Smooth Jazz Festival Mallorca 2013: Friday

The 2nd annual Smooth Jazz Festival Mallorca was held this year May 3-5 at the Protur Biomar Grand Hotel & Spa in Mallorca, Spain, a modern and well equipped hotel complex located in Sa Coma at the eastern coast of the island, that provided the perfect backdrop to this event, besides the hotel director is a huge smooth jazz fan and supporter of the event. Festival organizer Christian Bössner did once more a great job offering a top-class lineup, bringing some of the genre's finest players to the Balearic island, they were supported by the house band of German players, featuring Lutz Deterra on keyboards, Martin Feske on guitar, Marius Goldhammer on bass and special guest, local drummer Patti Ballinas on drums. The weather was nice and the crowd was ready to be entertained and have some fun.

Mallorca_2013_MichaelLington.jpgThe festival was kicked off by saxophonist Michael Lington, who originally hails from Denmark and has some personal ties to the island, having spent several holidays with his family there when he was a kid. He brought things right up to speed with his lively playing, among the songs done were "Twice In A Lifetime" which segued into the Sanborn/James classic "Maputo", which inspired the previous composition. Another nice one was "You And I", one of if his chart topping hits. Then he summoned a bunch of his friends to the stage (Rick Braun, Darren Rahn, Marc Antoine, Rocco Ventrella) for a shuffling blues track, after that he asked a woman from the audience to join him so he could serenade her with some heartfelt sax playing, before he did "Roadtrip" from his Pure CD featuring guitarist Martin Feske. He finished his beautiful set with "Show Me" having the audience sing along, he was asked back for an encore and did "Still Thinking Of You", thanking for being so warmly welcomed here. His show was pure smooth jazz bliss.

Mallorca_2013_PaulBrown_DarrenRahn.jpgAfter an intermission, the producers Darren Rahn on saxophone and Paul Brown on guitar took over the stage. Both artists have been involved in a string of hit records, having produced several of the genre's biggest stars, apart from having released their own successful albums over the years, in addition they have been recording together previously. The Wes-inclined playing of Paul Brown blended well with the silky smooth tenor saxophone of Darren Rahn. After the first couple of tracks, Marc Antoine joined the stage to do "Brother Earl", a song he recorded with Paul Brown on their Foreign Exchange album. Then things slowed down with a beautiful Wes-track, then acknowledging one of their hit productions, they did "Grazing In the Grass" featuring Rick Braun on trumpet, later turning up the heat with their great rendition of "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now", followed by the Luther Vandross classic "If Only For One Night" (with whom Paul Brown actually worked in the studio). Then back to one of the Paul Brown classics with "Sugar Fish", a request he got on the street in Palma the day before, having the woman asking for it dancing in the isle, which prompted Paul Brown to go out in the audience, being the gentleman he is, with Darren Rahn adding some smoking sax work to the song. Later, Paul Brown did "Moondance", before the groove picked up again with "24/7" featuring Rick Braun on trumpet, bringing the audience to their feet. Then all the artists present were summoned onto the stage to do "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy", bringing an outstanding show to an end. The audience demanded an encore, which was given in the form of Grover Washington's "Winelight", ending the first concert evening at 1am. Those people still in the mood were invited for the "aftershow party".