “Legends of Jazz” syndicated radio show and PBS television series will have at least 15 dates. They will be spread out one or two dates at a time as opposed to a conventional tour. There are plans to have about 15 show in various markets around the U.S. So far there is one confirmed show, April 24 in Newport News, VA.

There will be two different packages depending on location. One will feature the Ramsey Lewis Trio, saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera and the smooth jazz group Fourplay, which consists of Bob James, Larry Carlton, Nathan East and Harvey Mason. The other lineup has vocalist Kurt Elling with his trio, saxophonist and flutist Ernie Watts and the Ethel String Quartet performing a program of ballads popularized by legendary saxophonist John Coltrane on his 1962 Ballads album and on his classic 1963 album with vocalist Johnny Hartman.

Posted by Brian Soergel at 10:21 PM

January 24, 2008

Blues acts promise to rock VF Outlet Berks Jazz Fest

BuddyGuy.jpgThe VF Outlet Berks Jazz fest is, primarily, a celebration of jazz. However, the festival is also known for its diverse lineup, with a healthy dose of blues.

This year, Hall of Fame inductee Buddy Guy will rock the house at the Sheraton Reading Hotel on Friday, March 28, at 10 p.m.

The 18th annual Berks Jazz Fest, presented by the Berks Arts Council, runs March 28 through April 6 and will offer fans a wide array of musical styles, including contemporary and traditional jazz, blues and big band, with some gospel and even bluegrass thrown in. Shows are held at major venues, clubs and restaurants throughout Reading and Berks County, making it a truly unique festival.

High-energy guitar histrionics and boundless on-stage energy have always been Guy trademarks, along with a tortured vocal style that's nearly as distinctive as his incendiary rapid-fire fretwork. The Louisiana native is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a chief guitar influence to later legends Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughan, a pioneer of Chicago's West Side Sound and a living link to that city's halcyon days of electric blues.

Truly coming into his own and experiencing a great career Renaissance in his mid-50s, Guy's first three recordings for Silvertone in the early '90s earned Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Blues Album. 2003's Blues Singer won for Best Traditional Blues Album.

There is no shortage of the blues at this year's fest. In addition to Buddy Guy, there are two big shows on the closing weekend -- a New Orleans Funky Friday with Maria Muldaur and Bonerama; and blues night with the Clarence Spady Band, Campbell Brothers and Eric Bibb.

MariaMuldaur.jpgBerks Jazz Fest celebrates the enduring spirit of the Crescent City with New Orleans Funky Friday, a special show featuring famed roots-folk and blues singer Maria Muldaur and New Orleans brass band Bonerama, on Friday April 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Inn at Reading.

In 1974 Muldaur scored her most famous hit with the iconic, sultry "Midnight at the Oasis," which reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Later in the decade, she joined the Jerry Garcia Band as a backing vocalist.

Well known in the blues genre, she has continued to perform, tour and record since her success in the mid-1970s, including a turn at the Teatro ZinZanni in 2001.

Bonerama.jpgWhen Bonerama struts onstage with its four-trombone frontline, the audience is immediately aware it's not quite like any rock band you've seen. When they tear into some vintage New Orleans funk, there's no questioning where they're from. And when those 'bones start ripping into Hendrix and Led Zeppelin licks, all stylistic bets are off.

Clarence Spady Band, Campbell Brothers and Eric Bibb promise a night of burning blues from three incredible performers on Saturday, April 5, at 7 p.m. at the Inn at Reading.

Clarence Spady has been an underground marvel since his initial and only worldwide release Nature of the Beast in 1996. He has a strong worldwide fan base and recently released his highly anticipated new album Just Between Us on Maryland-based Severn Records.

The Campbell Brothers present Sacred Steel: African-American gospel music with electric steel guitar and vocals that is both devoted and rocking.

Acoustic blues singer/songwriter Eric Bibb joined Robert Cray on two U.S. tours in 2001 and 2002 and opened for Bonnie Raitt and also Ray Charles in the summer of 2002. His 2005 release A Ship Called Love was nominated for Acoustic Album of the Year in the 2006 Blues Music Awards.

*****

Other featured artists at this year's festival include the return of the ever-popular Guitars & Saxes featuring Gerald Albright, Peter White, Jeff Golub and Jeff Lorber; jazz guitar great Pat Martino; master guitarist Chuck Loeb; saxophonist Eric Marienthal; alto saxophonist Candy Dulfer; the gifted and charismatic trumpeter Chris Botti; guitarist Paul Brown, vocalist Kenny Rankin, fellow guitarist Marc Antoine and saxman Eric Darius; Berks favorite, keyboardist Brian Culbertson; trumpet great Rick Braun and saxman Richard Elliot; guitarist Nick Colionne with keyboardist Brian Simpson; and versatile bassist Brian Bromberg.

Additional marquee artists include Bill Evans' Soulgrass with bluegrass vocalist and instrumentalist Sam Bush; popular keyboardist and vocalist Joe McBride; the Caribbean Jazz Project featuring Dave Samuels with special guest, reed player Paquito D'Rivera; saxman Euge Groove and keyboardist Alex Bugnon; violinist Regina Carter in a quintet; the Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, high-energy jazz dance performers; New York's Finest Jazz Band, an 18-member group performing jazz and pop standards; Kennedy Center presents Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead, featuring young emerging artists; Sherrie Maricle and the all-female DIVA Jazz Orchestra; Simone, daughter of legendary singer Nina Simone, and the Rob Stoneback Big Band; and the return of Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band.

Music director and keyboardist Jason Miles once again is bringing special ensemble shows to the Berks Jazz Fest. Miles and an all-star roster will be Celebrating the Life & Music of Grover Washington Jr., the late legendary saxman. The show, To Grover with Love, brings together some of the top names in the business, including Patti LaBelle, Walter Beasley, Everette Harp, Kim Waters, Maysa, Phil Perry, Chuck Loeb, Will Lee, Buddy Williams and Ralph MacDonald. The world premiere of Jason Miles/DJ Logic Global Noize features Christian Scott, Karl Denson, Bernie Worrell, Café, Brian Dunne, Carl Burnett and Tim LeFebvre.

###

To order tickets:

Visit the Sovereign Center Box Office, Seventh and Penn streets, Reading

Visit the Sovereign Performing Arts Center Box Office, 136 N. Sixth St., Reading

Call Ticketmaster at 215-336-2000 or visit  www.ticketmaster.com

Order online at berksjazzfest.com

For more information on the festival, including artist bios and archived releases, click on berksjazzfest.com

For more information on the Berks Arts Council, a nonprofit organization that promotes all the arts in an effort to enrich the quality of life in Berks County, click on www.berksarts.org.

*****

Major Ticketed Events

Thursday, March 27 -- Berks Jazz Fest Kickoff Concert: Andrew Neu Group featuring the Bright & Tight Horns, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7.pm., $10.

Friday, March 28 -- Brian Bromberg Band, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., $25

Friday, March 28 -- An Evening with Nancy Wilson, Sovereign Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $47 and $41

Friday, March 28 -- Buddy Guy, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 10 p.m., $40 and $35

Friday, March 28 -- Kenny Blake Quartet, L'Arte della Vita Jazz Cabaret, Abraham Lincoln Hotel, 10 p.m., $15

Saturday, March 29 -- LA Chillharmonic featuring Brian Bromberg, Richard Smith, Michael Paulo, Gregg Karukas, Greg Adams plus the Berks Jazz Fest Horns, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 2 p.m., $39 and $34

Saturday, March 29 -- Simone and the Rob Stoneback Big Band, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., $25

Saturday, March 29 -- Chris Botti, Sovereign Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $47 and $41

Saturday, March 29 -- Jump Rhythm Dance Project, Miller Center for the Arts, 8 p.m., $20

Saturday, March 29 -- Kenny Blake Quartet, L'Arte della Vita Jazz Cabaret, Abraham Lincoln Hotel, 10 p.m., $15

Saturday, March 29 -- Gerald Veasley and the WJJZ All-Stars Rick Braun, Bobby Lyle, Chuck Loeb, Chris Farr and the Berks Jazz Fest Horns, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 10:30 p.m., $39 and $34

Sunday, March 30 -- Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead, Miller Center, 1:30 p.m., no charge

Sunday, March 30 -- Paul Brown's Guitar Night featuring Kenny Rankin and Marc Antoine plus saxophonist Eric Darius, Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom, 2 p.m., $39 and $34

Sunday, March 30 -- Sweet Honey in the Rock, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 3 p.m., $45, $35, $25

Sunday, March 30 -- Celebrating the Life & Music of Grover Washington Jr. -- To Grover with Love: Patti LaBelle, Walter Beasley, Everette Harp, Kim Waters, Maysa, Phil Perry, Chuck Loeb, Will Lee, Buddy Williams, Ralph MacDonald, and musical director Jason Miles, Sovereign Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m., $49 and $43

Monday, March 31 -- Michael Manring & David Cullen, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m., $12

Tuesday, April 1 -- New York's Finest Jazz Band, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7:30 p.m., $15

Wednesday, April 2 -- Bill Evans' Soulgrass with special guest Sam Bush, Abraham Lincoln Hotel ballroom, 7:30 p.m., $32

Thursday, April 3 -- MusicReport with special guests Lynn Riley and Aaron Graves, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m., $12

Thursday, April 3 -- Nick Colionne with special guest Brian Simpson, Abraham Lincoln Hotel ballroom, 7:30 p.m., $32

Thursday, April 3 -- Berks All-Star Jazz Jam featuring Rick Braun, Chuck Loeb, Gerald Veasley, Richard Elliot, Nick Colionne, Brian Bromberg, Pat Martino, Joe McBride, Brian Simpson, Ricky Lawson, Andrew Neu and more, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 10 p.m., $35

Friday, April 4 -- Pat Martino Quartet, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., $30

Friday, April 4 -- The Caribbean Jazz Project featuring Dave Samuels with special guest Paquito D'Rivera, Abraham Lincoln Hotel ballroom, 7:30 p.m., $32

Friday, April 4 -- Rick Braun & Richard Elliot, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 7:30 p.m., $47 and $41

Friday, April 4 -- New Orleans Funky Friday: Maria Muldaur and Bonerama, Inn at Reading, 7:30 p.m., $32

Friday, April 4 -- Joe McBride Trio, L'Arte della Vita Jazz Cabaret, Abraham Lincoln Hotel, 10 p.m., $15

Friday, April 4 -- Candy Dulfer, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 10:30 p.m., $39 and $34

Saturday, April 5 -- Euge Groove plus Alex Bugnon, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 2 p.m., $39 and $34

Saturday, April 5 -- Sherrie Maricle & The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Abraham Lincoln Hotel ballroom, 2 p.m., $28

Saturday, April 5 -- Tribute to Chet Baker: Rick Braun, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., $30

Saturday, April 5 -- Guitars & Saxes featuring Peter White, Gerald Albright, Jeff Golub and Jeff Lorber, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 7 p.m., $47 and $41

Saturday, April 5 -- Clarence Spady Band plus Campbell Brothers plus Eric Bibb, Inn at Reading, 7 p.m., $37

Saturday, April 5 -- Regina Carter Quintet, Miller Center for the Arts, 7:30 p.m., $38

Saturday, April 5 -- Joe McBride Trio, L'Arte della Vita Jazz Cabaret, Abraham Lincoln Hotel, 10 p.m., $15

Saturday, April 5 -- World Premiere: Jason Miles/DJ Logic Global Noize featuring Christian Scott, Karl Denson, Bernie Worrell, Café, Brian Dunne, Carl Burnett and Tim LeFebvre, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 10:30 p.m., $39 and $34

Sunday, April 6 -- Chuck Loeb with special guests Eric Marienthal, Tom Scott, Will Lee, Carmen Cuesta, Lizzy Loeb, Rob Mounsey, Cafe, Cliff Almond and more, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 2 p.m., $39 and $34

Sunday, April 6 -- Brian Culbertson, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 7 p.m., $47 and $41

Posted by Peter Böhi at 5:41 PM

January 23, 2008

New series: Concerts at The Claremont

The Claremont Resort & Spa in Berkeley introduces the first of its quarterly Concerts at The Claremont series, Friday, February 22nd, featuring local jazz legend, Gerald Albright. Hosted in the historic Claremont Ballroom once graced by Tommy Dorsey and Louis Armstrong, tickets start at $150/per person and include an interactive dining experience. Ask about "…all that Jazz " accommodations package from $209. To inquire about this event, please call 800-551-7266 or visit www.claremontresort.com.

Posted by Peter Böhi at 6:09 AM

January 22, 2008

Kenny G Unveils Saxophone Line In U.S.

KennyGSax_X.jpgKenny G made the U.S. debut of his long-awaited line of saxophones in Anaheim, Calif., at the annual National Association of Music Merchants show, more commonly known as NAMM. The G-Series Saxophones and Educational Series Saxophones are based those he has been using for many years and was co-designed by Rheuben Allen, a Southern California-based maker and repairer of saxophones.

The G-Series soprano saxophone, tailored for professional musicians, comes in three versions and vary in price. The alto and tenor saxophones are designed for students, with the alto retailing for $1,495 and the tenor for $1,695. During the show, Kenny demonstrated his soprano sax line by performing “Sabor A Mi” and other songs from his forthcoming CD Rhythm and Romance. The CD will be in stores on Feb. 5th.

For more information on Kenny’s saxophone lines, you can go to a new site he’s created at kennygsaxophones.com.

Posted by Brian Soergel at 10:11 PM

January 21, 2008

Matt Marshak at the CD101.9 Harvest Wine Festival & Upcoming New CD On the Rocks

By Val Vaccaro [photos by Bazpix]

MattMarshak002.jpgRight before the holiday season, there was a wonderful wine-tasting event sponsored by CD101.9FM (WQCD www.cd1019.com - the smooth jazz station for the New York City metropolitan area) at the upscale Hilton Short Hills hotel in New Jersey. Blake Lawrence, Programming Director for CD101.9 and Bill Zafiros the head of the festival, made the right choice when they selected Matt Marshak and his band to perform at the event. It was a perfect blend of music, atmosphere, wine and food in the beautifully decorated hotel ballroom. Part of the event’s proceeds were donated to a good cause, The Inter-Religious Fellowship for the Homeless (in New Jersey).

On Friday, November 9, 2007, guitarist Matt Marshak and his band played a fantastic show – which by audience demand, went for almost four hours (with some short breaks), from 7pm – about 11:30pm that night. Joining Marshak were two main band members, the very talented, versatile drummer Chris Marshak, the cool and funky keyboardist Tim Regusis (who has also worked with Patti Austin, Najee and Jonathan Butler) and special guest star bassist player Paul Ossola (who plays in the Saturday Night Live TV show band). Ossola played upright bass for this more formal, special occasion.

Like fine wine that gets better over time, guitarist Matt Marshak’s musical performances continue to venture into even more exciting and delightful territory. It’s great to see this special talented musician and composer evolve during the past four years since he first arrived on the smooth jazz scene in 2003 when he opened at Bryant Park in NYC for a Guitars & Saxes show as winner of a CD101.9 original music contest sponsored by Absolut Vodka. Since 2003, Marshak has opened for artists such as Bobby Caldwell, Peter White, Bob James, Wayman Tisdale, and Spyro-Gyra, and has shared the stages with artists such as Richard Bona, Kenny Garrett, Walter Beasley and many others.

As usual, Marshak was a gracious host, in good spirits, chatting with the audience between songs and he and the band did a wonderful show to a delighted audience. The recent Harvest Wine Festival show included lots of great original songs composed by Marshak, along with a bunch of fresh, fun and sometimes adventurous cover versions of many favorite smooth jazz and pop tune hits.

MattMarshak004.jpgThe band’s first set started off with two of Marshak’s catchy original tunes “Seduction” and “(I Will) Be With You” (from his CD This Time Around 2004). The band then glided into gear with a sweet-sounding, dreamy cover of “Sleepwalk,” with Marshak’s warm guitar tones filling the air of the elegant ballroom. (It was evident that Marshak has been inspired by one of his key guitar influences, Larry Carlton.)

They picked up the pace with a funky cover of “Coming Home Baby” (reminiscent of the late Zachary Breaux). From there, Marshak eased his way into “Quietly” a beautiful tune off his sophomore CD This Time Around (2004). Next up was a great cover of the uplifting “Breezin’” (George Benson’s tune), with an animated guitar solo by Marshak complemented by a bluesy, solo by Tim Regusis on piano.

MattMarshak006.jpgFrom there, with a cool intro featuring funky bass lines by Paul Ossola with great drums and cymbals by Chris Marshak, the band went into a surprising, terrific cover of Maxwell’s “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)” (a trademark song in shows for saxophonist Kirk Whalum). Whalum and Maxwell would both have appreciated Marshak’s wonderful take on the song, and Wes Montgomery would have enjoyed Matt’s flair with the double octave chords on guitar.

Marshak then transitioned into one of his memorable tunes that has garnered airplay on the radio, “Wind Chill Factor” a lush, warm melody on guitar, with Regusis, (who produced the tune on Marshak’s CD Groovosphere 2006) on spacey-sounding special keyboard effects. The song is somewhat reminiscent of Larry Carlton’s tune “Lazy Susan.” Marshak’s tune “Wind Chill Factor" was recently added into rotation in Cleveland at The Wave WNWV 107.3, and has gotten airplay at stations such as CD101.9FM in New York.

MattMarshak008.jpgAfter a short break, the second set kicked off with a funky cover of Grover Washington Jr.’s “Mister Magic” – another great choice featuring Marshak on guitar. Next up, Marshak and band played his original tune “Sanibel” which was a crowd favorite, as could be seen by the many smiling faces in the crowd.

"Sanibel” is an enchanting composition with combination tropical island flair/South-African vibe (written by Marshak with Bakithi Kumalo – bass player with the Paul Simon band, who has also worked with Marshak). Although Marshak didn’t do his usual special percussive finger-tapping during the bridge, “Sanibel” still has that magical sound. Marshak’s been playing this special song live for the past few years, and Sanibel finally has been recorded on Marshak’s new CD On the Rocks (being released in February 2008). From there, the joyful mood continued on with Marshak’s elated version of the uplifting “Affirmation” (a hit tune by George Benson, which was actually written by Jose Feliciano). Regusis did a fine job with a tasteful bluesy solo on keyboards. There were also some great drum solos and percussion by Chris Marshak.

From there, Marshak played guitar and did some smooth scatting on his original tune “Tell Me Why” (from his second CD This Time Around 2004). He ventured into the audience, playing guitar to select members of the crowd.

MattMarshak010.jpgBack on stage, Marshak delivered his moving, dramatic instrumental version of “Wonderful Tonight” (Eric Clapton’s tune), which is always a crowd-pleaser (and can also be found on Marshak’s CD This Time Around). After such focused intensity, it was time to get playful and pick up the tempo with a great version by Marshak of “Killer Joe” (Benny Golson's tune), supported by Ossola’s funky walking bass lines, Regusis’ extended organ solo, and Chris Marshak’s subtle, yet spectacular sounds on drums and percussion to perfect the upbeat, cool, jazzy mood. The audience was truly diggin’ it. The set ended with another fun Crusaders’ tune “Put It Where You Want It.” (which not by coincidence had Larry Carlton the original recording).

MattMarshak012.jpgAfter another short break, the band was back to entertain the crowd some more. Just when the audience might have thought it couldn’t have gotten any better, the show just kept going right on into overdrive. One very pleasant surprise was Marshak’s super-funky (a la Jimmy Nolen, James Brown’s guitarist on “I Got You, I Feel Good”) crowd-pleasing version of Prince’s tune “Kiss.” By the way, the song “Kiss” is a special treat on Marshak’s new CD On the Rocks (2008), featuring special guest saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa.

For an encore, almost four hours after the original set, the crowd was still hanging around after the wine event was wrapping up. Marshak introduced the last song this way, “we’re just about out of time, so we’re going to play a tune called “Nuthin’ But Time” (from Marshak’s debut CD Preservation 2003). It was a bluesy and satisfying way to end the show.

MattMarshak014.jpgPart of smooth jazz fans’ 2008 New Year’s resolutions should be to try to catch a Matt Marshak show and hear the new CD On the Rocks.

After the show, Marshak also gave out copies of CD’s of his latest single “Space Coastin’” from the new upcoming CD On the Rocks. Currently “Space Coastin'” is #1 at WGRV radio, and is #3 at Music Choice and is the first single from the upcoming CD On the Rocks. “Space Coastin’” includes special guest artists saxophonist David Mann and bassist Andre Berry.

Next up, Matt Marshak plans to debut to Triple A radio his vocal single "I'm On Fire," a cover of the Bruce Springsteen classic; Marshak’s CD also includes an instrumental cover of the same song. There are also a bunch of great new, original songs on the CD, including one called “Hangin’ at Humphrey’s” inspired by the San Diego club of the same name (on the Bay).

Another new original song on the upcoming CD On The Rocks is “Sierra Sunset”. “Sierra Sunset” is a beautiful tune Marshak was moved to write after he finished a show in Reno, Nevada last year, when as he says, “we drove through the incredible snowy Sierra peaks to California. This breathtaking, picturesque display of God's creations are ‘played about’ in this tune.” Currently, you can hear this song on http://www.myspace.com/matthewsblues. More information is at www.mattmarshak.com.

As an independent artist, Marshak’s CD’s are available for purchase: www.cdbaby.com/mattmarshak3 and for download at www.iTunes.com. There are links to hear some of Marshak’s tune from CDs and live performances at: http://www.myspace.com/matthewsblues.

Marshak’s songs have been played around the world on radio stations, and in the U.S., as well as on Rafe Gomez’ syndicated radio show The Groove Boutique (www.thegrooveboutique.com), and can be heard on the web at www.jazzlynx.com, and www.thegroove.org. (At Jazzlynx.com, Marshak’s upbeat, catchy original tune "Summerfunk" - produced by Billy Heller of the Rippingtons for Marshak - was the #6 Most Played Song of 2006, his CD Groovosphere was the #14 Album of 2006, and Marshak was the #11 Most Played Artist of 2006.)

In 2007, as an independent artist (on his own label), Marshak played about 50 shows across the U.S. in places like, New York, California, DC, North Carolina, Iowa, Florida, Nevada, as well as in music festivals in Europe (www.nuancegroup.com). In the past four years, he’s played at some of top smooth jazz festivals and venues in the U.S. (e.g., Capital Jazz Fest, Jazz Trax, Blues Alley, IMAC Theater, and more). Last fall, he opened for Joyce Cooling at Rancho Mirage, CA, and for the Sax Pack in Connecticut, and did a cruise ship gig in the Bahamas.

For 2008, so far tour dates include: February, 10, 2008, Corey Creek Vineyard/Winterfest, Southold, New York; March, 2, 2008, Bedell Cellars Vineyard, Cutchogue, New York; Feb. 23 2008, a benefit show in Winston Salem, NC; on June 13, 2008 a show for WDSJ Jazz on the Green in Carillion Park, Dayton OH, and August 15-17, 2008 at the Genuine Jazz Fest in Breckenridge, CO.

Stay tuned for for more information at www.MattMarshak.com, (http://www.allmightymusic.com), http://www.myspace.com/mattmarshak, www.myspace.com/matthewsblues and www.NuanceMusicGroup.com.

Posted by Peter Böhi at 1:17 PM

January 19, 2008

Very First Chris Standring Album Unveiled

Standring_XX.jpgBack in 1989, guitarist Chris Standring recorded his first album in his native London with a group of session players. He titled it Main Course and headed off to Los Angeles, where he now lives, to try to get a label to release the record, which is all instrumental songs except for one track. It features original songs and a cover of “Where Is the Love?” The album of jazz-fusion wasn’t released, however.

Now, Standring has digitized Main Course – which I've heard and loved; fans should really get this – from the original master tapes and is offering it as a free download to fans who pre-order his upcoming CD, Love & Paragraphs.

"I think for a long time I didn’t actually want anybody to hear this," Standring says. "But I kind of do now. I had these grandiose aspirations of moving over and getting big tours and being a superstar All that stuff. I think it was a good album. It might not have been what they were used to hearing. I mean they were starting to go into the commercial formats over here, and it’s not that. It’s very much an indulgent, fusion-y type record where I’m starting to stretch out a little bit."

The new CD, which Chris is offering on his own Ultimate Vibe Recordings record label, will officially be released on April 22. To order Standring's new CD along with the free download, go to chrisstandring.com

Posted by Brian Soergel at 6:28 PM

January 17, 2008

The Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb And Contemporary Rock Star David Gray to Perform Live at the Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival 2008!

RobinGibb.jpgChillout Productions Announces the dates for the 6th annual Skywards Dubai Jazz Festival featuring the all-time Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb to perform live on March 1st,, 2008 with a Medley of Jazz greats at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre.

The Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival is giving music fans plenty to sing about; and environs will reverberate with the sounds and rhythms of some of the world’s international greatest jazz performers.

Robin Gibb has been a principal member of one of the most celebrated songwriting teams and recording groups of all time who were noted for their versatile singing and songwriting producing hits over a two decade span: The Bee Gees.

From their early days in their native England to their childhood musical successes in Australia to their later status as world conquerors with their platinum Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, the Bee Gees have had more careers, and hit records, than any band. Prolific songwriters that they have been, this doesn't even take into account the numerous hits other artists have had with their songs.

For most of his life Robin Gibb legendary status, along with his brothers Barry and Maurice, has long been established worldwide.

Robin's trademark ethereal voice has been a key identity in the Bee Gees sound, and he molded his own musical identity with a number of solo releases, including the number one hits "Saved by the Bell" and "Juliet". Robin continuously develops new songs and ideas in his home studio, occasionally writing and producing for other artists, and adds his distinct vocals to selected projects, some of these for charities.

Robin was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2001/2002 New Year's Honors List, along with his brothers Maurice and Barry.

In November 2006, Robin released an album of Christmas carols called Robin Gibb - My Favourite Carols, backed by one of London choirs. The album also features a brand new song written by Robin called "Mother of Love", which was released in Europe as a download single.

The first of March 2008 will be a great date to remember, having the Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb performing for the first time in the Middle East and gulf region for a highly entertaining show thrilling his remarkable number of fans.

Anthony Younes, Managing Director of Chillout Productions, the founders and Organizers of the Dubai International Jazz Festival, said: “The yearly enthusiastic success of Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival, drives us strongly to bring together first-rate global performers like Robin Gibb”.

For its sixth year, the festival expands its profile of artists to include an outstanding additional performances and top talents blending in various music sensibilities which will be a trademark of the Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival 2008. Final line-up and details about participating artists are to be announced shortly with astonishing surprises and “WOW” news.

***********

DavidGray.jpgContemporary Rock Star David Gray To Perform Live In Dubai, On The Night Of February 29th At The Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival 2008!

The countdown has begun to the 6th Annual Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival 2008; the event that is easily going to surpass anything that has been seen or heard in Dubai Media City Amphitheater!

Don’t Miss the artist of a very different kind – Pop idol David Gray who is set to appear for the first time at the most popular event in the region “Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival” organized by Chillout Productions for the 6th year in a row. Gray’s show will be the show-of-attraction for a large audience.

“We try to cater for all music fans in the region, and with the presence of David Gray this year, we can assure that we are attending to the lovers of all types of music and guarantee that the festival will go beyond Jazz” said Anthony Younes, Managing Director of Chillout Productions, the founders and organizers of the Dubai International Jazz Festival.

Following on from the explosion in popularity during 1999, which was a year that witnessed David successful embark in the world of music; Gray has emerged as one of the finest singer-songwriters, capable of some truly emotional power-ballads in the style of tracks like "Babylon", his breakthrough success, "Sail Away", "Please Forgive Me", and "The Other Side". His voice is powerfully distinct-raw, passionate and at times affecting.

With White Ladder, Gray has sold more than six million copies worldwide and became one of the UK’s most popular and enduring artists. In Ireland, White Ladder remains the best-selling album of all-time.

He has also won a GQ Award for Best Solo Artist (2002), a Q Award for best single (2001) and has been nominated twice for best male at the Brit Awards. Such accolade is richly deserved, as Gray is fast becoming a national treasure.

Gray continues to write and record at his studio in north London, and expects to have a new album ready for release by fall 2008.

“With the valued support of our sponsors and partners, and the participation of music prodigies like David Gray, we look forward to have the Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival in 2008 a great success as it has always been throughout the years”, added Anthony Younis.

As ever, more news and details about the participating artists on the night of February 29th are to be announced successively.

Tickets are available now on www.boxofficeme.com and www.timeouttickets.com.
And starting January 15th, 2008 at all Virgin Megastores, Hallmark and Spinneys. For more details, please visit www.dubaijazzfest.com

Posted by Peter Böhi at 9:24 PM

January 16, 2008

Brian Bromberg's Record Label Purchased

Mack Avenue Records, which this year begins its second decade, has announced the acquisition of Los Angeles-based Artistry Music Group, a label co-founded by smooth jazz bassist and producer Brian Bromberg. Under the agreement, Artistry will remain an imprint of Mack Avenue and will continue its emphasis on smooth jazz and adult-oriented music. Bromberg will not be involved in any management capacity, but will continue to release albums with Artistry.

Artistry was founded in 2005 by Bromberg, vocalist Rahsaan Patterson and music industry veterans Lucille Hunt and Denny Stilwell. Stilwell has been named president of Mack Avenue, and Hunt will remain as licensing and publishing director. Patterson will also continue to record for Artistry. Artistry's recent successes include a 2007 Grammy nomination for Bromberg in the Best Contemporary Jazz Album category for “Downright Upright,” which features the hit smooth jazz single “Cantaloupe Island.”

Mack Avenue is home to several artists, including Saturday Night Live band instrumentalist Ron Blake and the newly signed Stanley Jordan.

Posted by Brian Soergel at 1:16 AM

January 13, 2008

Greg Adams Plus Lenny Williams Equals East Bay Soul

Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, the page that offers a British perspective on the very best from the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. The brand new nine piece East Bay Soul is the brainchild of Grammy and Emmy nominated trumpeter Greg Adams and award winning vocalist Lenny Williams. With its tight horn filled rhythms and hugely talented line-up the band promises to ignite an R&B renaissance that has it’s roots firmly grounded in the uniquely soul based genre of San Francisco’s East Bay Area.

EastBaySoul.jpgOf course Adams is a founding member of the wonderful Tower of Power while Williams provided the bands vocals throughout a significant period of its considerable history. Here, as East Bay Soul, the duo is joined by another ex Tower of Power stalwart, trumpeter Lee Thornburg, who more recently has played on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. If that wasn’t enough, either the dynamic Tom Scott or the soulful Eric Marienthal will feature on saxophone. The decision as to who plays where and when will be dependant on scheduling. In fact, although twenty six cities have already been named for the bands extensive 2008 tour, all of East Bay Soul’s appearances will be predicated on each of the artists own solo commitments.

The East Bay Soul line-up is completed by Joey Navarro on keyboards, Evan Stone on drums, Brian Allen on bass, James Wirrick on guitar, Johnny Sandoval on percussion and Johnnie Bamont with flute plus alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. It’s without doubt that the timeless quality of the East Bay Soul sound will captivate audiences throughout the summer. Get your tickets early and for more information go to www.eastbaysoul.com

Do you have any comments on what you have found in this edition of the Secret Garden? If so please contact the Smooth Jazz Vibes Guest Book or e-mail me on DenisPoole2000@Yahoo.com.

Posted by Denis Poole at 12:06 PM

January 7, 2008

Benefits Upcoming For Fattburger's Carl Evans Jr.

Two upcoming benefits in California will aid Carl Evans Jr., a founding member of the veteran San Diego-based Smooth Jazz group Fattburger. Evans is currently in the middle of some serious health challenges. On Dec. 10, he underwent surgery to remove his left leg below the knee. This surgery was necessary to continue his ongoing battle against diabetes. On Jan. 1, doctors performed another operation.

To help with medical costs and future care, the Anthology club in San Diego will be hosting two benefit concerts on Jan. 20. Numerous San Diego musicians will performing, including bassist Nathan East of Fourplay, a longtime friend who Evans has known since elementary school. Also on board is saxophonist Charles McPherson, trumpeters Brian Lynch and Gilbert Castellanos, and keyboardist Rob Whitlock. All net proceeds will benefit the Carl Evans Jr. Health Relief Fund through Washington Mutual. Donations can be made directly to this fund at any time at any Washington Mutual bank. For more information on the show, go to fattburger.com.

Fattburger itself – which now features guitarist Evan Marks, bassist Mark Hunter, drummer Kevin Koch and percussionist Tommy Aros, plans a benefit show for Evans on Feb. 10 at Humphrey’s in San Diego.

This is the second setback for Fattburger in recent years. In September of 2006, Fattburger saxophonist Hollis Gentry died two years after being involved in a serious automobile accident.

Posted by Brian Soergel at 3:52 PM

January 3, 2008

Kirk Whalum At Santa Fe Station

Kirk Whalum, riding high on his Roundtrip release, will perform in the Crown showroom at the Santa Fe Station Hotel on January 11th. Kirk had previously performed in Vegas at Boulder Station Hotel, which had been the mainstay of many visiting smooth jazz artists. Now the concert schedules have virtually split the smooth jazz dates between the two hotels.

Michael Franks, still going strong with his youthful, laid back sound, performs at the Boulder Station Hotel on January 19th.

Tower Of Power, with many of the original members still playing the funk, perform three big nights at the Orleans Hotel, January 11th-13th.

Ongoing local favorites are Santa Fe And The Fat City Horns, Monday nights at the Palms hotel. And don't miss the legendary keyboardist Ronnie Foster and his group at the Ice House Lounge, Thursday nights.

Posted by Danny Desart at 11:56 PM

January 2, 2008

Pat Metheny Tops JazzTimes Poll

Once again, Grammy Award-winning guitarist Pat Metheny has been named Best Guitarist in the annual readers poll conducted by JazzTimes magazine. In addition, readers named the Pat Metheny Group the top Contemporary/Electric Group. Elsewhere, the late saxophonist Michael Brecker won as Artist of the Year and for New Release for his Pilgrimage CD, which was released after his death. Brecker was also voted by fans into the JazzTimes Hall of Fame.

Other winners include Kenny Garrett, Best Alto Saxophone; Dave Valentin, Best Flute; Poncho Sanchez, Best Percussion; Stanley Clarke, Best Electric Bass; and the late Joe Zawinul, Best Electric Keyboards.

All of the results are the February edition of JazzTimes, which hit newsstands this week.

Posted by Brian Soergel at 6:52 AM