The 6th annual Smooth Jazz Festival Mallorca kicked off with the Smooth Jazz All-Stars, a show that unites most of the players of the festival on one stage. The event usually is held in the unfinished church Església Nova in Son Servera open air, but due to some unexpected cold and rainy weather, it took place at the festival's main venue, the 5-star Protur Biomar Gran Hotel & Spa, which was fine with me.
The show was hosted by keyboardist Brian Simpson, they opened the concert with all players on stage, before the individual players were featured in smaller settings, supported by the festival band consisting of keyboardist Lutz Deterra, bassist Marius Goldhammer, drummer Heiko Braun and guitarist Christof Lindner. The drum seat changed frequently, adding in Marcus Finnie and the legendary Harvey Mason, both playing several nice solos. We got an incredible variety of music, each of the players brought his own style to the table, particularly enjoyable were the young Grace Kelly with her energetic playing, funking up "Amazing Grace", and saxophonist and flutist Nelson Rangell delivering an awesome rendition of Hampton Hawes' "Sonora", whistling and piccolo flute included, with a great solo by Alex Bugnon. Violonist Ken Ford brought the house down with the EWF classic "Can't Hide Love", while Alex Bugnon scored with his own classic "107° In The Shade", recreating a great 70ies jazz-funk feeling. Jeff Kashiwa played some beautiful tenor, while Warren Hill took the Beatles' classic "Hey Jude" to the next level, with some audience participation. Guitarist Norman Brown delivered "On Broadway" in style, with a nod to George Benson. The show concluded with the funky Hancock classic "Chameleon", having all players on stage, bringing a great show to a rousing end.
This was a great festival start, lots of more great shows ahead!