Boney James will make an appearance for one night at the Boulder Station Hotel on December 4th.
The group Hiroshima, celebrating over thirty years together, performed to a packed house at Aliante Station on November 6th.
Singer / songwriter Basia, made a rare appearance on November 20th at the Boulder Station Hotel.
Contemporary jazz group, Blu7, performed at the Hardrock Hotel on Thursday, November 18th, performing selections from their forthcoming CD.
The other local contemporary jazz group on the scene, The Killer Groove Band, will be at The District for a special appearance during the afternoon on Saturday, November 27th.
Keiko Matsui returns to Vegas on December 11th at the Green Valley Ranch resort.
The hot funky sounds of The Lon Bronson All Star Band will be performing New Year's Eve, at Green Valley Ranch, December 31st.
Norah Jones with special guest Corinne Bailey Rae will perform one night only at the Palms Resort in Las Vegas on Sunday, August 22nd.
Dave Koz, with Jonathan Butler, and special guest, Sheila E., received standing ovations at the sold out Sunset Station Amphitheatre July 24th.
Chris Botti in a sold out performance performed one show at Texas Station on August 4th.
Brian Culbertson returns to Vegas to perform at Santa Fe Station, August 13th.
Saturday, August 14th, local resident contemporary jazz favorite, The Killer Groove Band, with new member, guitar phenom Jon Jacquemoud, perform at Lake Las Vegas, hosted by KXPT 97.1 The Point's Ric & Jackie Gould.
BB King performs in his own club, BB King's Blues Club, located inside the Mirage Hotel, in Vegas on August 17th.
September events include legendary songwriter / vocalist, Michael Franks, who will be performing at Aliante Station on September 7th.
With the help of the Fat City Horns, a local favorite horn section in Vegas, Brian Bromberg was more than capable of delivering an astounding display of his bass playing abilities. The concert was held in the afternoon at Centennial Hills Amphitheater on Saturday, June 12th.
A great concert performance by RNR, featuring trumpeter Rick Braun, and saxophonist Richard Elliot, held court at Aliante Station in Las Vegas on Friday, June 18th, to an enthusiastic packed house.
Oleta Adams brings her grammy award winning vocal style to Boulder Station on Saturday, June 26th.
The Killer Groove Band will be performing in the intimate atmosphere of The Grape bar and restaurant this Saturday, June 26th, starting at 7pm
The 18th Annual Las Vegas City Of Lights Jazz Festival, which will be held at the Government Center on Saturday, April 24th features one of the best line ups of all the years this event has been around.
Sax giant Everette Harp, and the very funky sax of Euge Groove are scheduled. Vocalists Will Downing and former Tower Of Power member Lenny Williams (What Is Hip) will also take the stage.
Karen Briggs brings her Soulchestra, which will feature keyboard virtuoso Lao Tizer.
Fattburger will round out the list with their legendary signature band sound.
The Gentlemen Of The Night, sax greats Paul Taylor, Marion Meadows, and Michael Lington, tore it up at Aliante Station March 19th to an enthusiastic audience.
Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns continue their Monday night romp at the Tropicana Hotel, currently under remodelling.
The Killer Groove Band just grooved at House Of Blues in Vegas on Tuesday, March 30th, showcasing new guitarist, Dana Barry. The band will be also featured at Lake Las Vegas on April 24th as part of the weekly summer jazz series.
Local favorite Blu7 will be at the Red Label on Thursdays starting in April.
The 18th Annual Las Vegas City Of Lights Jazz Festival will be held on April 24th at the Government Amphitheater for 10 hours of jazz.
Guitar virtuoso Al Di Meola rocked the Ovation room at Green Valley Ranch Resort on Saturday, February 20th. Di Meola has visited the Vegas valley before, but this was his debut at this particular resort, owned by Stations Casinos.
Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns will record live in the Tiffany Theater at the Tropicana Hotel on Monday, February 22nd. The band is booked every Monday through April.
The Lon Bronson band performs on Thursdays in the Ovation Room at Green Valley Ranch Resort with their brand of funk and R & B, similar to Tower Of Power. In fact, members of TOP are frequent guests sitting in from time to time.
Saxophonist Brandon Fields took a leave of duty from Barry Manilow's gig to perform at Frediani's on Saturday, with fellow group members Joe Melotti and Tony De Augustine. Fields had several albums in the '90s that made smooth and mainstream jazz airplay.
Las Vegas radio station KOAS 105.7 "The Oasis" changed format over the holidays to an "Old School" R & B format. It was no surprise to many since the station had been using an "old school R & B" playlist intertwined with smooth jazz artists for the last few years. This leaves the only bonafide jazz station KUNV 91.5FM as the lone source for any jazz in Las Vegas, along with The Original Sunday Morning Jazz Show on KXPT 97.1 The Point, hosted by Ric & Jackie Gould. But that show is only a four hour format from 8am-12 noon on Sundays.
Saxophonist Najee performed Friday night, January 23rd, to an enthusiastic crowd in the Railhead Showroom at Boulder Station
Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns will host a concert featuring big band guests, The Las Vegas Super Band, Monday night, January 25th, at the Tropicana Hotel.
Next month, guitarist Al DiMeola will perform one night only at the Green Valley Ranch Resort.
The legendary contemporary jazz group Hiroshima will be making a stop in Las Vegas on November 21st at the Santa Fe Hotel as part of their Anniversary tour.
Local original contemporary jazz funk fusion band, The Killer Groove Band, perform at the Rhythm Kitchen, Saturday, November 14th
Kenny G will be performing at The Star Of the Desert Arena at Primm Resorts, located at the state line of Nevada-California, November 20th.
Boney James performs one night only, December 5th, at the Boulder Station Hotel in the Railhead Showroom.
Manheim Steamroller will inspire the holidays with their one night only concert at The Orleans Hotel, December 14th.
The Rippingtons, featuring Russ Freeman, are back in Vegas at the Boulder Station Hotel in the Railhead Showroom, October 10th.
Blu7, a local band making some waves in the community for their cutting edge jazz, world beat, fusion sound, are at the Rhythm Kitchen, Friday, October 2nd.
The Killer Groove Band , another Vegas based favorite,will also perform Saturday, October 10th, at the Rhythm Kitchen, followed by a one night performance for the last Jazz At Lake Las Vegas of the season, Saturday, October 17th.
Michael Lington returns to Vegas performing in the Chrome Showroom at the Santa Fe Station Hotel, October 23rd.
Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns are still tearing up those funky Saturday nights at the Palms Hotel, TFN.
Vegas based Killer Groove Band will host a CD Release Party Friday, August 28th, at Big Dogs Brewery starting at 6pm. The CD release date is slated that same day. The new album is titled "Get Out".
Blu7, headed up by trumpeter James Barela, will perform September 4th at the Rhythm Kitchen.
Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns are still tearing it up on Saturdays at The Palms Hotel. Great funk, vocals, jazz solos, and originals account for a packed house every week.
Catch the Lon Bronson Band who perform periodically at the Green Valley Ranch Resort. Thursday, August 20th, they brought their unique Tower Of Power style funk sound to a very enthusiastic audience.
Chris Botti will be performing Saturday, September 5th, at Aliante Station Hotel.
The Jazz Attack with Rick Braun, Jonathon Butler, and Richard Elliot, perform one night only in the Railhead Showroom at The Boulder Station Hotel.
Dave Koz and Brian Culbertson will be performing together in the Railhead Showroom at The Boulder Station Hotel, August 1st.
Otmar Liebert performed his unique guitar stylings at The Boulder Station Hotel, Friday, July 17 to a very appreciative crowd.
Paul Taylor will be home in Vegas to perform one night at Aliante Station Hotel, Sat. August 8th.
Also performing on that same night will be Diana Krall at The Palms Hotel, making a rare Vegas appearance, but not her first.
The Killer Groove Band, who stake claim as the only contemporary, all original jazz group based out of Vegas, will be performing Sat., August 8th, at The District at Green Valley Ranch. Following that gig is a stint at House Of Blues, Tue. August 11th.
The Killer Groove Band's new CD release, "Get Out", should be available by July 25th. Their CD release party TBA.
The Killer Groove Band performed at the Whitney Library Amphitheater in Las Vegas on June 14th, and debuted material from their upcoming release called "Get Out" on Misatajo Entertainment. The band was very well received and had the opportunity to bond several generations of jazz aficionados.
Andre Rieu, dutch violinist and showman, who has sold more than twenty-five million albums worldwide, performs at the Orleans Arena on Wednesday, June 24th.
Blu7 performs this week at the House Of Blues in Las Vegas. Blu7 is also another very original, eclectic jazz ensemble emerging in the City Of Lights.
Darcus Speed, talented r&b jazz vocalist, performs weekends at Bugsy's.
Saturday nights have been hosting packed crowds at the Palms Hotel with Santa Fe And The Fat City Horns and their funked up fat grooves shaking the walls of the house.
Sax For Stax, with Kirk Whalum and Gerald Albright, will perform their tribute to the hits from the old Stax Records days in the Railhead Showroom at The Boulder Station Hotel on Saturday, May 23rd.
Lake Las Vegas continues their summer jazz series in May on Saturdays, with Ronnie Foster, May 9th, The Killer Groove Band, May 16, The Brothers Ali, May 23rd, and Darrin Michaels, May 30th.
Natalie Cole performs at the newly opened M Resort on Saturday, May 23rd.
David Sanborn brings back his blue, funk, jazz groove to the South Point on May 29th.
New releases to check out:
Spyro Gyra's new Down The Wire album is one of the most diverse and creative CDs to come along in a long time. Get it! This is what contemporary jazz is all about. They cover all types of rhythms, from swing, to funk, to latin. Unspoken, The Tippin' Point, and A Flower For Annie Jeanette ,are just a few of the gems on this collection. And the soloing is superb by all members.
Marion Meadows new release, Secrets, is one his most creative album to date. Compositionally there is a great deal of depth from selections like The Child In Me , The Shade Tree, Urban Angels, to Here To Stay. Matched with Marion's signature soprano saxophone sound, including some fine subtle clarinet and tenor work, make a refreshing Spring release.
Both artists on the Heads Up record label. But now with the exit of Dave Love as the label head, it will be interesting to see if the direction of Heads Up maintains the solid artist roster it has built in the last ten years
The 17th Annual City Of Lights Jazz Festival hosts five great acts this year. Boney James, Wayman Tisdale, Maysa, Marion Meadows, and the young female sax sensation, Jessy J.
The all day event will take place on April 25th in Las Vegas at the Clark County Government Amphitheater. Check City Of Lights Jazz Festival to be directed to more detailed information regarding tickets, accommodations, and travel.
The Killer Groove Band will be performing at two venues this month. The first is The District At Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, NV. on Friday, April 10th, the weather withstanding chances of rain. Then you can catch them at the Black Label tavern in Las Vegas on Saturday, April 25th, which is endorsed by The Las Vegas Jazz Society.
Ongoing events include Monday nights at the Palms Resort with Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns.
On an editorial note:
Keep listening to traditional jazz college stations as they begin playing artists again like Spyro Gyra, Fourplay, Nelson Rangell, and other musicians who once garnered attention on smooth jazz radio stations. With the decline of that format the afore mentioned have been recording material more suited for the contemporary jazz listener who favors modern funk and soul rhythms, but with a little more "meat" creatively.
This is the way it was before the "smooth" era was manufactured by corporate radio program directors in the late '90s.
It will be nice to hear some type of soloing happening in this kind of jazz once more. Even Kenny G is soloing and experimenting again since his arrival at Concord Records, following his decision to abandon the Arista / Clive Davis "play-another-watered-down-formula-pop-song-and-go-platinum-again" philosophy. And with Kenny's partnership with Starbucks it appears his sales have not diminished by much in the last year or so.
With the recession of smooth jazz (or disappearance), other forms of jazz keeps developing in Vegas.
Clint Holmes mixes his blend of jazz and pop vocals at the Orleans Hotel March 20-22.
The Bootlegger Bistro will be hosting late Saturday nights jazz and blues, midnight to 4am, for the listener who wants more of the edge.
The Killer Groove Band, who stake claim to being the only contemporary jazz group in town, will be performing Saturday, March 21st, at the E-String Grill, starting at 7pm.
The legendary jazz keyboard / organist Ronnie Foster can be seen and heard about town, his next outing at the Black Label Lounge April 25th.
With no March headliners coming to town, it's evident that the smooth jazz scene is now relegated to Sunday brunches, the most current at Pantevinos, which host small trios, and is sponsored by Smooth Jazz 105.7 The Oasis.
I waited and waited for activity in January. And outside of Al Di Meola making an appearance in town at the Santa Fe Station, there was nothing.
It is the sign of the the economic times in a town that for the most part was insulated from recessions of past years, and basically rolling through most economic roller coaster rides and steadily growing in population. And now, Las Vegas hold a record 10% unemployment rate, and many are moving away.
And what's the first thing to get cut in an entertainment town? Entertainment. And forget jazz. Jazz does not even exist at a time like this. The hotels closed most of the lounge shows. And for the small part attributed to jazz ten years is all but a memory.
There have been traditional jazz hostings on select nights that have been stables for ongoing listeners, but nothing contemporary. The audiences were basically showing up for old standards and blues, but nothing cutting edge, let alone smooth.
There is a club called Pogos that was bringing in some university players for awhile, but the new owner changed so much of the club that even the forty year history of jazz on Friday nights may go away to make room for middle-aged country fogies who want to use the club as a casual "make out" joint. However, it's still jazz on Fridays, for the time being, even with all the pictures of jazz legends gone, and country and classic rock playing on the juke box on the band breaks.
So here is what we have in February. We have Skip Martin (Dazz Band, Kool & The Gang), a great vocalist who has that Miles Davis influence on trumpet, is performing on Tuesday nights at the Square Apple.
Otherwise, The Killer Groove Band is performing for the PBS fundraiser at the Las Vegas Hilton on Saturday, February 7th.
Concertwise, not even a single booking of a name act is scheduled for March.
.......but we'll keep waiting.
Although it's kind of strange to say an artist rocks a town in the name of jazz, that's exactly what Brian Culbertson did to a packed house Friday night, December 12th, in the Railhead Showroom at the Boulder Station Hotel.
Other events this month will be Big Bad Voodoo Daddy performing a Christmas Concert at the Green Valley Ranch Resort on Friday, December 19th.
Long time resident, talented singer, and performer Clint Holmes, brings his blend of jazz, pop, and whatever he chooses, to the Suncoast Hotel for three nights, December 19-21.
The funkiness and jazz prowess of Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns keep the house vibin' at the Palms Hotel every Monday night.
Local jazz favorite, The Killer Groove Band, is taking off December to record their very first album together. The band features saxophonist Rocky Gordon, a solid recording artist in his own rite, along with members Kelly Dorn, Mitchell Pappas, Robert Ferguson, and Randy Fisher.
Singer, composer, all around musician Gino Vannelli packed the house at the Las Vegas Hilton on November 9th. He is still as physically fit as he was twenty-five years ago, and sound just as great as ever. His new albym, Canto, is an exploration into contemporary classical music as only Vannelli can interpret, having trained vocally under private instruction over the last few years in preparation for the project.
Saxophonist Euge Groove will return to Vegas at Boulder Station on November 22nd.
Trumpet masterChris Botti performs double duty at the end of this month for two Station Casinos properties.
The first performance is on November 28th at the Green Valley Ranch Resort, followed by a stint on the opposite end of town the following night on the 29th at the brand new Aliante Station Resort.
Mainstay performances continue with Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns every Monday night at the Palms Casino.
Jazz, smooth or otherwise, has suddenly come to a dramatic halt in Las Vegas for the month of October
Station Casinos, who have brought many great artists to the Boulder Station Hotel and the Santa Fe Station Hotel, has either streamlined or cancelled acts in October. However, look for Hiroshima to perform November 1st at Santa Fe Station, followed by Euge Groove at Boulder Station on November 22nd.
Chris Botti will perform two dates in November at two Station Casino resorts at two different venues, November 28th at Green Valley Ranch Resort, and November 29th at the newest venue, Aliante Station.
The Suncoast Hotel, once a force for bringing in legendary artists like Chuck Mangione and the funk band, Tower Of Power, has been dry for jazz entertainment for some time.
The Killer Groove Band managed to sneak in a District At Green Valley Ranch performance, but that was about it.
Pogos Tavern, which has hosted Friday night jazz since 1968, is continuing on so far with traditional jazz. But patrons have expressed discontent for the changes the club has exhibited since new ownership and management took effect back in the early summer.
Every other month jazz saxophonist and vocalist Tommy Alvarado switches Tuesday night duties at the Blue Martini with the legendary keyboardist Ronnie Foster. And so far it seems that this will continue until further notice.
But why the drawback of jazz entertainment? One word, economy. That's right. The economy has affected entertainment in general in town, and the fewer dates in the fourth quarter of this year are going to reflect the budget cutbacks by hotels, clubs, and restaurants who have hosted jazz for several years.
We wish well for all Vegas venues that they may weather through these trying times.
The Soul Express will be passing through on September 27th in the Chrome Showroom at Santa Fe Station. The Soul Express consists of top smooth jazz artists like vocalist Phil Perry, saxophonist Everette Harp, and guitarist Chris Standring.
Earlier in the month The Killer Groove Band, local favorite and recording artists on the rise in the contemporary jazz world, played to a packed outside venue at Lake Las Vegas on September 6th.
Saxophonist Michael Lington was a hit with a packed house at the Santa Fe Station on Friday, September 19th.
Acclaimed pianist and composer Keiko Matsui shares the night with another great composer and vocalist, Seal, at the Green Valley Ranch Resort on Saturday, September 20th.
Locally, the legendary organ and keys of Ronnie Foster and his group can be heard at the Blue Martini through October on Tuesday nights.
Smooth sax guru Dave Koz, who has done a fabulous job as the afternoon host for the local smooth jazz station, KOAS 105.7, is making a special guest appearance for one night at the Boulder Station Hotel on August 22nd in the Railhead Showroom.
Jeffrey Osborne will be at the Santa Fe Hotel in the Chrome Showroom on August 16th.
Legendary guitarist Larry Carlton will perform a three night concert weekend at the Suncoast Hotel, August 15-17.
Hometown favorite The Killer Groove Band (KGB), with saxophonist Rocky Gordon, opens the Advertising Community Talent Show, Friday, August 15th, at the Fiesta Hotel (westside) starting at 6pm. Proceeds to benefit Safe Nest.
The local jazz scene features saxophonist/vocalist Tommy Alvarado and his band at the Blue Martini on Tuesday nights.
Last heard was keyboard great Ronnie Foster and his group holding down Thursday nights at the Ice House Lounge.
Tom Peters Lounge has been hosting local jazz with various performers on Friday nights.
And Take 1 has a great jam session on Sundays starting at 1pm with The Gents Of Swing featuring Joe Darro on keys and vocals.
Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson, NV. will showcase two acts in July.
The first performance will be on July 18th with two great artists on stage together. Trumpeter Rick Braun and saxophonist Richard Elliot match sounds for the first time at the venue as part of their continued tour together.
Chris Botti follows Braun and Elliot the following week at Green Valley Ranch on July 26th.
Freddie Jackson makes a rare appearance at Club Madrid, inside the Sunset Station Casino Hotel that same night.
The forty year history of Pogo's, Las Vegas' longest running jazz club, is still hosting the Friday Night Jazz Jam, as it has since 1968. However, saxophonist Rocky Gordon, and his band, KGB, bring their contemporary jazz sounds to Saturday night, July 12th. Gordon's father, Irv Gordon, a prominent jazz saxophonist as well who passed away last November, was a regular fixture for years at the same club. Pogo's just went under new ownership this year.
Santa Fe & the Fat City Horns continue their run Monday nights at the Palms to a consistent packed house.
Erykah Badu brings her original style of crossover pop to the Mandalay Bay Events Center at Mandalay Bay June 13th.
KGB (The Killer Groove Band) with saxophonist Rocky Gordon, performed at the District on Friday night, June 13th.
Marion Meadow's smooth signature soprano sax can be heard in the Chrome Showroom at the Santa Fe Station June 21st.
The legendary Chuck Mangione will perform two nights in the Suncoast showroom at the Suncoast Hotel for two nights, June 20-21.
Primm Valley Resorts at the Nevada stateline on June 21st present the great female alto vocal sounds of Anita Baker, whose comeback is still ongoing with a loyal fan base still in tact.
Peabo Bryson performs his soulful hits one night only in the Railhead Showroom at the Boulder Station Hotel on June 27th.
Las Vegas favorite, guitarist Ottmar Liebert, returns to the Boulder Station Hotel on June 28th.
On a side note: Smooth Jazz 105.7 The Oasis radio station has opted for Dave Koz to host his syndicated afternoon drive radio show from 2p-7p, Monday-Friday. Hopefully this effort will circumvent the station's sagging ratings in the last year.
Keyboard legend Ronnie Foster kicked off the month poolside at the Orleans Hotel on Friday, May 2nd at 6pm. Foster's band is featured as a happy hour series weekly event.
Saturday, May 3rd, Boney James played to a packed house in the Railhead Showroom at the Boulder Station Hotel.
Jimmy Sommers, smooth sax sensation, will host the first after work get together outdoors at the Green Valley Ranch Resort, Wednesday, May 7th.
The Caylix Jazz Supper Club will launch it's grand opening on Friday, May 9th, with the talents of local performers Tony Terry and Cheryl Pepsi Riley.
Tower Of Power returns to the Suncoast Hotel showroom for three big nights, May 9-11.
Keith Martin will present his tribute to Luther Vandross on May 19th at the Texas Station Hotel for one night only.
Rocky Gordon and his group, The Killer Groove Band, will kick off the Sixth Annual North Las Vegas Tastes 'N Tunes Festival, Friday, May 16th. The band appears later in the month at Lake Las Vegas Resort on Sunday, May 25th, as a part of the summer concert series.
Guitars & Saxes, featuring sax great Gerald Albright, with special guests Jeff Golub, Jeff Lorber, and Peter White, perform one night only in the Chrome Showroom at the Santa Fe Station on Friday, May 16th.
Special Note: Thanks to all my friends who sent their support last month while I was under the weather with pneumonia. Last month was the first month I missed posting an article on Smooth Vibes in over four years.
Stations Casinos has stepped up their schedule for jazz, pop jazz, and reggae for the month of March.
The Squirrel Nut Zippers bring their signature brand of jump, jive, and swing to the Red Rock Casino Hotel March 7th.
Top charting smooth jazz saxophonist Euge Groove appears in the Railhead Showroom at the Boulder Station Hotel the following night, March 8th.
Saxophonist Najee brings his soprano sax sounds to the Boulder Station Hotel later in the month on March 21st.
And for reggae fans of The Wailers, they appear for one night only at Green Valley Ranch Resort on March 21st
Earth, Wind, & Fire, coming off a recent stint at the Las Vegas Hilton in Vegas, return March 28th at the Red Rock Station Hotel.
Singer and guitarist Jonathan Butler will perform for one night at the Santa Fe Station Hotel Casino on March 29th.
That same night at Green Valley Ranch Resort will host another of the house stomping swing band renditions with a return visit by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
All performances iwe a kudos to one Vegas hotel casino chain, Stations Casinos.
Guitar great Lee Ritenour returns to Vegas at the Santa Fe Station in the Chrome Showroom on February 15th. Great chops with a contemporary approach that only borders "smooth".
Wayman Tisdale will also make an appearance at the Santa Fe Station on the leap year date of February 29th.
The Killer Groove Band, featuring Rocky Gordon, returns again for the annual Sunny 106.5 FM's Chocolate Affair at the South Point Hotel. The upscale event features wine and chocolate in many varieties. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door.
Tickets are going fast for the annual City Of Lights Jazz And R&B Festival. Two great days.
Saturday, April 26th
Pieces Of A Dream
Sunday, April 27th
Morris Day & the Time
Tony, Toni, Tone
East Bay Soul
(Las Vegas) Michael Schivo, founder and producer of The 16th Annual Las Vegas City Of Lights Jazz & R&B Fest, is celebrating 43 years as Nevada's premier Pop, Rock and Jazz concert promoter and has teamed up again with Las Vegas Events (LVE) the Las Vegas mega producers of the city’s largest tourists events, and The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 105.7 Smooth Jazz, And KCEP Community Radio to co-sponsor the 16th Annual Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz & R &B Festival, Saturday, April 26th and Sunday April 27th. By popular demand this years 2 day Festival will return to Hills Park at Summerlin. Hills Park at Summerlin is located in the respected Northwest quadrant of Las Vegas.
The Park has a professional venue feeling and an intimate synergy revered by the jazz patrons. The Park has many shade trees and a Pavilion which also offers shade. This year the Festival again will have 2 musical parts and separate tickets for the Saturday April 26th Jazz Festival from 1pm to 10pm and Sunday April 27th Stone Soul R&B Picnic from 2pm to 8pm.
As usual, the Jazz Festival and Rhythm and Blues Festival have been booked with handpicked musicians to entertain throughout the day and night. Jazz artists performing on Saturday April 26nd will be Grammy award winning guitarist Norman Brown, the stylish vocals of Chante Moore, hot saxman Paul Taylor, French composer keyboardist Alex Bugnon, the souful groove of Pieces Of A Dream, R&B vocalist Bobby Caldwell, Chicago saxman Steve Cole and Smooth Jazz guitarist Nils.
On Sunday April 27the afternoon begins with A Stone Soul Picnic with Rhythm and Blues and Funk Luminaries, Morris Day And The Time, Rufus,Tony Toni Tone and East Bay Soul with Greg Adams, Lenny Williams and Tom Scott. All of these Rhythm and Blues artists will make for the perfect afternoon and evening of picnicking and family entertainment. Minors when accompanied by a paying Adult will be admitted free thru age 12.
Quote Schivo: "Last year's Festival was an extreme party, filled with the groove that it takes to be crowned “The biggest and liveliest Jazz and R&B party in the west” Last years Festival sold out 2 days in advance and so we strongly urge patrons to buy either show well in advance as tickets will be in high demand once again …..Schivo adds “The Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz and Rhythm & Blues Festival continues to spiral itself into a very special light, and as our Festival continues to gain momentum, it will rank with the likes of all first-rate European and big-city-USA spring and summer Music Festivals, perhaps more so because Las Vegas is truly a one-of-a-kind city."
Past Jazz stalwarts that have graced the festival include: The legendary Jazz Crusaders, Boney James, Norman Brown, Lee Ritenour, Hiroshima, Andy Narell, Rick Braun, Brian Culbertson, Joe Sample, Gerald Albright, Fattburger, Larry Carlton, Poncho Sanchez, Flora Purim and Airto, Ronnie Laws, The Yellowjackets, Hugh Masakela, Chuck Mangione, Richard Elliot, Peter White, Jonathon Butler, George Duke, Down to the Bone, Ronnie Jorden, Paul Jackson Jr., Paul Taylor and many more. The Jazz Festival, established in 1993, has hosted capacity crowds in years past as people from all around the Country participated. Last year 38 states were represented at the Festival.
Tickets go on sale Saturday January 26th 2008 throughout Las Vegas exclusively at the following Las Vegas Ticket Outlets: All three Mr. Bill's Pipe and Tobacco Stores, and UNLV Performing Arts Center Boxoffice, and by phone at 1-800-969-VEGAS. Additional tickets will sold in the Los Angeles area at Inglewood Tickets, 310-671-6400
Patrons of the Festival are permitted to bring into the park picnic baskets filled with their favorite food and beverages,(glass containers ARE allowed) as well, there will be various concessions at the festival in our Jazz Village.
This year's Jazz and R & B Festival will offer free admission to each event for children 11 years of age and under, and a reduced ticket price to each event for children 12-18 years of age for $20, which will be available at the on-site festival box office on the day of the event only.
VIP EARLYBIRD TICKETS for both days include early seating with its own cash bar and up graded water flushing facilities and are $110.00 in advance PLUS any tax and ticket outlet Service Charges and fees..
GENERAL ADMISSION tickets each day are $60.00 PLUS any tax and Service Charge and fees.
Patrons wishing to purchase both days will receive a discounted ticket of $ 155.00 plus any taxes and service charges or fees for one VIP/Early Bird and 1 GA ticket either day or both days VIP EARLY BIRD are $200.00 and GA Tickets will be $110.00 plus services charges ect.
THESE 2 DAY TICKETS CAN ONLY BE BOUGHT BY CALLING 1-800-969-VEGAS.
All tickets in Las Vegas and Nationally go on sale January 26th, 2008.. For additional information please see our website located at www.yourjazz.com. For recorded Jazz Festival information or messages please call our Jazz & R&B Festival hotline at 702 228-3780
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.
Brian Culbertson brings his Soulful Christmas review to the Boulder Station Hotel, Friday, December 14th. The show features an all-star cast consisting of saxman Gerald Albright, vocalist Howard Hewett, guitarist Nick Colionne, and introducing vocalist Victoria White.
Audiences are guaranteed to be in the holiday spirit after experiencing BRIAN CULBERTSON’S A SOULFUL CHRISTMAS! In typical Brian Culbertson fashion, the show features uplifting and soulful performances of holiday favorites and tunes from Brian’s holiday album, A SOULFUL CHRISTMAS (in stores now)! In addition, Brian and his guests will play hits from their respective catalogues.
“I am thrilled to be taking A SOULFUL CHRISTMAS on the road for the second year in a row,” said Culbertson. “I can’t wait to share the stage with this talented group of musicians to celebrate the Holiday season!”
The top notch horn section of Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns has been recruited by Bette Midler, and will be part of her orchestra when the legendary performer makes her debut at Caesar's Palace in 2008, replacing Celine Deon. The horn section is already in New York for rehearsals, but fear not for vacancy in the Santa Fe funk band. The second line of horns are just as fabulous and talented, and have kept the stature of the band in the "A" level of musicianship.
The Squirral Nut Zippers, one of the few kickin' high profile swing bands still on tour, perform two big nights at the Red Rock Station Hotel on December 14th and 15th. The band came to notoriety around the same time as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and the Brian Setzer Orchestra, both bands also still performing several dates a year.
The memorial for jazz saxophonist / arranger Irv Gordon will be held at the E-String Grill in Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon, December 8th. Several notable musicians, friends, and family will be in attendance to honor this great jazz musician with popular stories and an ongoing jam session throughout the day.
Irv Gordon, tenor saxophonist and arranger whose career spans all the way back to the latter bebop era of the early '50s to today, passed away Thursday, November 8th. Credits include a "whose who" list from Billy Holiday, Philly Joe Jones, to Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Carl Fontana. As an arranger/conductor, Gordon employed future giants in jazz trumpeters Chuck Findlay, Bobby Shew, and bassist Bob Magnusson back in the '60s for Minsky's. As a saxophonist, Gordon's sound and approach represented a strong influence from the Lester Young school of playing, putting him alongside Zoot Sims and Stan Getz as a lyrical improvisationalist. Gordon is survived by his seven children and nine grandchildren. He was seventy four.
The Average White Band made their first appearance on November 9th at the Red Rock Hotel to a sold out house.
Hiroshima, with a new album out this year, returned to the Boulder Station Hotel in the Railhead Showroom on November 10th.
Chris Botti makes his debut at the Green Valley Ranch Resort on November 16th.
Guitarist Peter White will display his virtuosity at the Santa Fe Station on Noevember 17th.
The Yellowjackets, with twenty six plus years together, bring it on at the Boulder Station hotel on November 30th.
Queen Latifah, riding high now as a successful jazz vocalist as opposed to her early career as a female rap artist, performs one night only at The House Of Blues on November 16th.
Ongoing performances include Monday night at the Palms Hotel with the high energy sound of Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns..
There are two distinct talents today who carry the tradition of Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson. They are Taylor Eigsti, and Eldar. Both are barely around twenty years of age, but have been on the scene as prodigies for some time. Now Eldar will visit Vegas, performing one night only in the Chrome Showroom at the Santa Fe Station Hotel on October 20th. This is a "don't miss" opportunity.
Etta James brings her signature sound back to the showroom at the Orleans Hotel, October 10th through the 14th.
Tower Of Power, an annual regular at the Suncoast Hotel, will return there October 5th through the 7th.
The alluring alto voice of Oleta Adams will also make an appearance at the Santa Fe Station Hotel on October 13th.
Songstress Diane Schuur returns to the Railhead Showroom at the Boulder Station Hotel on Friday, October 26th, followed by guitar master Al DiMeola, Saturday, October 27th.
Santa Fe And The Fat City Horns are riding high on their live CD and DVD release, Let The Healing Begin.
Kyle Eastwood, son of Clint, brought his phenomenal jazz bass playing to the Santa Fe Hotel on Friday, September 7th to a sold out audience.
Another legacy of greatness is Tito Puente Jr., who is carving his own niche in the jazz world these days, and who will be performing three great nights of latin jazz, September 14-16, at the Suncoast Hotel in Las Vegas.
Jazz violinist Michael Ward, who tore it up this past July for a one night performance, returns to the Plaza Hotel, September 15th.
Smooth chart buster, saxophonist Michael Lington, will be at the Santa Fe Station on September 15th.
Robert Cray brings his blues mastery to the Railhead Showroon inside the Boulder Station Hotel on September 21st.
Kudos to Santa Fe And The Fat City Horns for releasing their live CD, recorded at the Palms Hotel. The band reflects a lot of tightness and professionalism, not to mention some great tunes. The Palms has extended their loyalty to this unit based on a packed house every single Monday night they have performed.
Rocky Gordon will return to the Gordon Biersch Brewery on Sunday, September 16th, with some new material inclusive with selections from his current release, Alone In The Crowd. And congrats goes out to Rocky's daughter, who was an American Idol Top 12 finalist from Season 4. Mikalah Gordon is currently filming an episode for CBS' The Unit as the prime guest star, the character being a pop star performing in Iraq. it's her first major breakout role.
Paul Taylor's sound has become very identifiable in smooth jazz. Within the first few minutes of listening to Ladies' Choice, it is evident whose voice is behind the alto saxophone. His signature sound on both alto and soprano saxophones has been one of the tools that has helped keep his career on an even course.
In Ladies' Choice, the artist has utilized the talents of two credible producers, Rex Rideout, and Barry Eastmond. Eastmond works his magic on the vocal tracks, "How Did You Know", and "Open Your Eyes", both co-written and sung by guest Regina Belle. Eastmond has a prior history working with Anita Baker, and facilitates a similar approach with Belle.
Belle stands out beyond the other guest vocalists. who include LaToya London, Terry Dexter, and Lauren Evans. Although all are fine vocalists, there is nothing that stands out about the latter three's performances, or even the song choices.
What really shines on this album are the uptempo renditions of the tracks, "Ladies' Choice", "Overdrive", and "Point Of View", all featuring alto sax. "Streamline" is also a nice track with the soprano saxophone as the featured lead.
Taylor has obviously switched direction this time around, and this project reflects that in a positive way. This more aggressive approach and diversity is a welcome change.
Outside of the several talented artists making smooth jazz charts today are upcoming artists. The first review from this column will be devoted to one of several artists who resides in the desert.,
Rocky Gordon, originally a Philadelphia transplant to Vegas, recently released his contemporary jazz CD under the Misatajo umbrella, a fairly new indie label.
The release, Alone In The Crowd, features a combination of dance, funk, and latin grooves on a variety of tracks.
Gordon displays his saxello-soprano sax virtuosity with great warmth and a solid tone, which includes some fine bop-like ideas throughout each of his solos on this album.
The Great Escape, To Yourself Be True, the only tune where the artist plays alto sax, and The Dream Messenger, stand out as the tracks most applicable for radio play, with memorable hooks and a strong concept from the arrangements. Tom Schuman’s production is complimentary throughout the first two mentioned. Schuman also lends his production expertise on the title track, Alone In The Crowd, with a nice understated solo. Although I would have preferred a slightly more aggressive side to Schuman’s solo effort based on his ability to “deliver the goods” technically and creatively.
Nuovo Strada Di Spero, which in Italian means New Street Of Hope, has a very Sergio Mendes Brazilian feel, accompanied by real and synthesized background voices, with a very well stated melody.
A Fresh Start is the most sophisticated chord structured composition, and is the best example of what could be described as “contemporary” in jazz.
The musicianship and production are solid, although at times it feels a little too slick, as many projects tend to sound these days.
The only composition not written by the artist is a cover of Sarah McLachlin’s hit, Angel, which seemed to drag on about a chorus too long, and the only track which the CD could have probably survived without.
All in all, Gordon is a talented composer and saxophonist who has a niche that could establish a place in contemporary jazz in time.
Of all the great performances going on in August in the desert, the most anticipated event is the Summer Storm that will take place at the Boulder Station Hotel on Saturday, August 25th. Four great smooth jazz artists are scheduled to appear. Guitarist Norman Brown, vocalist/pianist/composer Peabo Bryson, Soprano sax master Marion Meadows, and keyboard great Jeff Lorber will be tearing it up in the Railhead Showroom.
Master bassist Stanley Clarke gave an electrifying tour de force at the Green Valley Ranch Resort, Saturday, August 4th.
Jeffrey Osborne brings his great pop-r&b-smooth vocal style one night only at the Boulder Station Hotel on August 17th.
And the super-successful series, Jazz Under The Stars, will host its fourth edition for 2007 on Sunday, September 2nd at Spring Mountain State Park with event guests, saxman Richard Elliot, and smooth jazz guitarist Joyce Cooling. Gates open at 6pm, performances scheduled at 7pm. Kudos to Michael Schivo, one of the few indie promoters who has mastered this series every year by providing each event with great talent, including his annual City OF Lights Jazz And R & B Festival.
Sunday, July 1st, welcomed Jazz Under The Stars #2 at Spring Mountain State Park with special guests Spyro Gyra, performing selections from their latest release, Good To Go Go, as well as gems from the past. Thirty years, twenty seven albums later this band has never sounded better, especially with the addition of drummer, Bonny B. David Pack, of Ambrosia fame, also performed selections that he has re-recorded recently for smooth jazz airplay like "The Biggest Part Of Me".
Jazz Under The Stars #3 will take place on Sunday, July 29th, with headliners Rick Braun, and saxtress Mindi Abair.
Rocky Gordon and his band, KGB, will kick off their CD release party for his Alone In The Crowd release, Saturday, July 7th, starting at 7pm at Lake Las Vegas, presented by Montelago Village Resort, and sponsored by Findlay Toyota, and KXPT 97.1 The Point, with hosts Ric and Jackie Gould of the highly rated Original Sunday Morning Jazz Show.
Craig Chaquico returns to Las Vegas for one night only in the Chrome Showroom at Santa Fe Station, Saturday, July 14th.
Gershwin Sings Gershwin, brings the legacy of George and Ira through the talents of Alexis Gershwin and the Gershwin Singers and Orchestra at the Suncoast Hotel, July 20-22.
Gerald Albright will bring his award winning, and aggressively entertaining saxophone sound to the Suncoast Hotel for three big nights, June 15-17.
Saxophonist Jimmy Mullidore, who has performed behind everyone from Elvis to Diana Ross, offered up one night of jazz at the Gold Coast Hotel on June 4th to a very responsive audience.
Ottmar Liebert,whose signature acoustic guitar work has built a fanbase for well over a decade, returns to the Railhead Showroom at The Boulder Station Hotel for one night only on Saturday, June 9th.
Talented and unique, Keiko Matsui's keyboard style and compositions have enjoyed several years of success with her new age-jazz approach to music. She returns as well to The Boulder Station Hotel on Friday, June 22nd.
The fairly new and very popular hotel, Red Rock Station, hosts one special evening with a performance from the Grammy Award Winning and very talented singer Lauryn Hill, who has been in and out of the eye of the industry for the last few years.
And on a sad note, the equipment gear used by Santa Fe And The Fat City Horns was stolen a few weeks back from their storage. The band, however, with the help of local musicians and friends, have been able to continue their successful engagement on Monday night at The Palms Hotel. Anyone knowing of any information leading to the whereabouts of the band's equipment should email Jerry Lopez at email@example.com, or leave information on the band website at www.santafeandthefatcityhorns.com.
Jazz Under The Stars #1 will be held sunday May 27th at the Super Summer Theatre at Spring Mountain State Park. To kick off this season will be saxman Euge Groove, with Paul Brown, and special guest Steve Oliver.
The man who redefined the sound of the jazz alto saxophone over the last 30 years, David Sanborn, will deliver the goods for three big nights at the Suncoast Hotel, May 4-6.
The Rippingtons, with Russ Freeman at the helm, will perform in the Chrome Showroom at the Santa Fe Hotel on May 12th.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, with their hot horn sound, kickin' rhythm section, and smokin' vocals, appear one night only at The Green Valley Ranch Resort on May18th.
Delbert McClinton, who's sound of caucasion soul, funk, and r&b, will bring it on at The Boulder Station Hotel, Friday, May 25th. The following night hosts one of the great, ageless bands of all time, Toto, whose sound is as fresh today as it was 25 years ago.
Rocky Gordon, who's new CD, Alone In The Crowd, was released on Monday, May 7th, will perform on Friday, May 25th for the Orleans Pool Party. The poolside parties are hosted by radio station KOAS 105.7 and are held weekly at The Orleans Hotel starting at 7pm.
Friday April 20th, and Saturday, April 21st The City Of Lights Jazz And R & B Festival will hosts its Fifteenth Annual outing at Hills Park At Summerlin in Las Vegas. Some of the acts on Friday will be The BarKays, and George Duke. Saturday will feature Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, and Peter White, and many more.
Brian Culbertson rolls into town and will perform one night only in the Chrome Showroom at the Santa Fe Hotel on Friday the 13th.
Two names who have emerged from three decades of great hits, and have always been format crossover favorites are Isaac Hayes, who will be at Texas Station Hotel on Arpil 28th, and The Alan Parsons Project, at Boulder Station Hotel on the same night.
Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns are still tearing it up on Monday nights at the Palms Hotel. Their live recording sounds like a chapter out of the Tower Of Power songbook.
Rocky Gordon's new CD is slated for release toward the end of this month, which features three songs produced by Tom Schuman of Spyro Gyra. Speaking of Tom, he was the guest artist on Monday night, April 2nd, with Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns, and ripped through some great solos while performing with the band.
The Jazz Masters photo, which included many jazz musicians of high stature, was taken on the campus of UNLV on Saturday, March 31st. Featured musicians were legendary names like Gerald Wilson, Jimmy Wilkins, Marlena Shaw, Bill Trujillo, and singer Joe Williams widow, Jill, who held a picture up of her late husband for the photo. The historic moment was reminiscent of Art Kane's famous 1958 photo of the 57 jazz musicians who gathered together on 126th Street in Harlem at 10am for that one day.
Guitarist/vocalist Jerry Lopez and his long standing band, Santa Fe & the Fat City Horns, move into the Pearl Showroom at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas for a one-time concert. The band has been holding down the Monday night spot at the Palms recently with much success.
Gino Vannelli, contemporary pop-jazz vocalist who garnered hits back in the late '70s and early '80s with songs like "I Just Wanna Stop", "Living Inside Myself", and "Black Cars", will be performing at the Suncoast Hotel March 23rd-25th. Gino's brother, Joe, has been at the helm of keyboards and musical direction throughout Gino's career, and should be present as well.
Candy Dulfer, the first lady of smooth jazz saxophonists who first came to prominence back inthe late '80s and early '90s with top chart hits and several guest apearances on the old Arsenio Hall show, will be performing in the Chrome Showroom at the Santa Fe Hotel on March 30th.
The Suncoast Hotel will feature guitarist Estaban on March 31st, a multi-format friendly musician who gained much notariety in the last few years through his nationally televised infomercials promoting his specially designed acoustic guitars.
Euge Groove, an alumni of several pop acts, including a stint with the legendary funk band, Tower Of Power, performed Friday, February 2nd, at the Boulder Station Hotel in the Railhead Showroom to a packed house.
And coincidently, Euge's former employers, Tower Of Power, arrive the following weekend for three big nights, February 9-11, at the Orleans Hotel. Original members, Emilio Castillo, Rocco Prestia, Doc Kupka, and my favorite funk rhythm master, David Garibaldi, are the four original mainstays driving the standards they wrote over thirty years ago. Songs like What Is Hip, So Very Far To Go, You're Still A Young Man, Soul Vaccination, are stil the most requested along with newer tunes recorded in the last ten years, like the now popular, Diggin' On James Brown.
Tonight Show bandleader/jazz guitarist Kevin Eubanks breaks stride from Jay Leno for one night at the Santa Fe Station in the Chrome Showroom on February 10th.
Smooth jazz bass player Wayman Tisdale returns to the Boulder Station Hotel on February 16th. Wayman is probably the only musician today who will one day receive a sports pension from his twelve year tenure as a pro-basketball player.
The great guitarist/vocalist Jerry Lopez is still bringing on "the healing" at the Palms Hotel every Monday night with his band, Santa Fe And The Fat City Horns. Bandmember and featured alto saxophonist Phil Wigfall is undoubtably one of the most underrated jazz musicians performing today.
Local radio station Sunny 106.5 hosts the Third Annual Chocolate Affair at the South Point Hotel on February 11th with entertainment provided by saxophonist Rocky Gordon and his band KGB. Rocky and his band will also be featured during KXPT 97.1 The Point's Sunday Morning Jazz Show at the Promenade on February18th.
Condolences go out to the families of Michael Brecker and Alice Coltrane. It is somewhat poetic that these two great artists passed on within twenty-four hours of each other, both who carried the legacy of the legendary John Coltrane.
Santa Fe & the Fat City Horns are probably the most soulful, unique band in Las Vegas. Jerry Lopez, founder, guitarist, and vocalist, gained a solid reputation years ago working for everyone from Tom Scott, George Benson, to latin pop star, Ricky Martin.
The band has been tearing it up in town for years, most recently with a 2007 annual agreement with the Palms Hotel Casino to perform on Monday nights. A top front horn line, along with a tight groove from the rhythm section with Jerry at the helm sparks what Jerry calls "a night of healing".
Sunday, January 7th, the Las Vegas Jazz Society will host a special concert by Santa Fe & The FCH at the Summerlin Library at 2pm. Visit their website at www.SantaFeAndTheFatCityHorns.com.
The unique sounds of guitarists Strunz & Farah return to the Boulder Station Hotel Casino on Friday, January 19th.
Kenny Rankin, who garnered a few top 40 hits with his smooth sound, and who actually precipated the works of Michael Franks back in the '70s, will perform on Saturday, January 27th.
December 1st through 3rd the Suncoast Hotel showroom will host a great weekend special with jazz acoustic guitar great Earl Klugh.
The complete lineup for the Fifteenth Annual City Of Lights Jazz Festival 2007 is as follows:
Friday, April 20th
Stone Soul Picnic
Saturday April 21st
Urban Jazz Coalition
Tickets go on sale nationwide, Saturday, January 27th. Call 1-800-969-VEGAS
On a personal statement I just want to say that although Tower Records is closing down nationwide, the opportunity has never been greater for many indie jazz musicians to step up their online fanbase and make it a an even playing field against corporate programming consultants who have taken every format, and especially smooth jazz, and sterilized them to the point that everything either sounds alike, and very repetitive, and over produced. Long live XM and Sirius.
And forget getting a label deal. An artist really doesn't need one today as much as he did five years ago, or even two years ago.
I would like to be able to identify the individuals today who are playing the instruments in jazz as opposed to just the song. Jazz, not so much traditional or progressive, but smooth, sounds so mass produced to the point that it's becoming a "one-record-fits-all".
Of course it has been the tradition for commercial jazz since the days of Grover Washington Jr. and Winelight that the solos were limiting and the "vibe" was the sale. Well the vibe is still the sale, but at what cost?
And by the way, what happened to Spyro Gyra getting their fair share of airplay? They sound as great as ever. Fourplay? Some airplay gets through. And why does smooth jazz radio have sooooo many Adult Contemporary vocals mixed in that I might as well turn to the local AC station to hear an equal amount of "jazz".
Everette Harp said in an interview some earlier this year that his last producer kept him in line so he would not become so "self-indulgent". Everette, if I were your producer I would encourage you to become more self-indulgent once in awhile. You have the passion and the soul. And that's why I have every CD. But recently I felt you held back from what I am used to from previous recordings. My perception. 'Nuff said for now.
In the meantime have a happy and healthy holiday season. Seeya next year!!!!!
Michael Schivo, producer of the City Of Lights Jazz Festival that takes place in April each year, has stated to Smooth Vibes that he has the primary acts booked. The two day event will take place on April 20th and 21st in 2007, and Schivo will host more of an R & B, Soul type evening on the first night, and top name smooth jazz artists the second. The lineup includes Rick Braun, Jonathan Butler, Richard Elliot, and Peter White. The festival will celebrate its fifteenth year in Las Vegas.
Michael Franks will perform his crossover Jazz-Adult Contemporary vocal stylings in the Railhead Showroom at the Boulder Station Hotel, Friday, November 3rd.
Also performing in Vegas that same weekend is Pop-R & B-Jazz songstress Vanessa Williams, November 3rd-5th, at the Orleans Hotel.
Lake Las Vegas, which hosts Friday night jazz at Montelago Village, presents Rocky Gordon and his band KGB, regarded as a cutting edge contemporary jazz group. They perform Friday, November 3rd.
Diane Schuur brings her hip, straight-ahead style to the Boulder Station Hotel November 18th.
Spyro Gyra will bring thirty years of great tunes and great playing to the Suncoast Hotel for three nights, November 17th-19th.
The South Point Hotel (formerly The South Coast), in conjunction with Findlay Toyota, present The Cool Jazz, Smooth Soul Series on Saturday, November 18th. Performing that evening will be vocalist Will Downing, guitarist Norman Brown, and saxophonist Gerald Albright.
The Yellowjackets continue to tour in honor of her twenty-fifth anniversary world tour with a stopover in Las Vegas. They will be performing at the Railhead Showroom inside the Boulder Station Hotel-Casino on Saturday, October 7th.
Rocky Gordon and KGB will be performing a special third engagement at the District at Green Valley Ranch the preceding night, Friday, October 6that the Greens location.
Peabo Bryson brings his signature voice to Boulder Station the following weekend, performing his memorable hits including some recent gems that have made the smooth jazz radio airwaves.
Saxophonist Michael Lington is at the Santa Fe in the Chrome Showroom on Saturday, October 21st, followed by Cuban jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval the next weekend in the same venue on October 27th.
Ongoing jazz nights are as follows:
Santa Fe And The Fat City Horns are at the Palms on Monday nights.
The legendary Ronnie Foster and his group at the Artisan Hotel on Thursdays and Saturdays.
The Sunday Night Jazz jam at the Hurricane Bar And Grill is hosted by saxman Tommy Alvarado.
Congrats goes out to drummer Bonny Bonaparte as he tears it up as the new featured drummer with Spyro Gyra.
The Rippingtons, featuring Russ Freeman, continue the 20th Anniversary Tour with a stopover in Vegas, one night only, at the Santa Fe Hotel, in the Chrome Showroom, September 8th. Preceding the Ripps the week before will be one of the hottest smooth jazz guitarists on the scene today, Paul Brown, also appearing in Chrome at the Santa Fe, September 2nd.
Best wishes go out to the family and fans of trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson, who's recent passing left a hole in the jazz world. He was scheduled to appear at the Santa Fe following the Rippingtons on Saturday, September 9th. He was 78 years old.
Chartbusting vocalist/songwriter Brian McKnight will perform his hits in the Dallas Events Center at Texas Station on September 15th.
And the following week, back in the Chrome Showroom at the Santa Fe, are the super talents of the Larry Coryell, Victor Bailey, and Lenny White Trio on September 22nd, followeed byt the smooth soprano sax sounds of Marion Meadows in the same venue the following night.
Jazz Under The Stars #3 with trumpeter Rick Braun, along with the mystical jazz of Hiroshima kick it up in the cool mountain air at the Spring Mountain State Park, Saturday, September 2nd. The event is presented by longtime jazz promoter Michael Schivo.
Rocky Gordon, and his band KGB, will perform for the Jazz Sunday Brunch in the Envy Steakhouse in the Renaissance Hotel, hosted by Smooth Jazz 105.7 The Oasis.
Kyle Eastwood, respected jazz bassist, composer, and arranger, who even collaborated with his father, Clint, for the Oscar-winning Mystic River a few years ago, will be performing at the Suncoast Hotel, August 4th-6th.
The Summer Storm is coming to Vegas, specifically on August 18th at the Railhead Showroom inside the Boulder Station Hotel. The Summer Storm members include Norman Brown, Patti Austin, Alex Bugnon, and Paul Taylor.
The Steven Lee Group, featuring saxophonist Rocco Barbato, still holds down the Monday night shift at the new Redrock Station Hotel and Casino.
Ronnie Foster, legendary keyboardist, is still at the Artisan Hotel on Thursdays and Saturdays starting at 10pm.
Rocky Gordon is back at the District, at the Greens location, with his band KGB on Friday, August 11th.
Jerry Lopez (Ricky Martin, Bill Champlin, Clint Holmes) has brought his band, Santa Fe And The Fat City Horns, to the Palms hotel on Mondays. This is a great band, featuring Jerry on guitar and vocals.
On an editorial note:
Vegas is not known for original music or launching innovative talent. Culturally the city has been challenged with too many magicians and celebrity impersonators for years. So it comes as no surprise when you hear the varied sounds of the city that you might define as jazz on occasion.
As far as what I have witnessed over the last few years regarding smooth jazz groups, if I hear one more Benson-guitar clone performing Affirmation or Breezin'; or one more saxophonist perform the songs Europa, Mister Magic, or Chicago Song; or one more wannabee jazz vocalist sing Just The Two Of Us, This Masquerade, or Summertime, or Chaka Khan's Ain't Nobody, then I will pray with the voodoo doctor to bring Jimi Hendrix back from the dead to come and burn their instruments and microphones. It's been done already, and overdone.
If this dilemma is plaguing your community, tell your local club and restaurant owners you've had enough.
Give the people what they want, but remember, those people who like those tired sounds are usually in the upper demographic, and not necessarily members of the affluent class. Younger thinking, hip audiences are looking for more. And they also have the disposable income to buy music.
Gen X has entered the smooth jazz arena. Recruit them now!
Boy Katindig, solo artist and keyboardist for Paul Taylor, lights up the month with his own agenda. You can hear Boy at the Christopher Cross Post Concert Party at the Ritz Carlton on Saturday, July 3rd. Then July 15 he will be performing at The District at Green Valley Resort as part of the continuing summer concert series. Next, it's Boy, soul food, and fried catfish at the Soul 2 Soul Bistro on July 20th. Then look for him at Club Tequila, inside the Fiesta Rancho Hotel on July 29th.
The legendary keyboardist Ronnie Foster adds Friday to his nightly jazz agenda at Capo's Restaurant, starting at 10pm. Ronnie already has Thursday and Saturday covered at the Artisan Hotel, also starting at 10pm both nights.
Steven Lee, featuring the muscular sax of Rocco Barbato, now holds down the Monday Night Jazz spot at Red Rock Station. Their last release, From The Ground Up, is still available on Jay Graydon's label, Sonic Thrust.
Chuck Mangione, the "Feels So Good" trumpet legend, brings his signature sound to the Suncoast Hotel from June 30th to July 2nd.
Smooth Jazz 105.7's Fourth Of July Celebration at Anthem Hills Park will feature saxman David Van Such, who opens for national recording artist, keyboardist Greg Karukas.
Guitarist/composer/recording artist, Will Sumner, will be performing at Lake Las Vegas on Friday, July 7th.
Rocky Gordon brings his unique sax sound along with his new and revised band, KGB, to the Arts District for the City Of Las Vegas First Friday event on July 7th. He also will be a part of the KSNE Sunny 106.5 "Winedown Wednesday" series at the Rampart Hotel on July 12th and 19th. In between, the band will return to Gordon Biersch on Sunday, July 16th, for the original jazz Sunday Brunch that Rocky started in Las Vegas over four years ago.
Don't miss the fireworks, hosted by Smooth Jazz 105.7's Fourth Of July Celebration at Anthem Hills Park, featuring saxman David Van Such and his group, opening for national recording artist, keyboardist Greg Karukas. Fireworks to follow at 9pm.
It's Jazz Under The Stars #1 for 2006 at Spring Mountain State Park, featuring the Sax Pack, Kim Waters, Steve Cole, and Jeff Kashiwa. In addition, popular smooth jazz keyboardist Brian Simpson brings it on, with the sexy guitar sounds of Joyce Cooling as well.
Up and coming jazz artists, 3rd Force, will be performing in the Railhead Showroom at the Boulder Station Hotel, Friday, July 21st.
See the first lady of the saxophone, Candy Dulfer, in the Chrome Showroom at the Santa Fe Station Hotel on Friday, July 28th, followed by the Gipsy Kings, who appear at the Palms Hotel the following night on July 29th.
For a city that is notorius for 110 degree plus weather during July, there's a lot going on when the sun descends into the west. Check it out, until next time. . . . .
The legendary keyboardist Ronnie Foster, who's list of credits ranks among a "who's who and beyond", and who relocated to Las Vegas a few years ago, has been a member of the Clint Holmes band at Harrah's for awhile. But Ronnie's jazz chops are still in fine form, and can be heard two nights a week with his quartet at the Artisan Hotel, Thursdays and Saturdays, 10pm to 1am. Noted guests dropping by have been the likes of David Sanborn, Paul Taylor, George Duke, and Stanley Clarke, to name a few.
The Railhead Showroom at the Boulder Station Hotel dominates jazz this month in June with an impressive lineup of great artists.
R & B, smooth jazz crossover vocalist Jeffrey Osborne sings his hits the night of June 9th, followed by guitar great Ottmar Liebert on Saturday, June 10th.
The Karl Denson Jazz Trio, with their straightahead approach, brings their unique sound the following Saturday, June 17th.
Keiko Matsui, still touring with her great, smooth keyboard style, will make her Boulder Station appearance on Friday, June 23rd.
The District At Green Valley Ranch, a unique upscale shopping plaza with it's nostalgic design of "downtown" building structures, is hosting jazz at least once a month between two of its outdoor venues, The Orchard and The Greens. Rocky Gordon performed on June 2nd at The Greens to a very accommodating crowd, introducing the newest version of his band, KGB.
Acclaimed saxophonist Najee, riding high on his current CD release, My Point Of View, will bring his unique sound to the Boulder Station Hotel on Saturday, May 13th, in the Railhead Showroom. Rumor has it that the Henderson Jazz Festival tried in vain to snatch Najee for their September event, but couldn't come to an agreement with the artist in enough time to secure his appearance for that event.
Euge Groove, a constant chartbuster on the smooth jazz charts, will appear the following Saturday, May 20th, in the Railhead at Boulder Station as well.
Boy Katindig, regarded as one of the most talented Phillipine exports, has been touring with Peak recording artist, Paul Taylor, for some time now. The jazz keyboardist is expected to do some additional work with saxophonist Eric Marenthal later this year. In the meantime, look for this artist at a local restaurant venue, Soul 2 Soul, on Friday evening, May 5th, starting at 9pm.
The District, an outdoor activity center for shopping, restaurants, and even condo residence for some, located next to Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson, Nevada, will host Boy on several engagements throughout the summer at one of their outdoor performance areas. His next appearance is slated for Saturday, June 17th.
The 14th Annual City Of Lights Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Festival will take place in Las Vegas, Friday and Saturday, April 21st and 22nd, at the Hills Park At Summerlin. This annual event was created and produced by veteran promoter Michael Schivo, and will feature top name acts like Cameo, The Ohio Players, and Mint Condition for Friday's performance line up. Saturday will also bring on a top roster featuring Boney James, Phil Perry, Mindi Abair, Mike Phillips and an all star band, plus Joe McBride and Paul Brown.
The legendary bassist, Stanley Clarke, returns to Las Vegas at the Boulder Station Hotel for one night only, Friday, April 7th.
Grammy award winning singer and composer, Michael Franks ,will be at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino for the entire weekend of April 7th-9th.
The new release by Spyro Gyra, Wrapped In a Dream, the fourth album by the band for the label, Heads Up, was released officially on Tuesday, February 28th. This is the first full edition with newcomer Ludwig Alfonso on drums.
Tom Schuman, who lives in the desert of Nevada, as opposed to Jay Beckenstein, who still lives in the cold of New York State during the winter time, has received rave reviews for his recent solo effort, Deep Chill. It's too bad this album, which features the contributing talents of Chuck Loeb and Jeff Kashiwa, hasn't been worthy of a little more radio airplay nationwide. Tom is truly one of the most underrated keyboardists of jazz.
The signature sounds of veteran comtemporary jazz group, Fattburger, will be performing in the Club Tequila showroom at the Fiesta Hotel in Las Vegas Friday March 10th.
Look for ex-NBA all-star and jazz bassist Wayman Tisdale in the Railhead showroom at the Boulder Station Hotel in Vegas, Saturday, March 18th.
Donny Osmond, who's been associated with everything from bubblegum pop, to r & b, to Broadway shows, to a current renewed career on the smooth jazz charts, will be performing at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas, March 2nd-5th.
Some time back I commented that I would examine the revised format of smooth jazz known as "chill". Well since that format has yet to take off, there doesn't seem to be a need to address it. However, Chris Botti is still doing a syndicated show nationwide with the title, "Chill", that seems to be doing well.
SPECIAL NOTE: I would like to apologize for the first paragraph which states that Ludwig Alfonso played on the entire album of Wrapped In A Dream. Ludwig is the current drummer for the Spyro Gyra for all intent and information available to date, but the credits list Josh Dion as the drummer for the album.
The Robert Cray Band hosts a night of Cray's signature blues sound at the Boulder Station Hotel in the Railhead Showroom, February 17th. The following week in the same venue on February 25 is keyboardist/trombonist Brian Culbertson.
On the scene since the turn of the century is one of the most innovative jazz/pop female vocalists of our time, Jacqui Naylor, who's last release, Shelter, garnered rave reviews in both Vogue and Jazz Times magazines. Jacqui "brings it on" this month at the Suncoast Hotel for two nights, February 3rd and 4th.
Local radio station KSNE 106.5 FM is hosting the second annual Chocolate Affair on Sunday, February 12th, at the Southcoast Hotel. Recording artist/saxophonist Rocky Gordon and his Killer Groove Band return as the featured entertainment for the second year.
January artists performing will have a chance to really draw some crowds since the quantity of shows are going to kick off a slow month in the desert of the Las Vegas valley for 2006.
Kenny Rankin, who over the years has built a loyal following since his debut in the '70s as a smooth vocalist-songwriter, discovered by the late comedian, Flip Wilson, will be performing Saturday, January 14th, in the Railhead showroom at the Boulder Station Hotel. The fabulous guitar duo of Strunz & Farah will follow exactly two weeks later in the same venue on January 28th.
Brazilian jazz legend Sergio Mendes brings his signature sound to the showroom at the Suncoast Hotel for two big nights, January 27 and 28.
Probably the most remembered American Idol Season 4 finalist outside of Bo and Carrie, Mikalah Gordon, (also daughter of jazz musician Rocky Gordon), turns 18 years old this month on Saturday January 14. She lives in L.A. and is performing occasional jazz benefits while pursuing an acting career under the guidance of the Mosaic Media Group, a top management firm in Hollywood (Jim Carrey, Ellen, Will Ferrell, Sarah Silverman).
Special thanks to all those respondants of my editorial last month "Where Have All The Solos Gone?". There will be a follow up as to my observation of the state of smooth jazz transitioning into the "Chill" format soon. So keep checking back to this site.
I have wanted to comment for some time about the growing pasterization of the smooth jazz format. Now after many consultants and radio programmers have found a way to sterilize the format to a pop instrumental catagory, it has finally aroused my need to spew a few observations on the state of affairs today.
Many years ago, during the height of the Grover / Sanborn eras of the '70s and '80s, listeners were afforded at least a limited opportunity to hear the solo talents of the above two mentioned, along with other notable contemporary jazz artists like Spryo Gyra, Jeff Lorber, and George Howard, to name a few. These days, with the exception of the solos of George Benson clones, saxophonists really have been relegated to being melody players of the smooth jazz format.
Even Getz,Cannonball, and Paul Desmond would roll over in their graves knowing that Girl From Ipanema, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,and Take Five, having introduced the world to improvisation in jazz with a nice melody, was a thing of the past for today's artists.
Where are the solos? Where are the innovators of their instruments? Now everyone is either a Sanborn, Koz, or Grover clone on saxophone, only without the solo efforts. It's either that, or we hear multi-tracked sax sections, with three choruses of melody, all in a four-minute pop instrumental package served up to the listener as a form of.......jazz?
It's no wonder I hear that people are heading over to Sirius and XM from FM. It's the only place to hear Kenny Garrett play contemporary jazz, which is only pop instrumental, but with....yes...improvisation.
Folks, jazz is...and bless me Louis Armstrong for saying this....improvised music.
There's more jazz going on in heavy metal bands than on smooth jazz radio. At least the guitar player gets to scream out a solo, even if it's at a decibal, ear-splitting, ring. But there's improvisation going on there.
Herbie Hancock keeps the flame going. He's right on track. His latest album offers exactly what the title of the album represents...possibilities. We hear jazz improvisation going on mixed with pop. Pop music, and pop artists are great to improvise with, as Herbie does throughout the whole album.
Thank God for keyboard players in general. They seem to have the most flexibility to improvise on their albums in smooth jazz right now. Some, however, need to learn how to use both hands. It is a two-handed instrument, isn't it?
A lot of standards in the Great American Song Book were once pop tunes of their era. Jazz musicians expanded on those tunes. Surrey With A Fringe On Top, Days Of Wine And Roses, Alfie, Someday My Prince Will Come, a lot of the Bacharach tunes, etc. So why not take what's happening today and put jazz into it? Isn't that what's happening with the Santana, Earth Wind & Fire, Motown remakes? No! They are being re-made, without solos. Well, some have at least two to four bars of solos, if we are privilaged enough to enjoy a creative moment from the artist on record.
We all know that industry record sales are down, especially in smooth jazz. So maybe cloning and pasterization does get old. It has always been the way of the labels to find one sound. and re-issue it several times to the public until they are sick of it; and make sure it fits that sterile four minute form. That may work in pop with fifteen-year-old listeners, but smooth jazz radio consultants better get a clue fast before the smooth jazz market, comprised of adults targeting ages 25-54, dries up and goes back to pop or adult contemporary radio with solid vocals as their choice for listening. If you're only going to hear the melody, you might as well hear the words.
Smooth jazz saxophonist Paul Taylor, a Las Vegas resident who almost never appears in his own town, brings his signature sound to the Santa Fe Station, Saturday, December 10th, 7pm.
Tim Pohlman, the former general manager of KTWV, The Wave in L.A.for seven years, has formed his own company, Riviera Broadcasting. Tim and partners recently purchased the smooth jazz radio station in Las Vegas, KOAS 105.7. KOAS, which for the past four years of its existence has been one of the lowest rated smooth jazz radio stations in the U.S., according to all Arbitron surveys, was previously owned by Desert Sky Media.
Upcoming jazz artists for 2006 who will bring their talents to the desert are Brian Culbertson, Kenny Rankin, Maynard Ferguson, Stanley Clarke, and Strunz & Farah.
In the meantime, have a great holiday season. Stay tuned for updates. And Happy New Year!
Sometimes it's amazing just how long some artists can last, but a lot of times when you see what they have accomplished it's no surprise.
Singer/musician Diane Schuur kicked off November at the Boulder Station Hotel on the 2nd with her mainstream approach and top notch musicality. She has definitely set a standard for herself, and for the jazz industry as well.
Burt Bacharach, songwriter, arranger, Oscar and Grammy winner, brings his song catalog of hits to perform at the Orleans Hotel for four big nights, November 10-13.
Al Jarreau, Grammy winner, and another ageless veteran of smooth jazz, contemporary jazz, pop, and R & B, sets foot on the mainroom stage of the Suncoast Hotel showroom November 11-13.
One artist, guitarist Peter White, who is still building his mountain of artistry in his career, will be hosting a great holiday show at the UNLV Performing Arts Center. It's the Peter White Christmas Show, Friday, November 25th, with special guest, the very saxy sounds of Mindi Abair.
Saxophonist Paul Taylor, who just keeps coming with the hits, more so now than ever before, rarely performs at home. But the Santa Fe Hotel will be hosting one night with Paul on December 10th.
It's a month where quality matters, and not quantity.
Lake Las Vegas, just outside of Vegas on the way to the official lake, Lake Mead, has set a tradition of bringing smooth jazz to Montelago Village all summer long with local entertainment. This month showcased a couple of national artists, keyboardist Greg Karukas on Sunday, October 9th, and guitarist Blake Aaron for the Saturday show on October 15th.
Tom Schuman, who recently produced some songs for guitarist Steve Oliver and saxophonist Rocky Gordon, has a new album coming out that has already received airplay from the advance submissions to radio stations around the country. Deep Chill should garner a solid place on the Billboard list for Tom as a solo artist, which has been long overdue for the Spyro Gyra co-founder.
Kudos to Michael Franks, who brought the house down at the Suncoast showroom at the Suncoast Hotel all three days of his performance, October 7th-9th.
Euge Groove performed Thursday, October 6th, at the Henderson Pavillion in Henderson-Las Vegas.
Santa Fe blows the roof off the Trax showroom at the Palace Station Hotel every Monday night, headed up by guitarist/vocalist, Jerry Lopez, best known as Ricky Martin's guitarist a few years back.
The legendary keyboard sounds of Ronnie Foster, along with his band, can be heard every Friday and Saturday night at the Sedona restaurant, starting at 10pm.
Special congrats goes out to Rocky Gordon and his wife, Sherry, who became the proud parents of a newborn baby on September 25th.
With the current conditions in New Orleans due to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Harry Connick Sr. will not be performing in Las Vegas at the Boulder Station Hotel September 2nd and 3rd. Although the Connick family is safe and sound, homes have been lost and food and shelter are in need. Please visit connick.com, Harry Jr's website, for information about how you can help.
Eric Darius, new smooth jazz saxophonist on-the-rise, performed at the Henderson Pavillion in Henderson, Nevada, Thursday, September 1st.
The tower of groove sounds return to the Suncoast Hotel, September 2-4, with the funk, r & b, jazz legendary band, Tower Of Power.
Michael Lington, riding his career to an all time high, brings his contemporary saxophone sound to the Santa Fe Hotel, Saturday, September 10th.
House Of Blues will be giving it up to the original pioneer of contemporary jazz today, guitarist Pat Metheny and his trio, Thursday, September 20th.
The Dallas Events Center at the Texas Station Hotel in Las Vegas welcomes guitarist Norman Brown and his Summer Storm, Sunday, September 23rd.
Be sure to stay tuned for future "Song From The Desert" editorials as I implement some editorial reviews based on my observations of the state of smooth jazz today, as well as jazz in general. There are a lot of changes going on in the industry, and many artists have felt the repercussions in work and CD sales. Some are good, some are not.
Take care, until next time.
The Henderson Pavillion in Henderson, Nevada hosted the smooth sounds of Joyce Cooling on August 4th as part of that concert series which is held the first Thursday of each month during the summer.
The legendary keyboard sounds of Bob James hits the showroom stage at the Suncoast Hotel minus his group, Fourplay, August 12th and 13th.
Harry Connick Sr., the father of "you know who?", will perform one night, September 2nd, in the Railhead Showroom at the Boulder Station Hotel.
Jazz Under The Stars #3 gets underway in the cool surroundings of Spring Mountain State Park, just outside of Las Vegas with the long enduring popular smooth sounds of the group Hiroshima, along with special guest, guitarist Craig Chaquico.
And rumor has it, saxophonist Rocky Gordon may be recruiting the production talents of keyboardist Tom Schuman (Spyro Gyra member and co-founder) for some tunes on his next album very soon.
Nelson Rangell, renowned sax/flute veteran of smooth/contemporary jazz, brings his sound to the Henderson Pavillion in Henderson/Las Vegas Thursday, July 7th for a special concert.
The weekend of July 7th and 8th you'll find the legendary group, Spyro Gyra, performing in the Suncoast Showroom at the Suncoast Hotel. Interesting to add that keyboardist and co-founder Tom Schumann has recently made his home in Las Vegas, setting up shop for his recording studio.
Dave Koz and Friends brings his Smooth Summer Night Tour 2005 to Texas Station July 29th. Special guests include the legendary vocalist Jeffrey Osborne, guitarist Marc Antoine, and the dutch smooth sax sensation, Praful.
It's a guitar players month in the desert. June 2nd hosted Koch Records recording artist Steve Oliver. His hookish melodic guitar sounds lit up the Henderson Pavilion in Henderson, Nevada last Thursday to an enthusiastic crowd.
Ottmar Liebert, a multi-faceted guitarist who attracts not only smooth listeners, but classical and world music aficionados as well, will be performing in the Railhead Showroom at the Boulder Station Hotel, Saturday, June 11th.
Also June 10th and 11th in the Golden Nugget showroom is the legendary guitarist/vocalist George Benson.
Another legend appearing the following weekend is guitarist Larry Carlton bringing his signature sound to the Suncoast showroom June 17th through the 19th.
With more activity than usual, May is going to be a great month for smooth jazz in the desert.
Guitarist Richard Smith and keyboard master Freddie Ravel kick it hard Thursday, May 5th, at the Henderson Pavillion as part of the First Thursday Of The Month series held in that concert arena. Henderson is technically a neighboring town to Las Vegas.
Sax legend David Sanborn brings three nights of magic to the Suncoast Hotel Showroom, May 6-8th.
It's the "Jazz Attack" Friday, May 13th, at the Sunset Station Amphitheatre, at the Sunset Hotel, with special guests Richard Elliot, Jonathan Butler, Rick Braun, and Peter White.
It's the Tenth Anniversary of Guitars & Saxes, and one of the first stop-overs is going to be at Spring Mountain State Park, located on the outskirts of Las Vegas in the cool mist of the mountain air. Mindi Abair, Wayman Tisdale, Jeff Golub, and Warren Hill will host the evening of great sounds that also launches the Jazz Under The Stars series of 2005, now in its eighteenth year.
Top pop saxman Michael Lington kicked off the month this last Thursday, April 7th, in style at the Henderson Pavillion in Henderson, Nevada, a neighboring city in the Las Vegas area. This Thursday even is held each month and will feature keyboardist Freddie Ravel and guitarist Richard Smith in May.
Rising high on his smooth trumpet sounds was Chris Botti at the Suncoast Showroom at the Suncoast Hotel this last weekend, April 8th and 9th.
The biggest event this month will be the one we have mentioned periodically earlier this year. The 12 Annual Jazz & Rhythm & Blues Festival Friday, April 22nd and Saturday April 23rd at the Hills Park in Summerlin in Las Vegas, presented by the founder, Michael Schivo. Smooth jazz' biggest names performing day and night are George Duke,Kim Waters, Ronny Jordan, Down To The Bone, Paul Taylor, and Paul Jackson Jr. The Friday R & B portion will feature United We Funk, Lakeside, The Dazz Band, The SOS Band, and Confunkshun.
As the weather turns in the desert to warmer temperatures, jazz gets alive again.
The legendary sounds of pop-Brazilian keyboard jazz master Sergio Mendez is at the Suncoast Hotel March 18-20. The following weekend at the same venue is eclectic new age pianist Giovanni, March 25 and 26.
Keiko Matsui brings her unique keyboard artistry to the Boulder Station Hotel, Saturday April 2nd in the Railhead Showroom.
Hall & Oates, riding high on their latest release single of the classic R&B cover, "I'll Be Around", bring it on at the Green Valley Ranch Hotel Friday, April 8th.
And special congrats to contemporary jazz saxophonist Rocky Gordon's daughter, Mikalah Gordon, for making the esteemed Top 12 on American Idol.
It's just become public knowledge that Mikalah Gordon, the bubbly 17 year from Las Vegas who has been compared to everyone from Barbra Streisand to Fran Drescher, has made the final 24 for American Idol. Mikalah is also contemporary jazz saxophonist Rocky Gordon's daughter, and has been featured on the last two of Rocky's releases, Echoes, and Perfect World.
This is one little girl to watch. Mikalah, the youngest in this year's competition, has consistantly wowed the judges, including the hardline Brit, Simon Cowell, in every one of her rounds of audition.
Voting for the final 12 girls begins Tuesday, February 22nd, following the Monday February 21st performances with the final 12 boys.
For more info, go to IdolOnFox.com.
This weekend host two great soprano saxophonists performing in Las Vegas.
First up we have smooth jazz soprano sax great Marion Meadows, one night only, at the Santa Fe Station, Saturday February 12th, 7pm. Marion is still riding high off his current release, Players Club. Then it's over to Green Valley Ranch, Sunday February 13th, in the Estancia Ballroom for a special event hosted by radio station KSNE, Sunny 106.5 FM, called "A Chocolate Affair". The event will be held from 3pm-7pm and will feature up and coming contemporary soprano saxophonist, Rocky Gordon, along with his band, KGB. The band is still playing selections from the current Misata release, Echoes.
The legendary "Feels So Good" trumpeter Chuck Mangione will be performing two nights in the Suncoast Hotel showroom, February 25th and 26th.
Tickets are on sale right now for the 12th Annual City Of Lights Jazz Festival, to be held in Las Vegas at Hills Park In Summerlin. Two nights of great entertainment, April 22nd, 7pm-10pm, and also April 23rd, noon to 10pm. Friday will feature more of an R&B '80s tribute with bands like The Dazz Band, Lakeside, SOS Band, and Con-funk-shun. Saturday pours it on with smooth jazz chartbusters George Duke, Kim Waters, Mindi Abair, Down To The Bone, Paul Taylor, and Paul Jackson Jr.
And to kick off the first week of this year we've got chartbusting, smooth jazz guitarist Norman Brown performing at the Suncoast Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, this Friday and Saturday, January 7th and 8th.
She embodies seductive soul with one of the most recognizable voices that ever topped a pop chart. Taylor Dane brings her blend of R & B, pop, and jazz to the Railhead Showroom at the Boulder Station Hotel-Casino, Saturday, January 22th.
The following Saturday, January 29th in the same venue will be the funky smooth sounds of bassist and former NBA star, Wayman Tisdale.
Native Language, the smooth jazz record label with top-rated smooth jazz saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa, has lost two prime artists from its roster during last year with guitarist Steve Oliver moving over to Koch Records for his latest release, 3D, produced by Tom Schumann(Spyro Gyra); and keyboardist Scott Wilkie leaving as well for a new label.
It's evident that it will take a lot more promotion to get artists like keyboardist Theo Bishop off the ground, who happens to co-own Native Language with Joe Sherbanee, a keyboardist as well. Theo's latest release, Newport Nights, has yet to hit stride in the smooth jazz world, despite his fine writing, as well as production assistance from the likes of Brian Bromberg.
They both started the label not too long ago in the '90s, and have struggled to achieve the stature of labels like Peak and Shanachie. In Fact, right now Jeff Kashiwa is the lead horse, and the only runner capable of keeping the indie afloat.
December is relatively light for activity on the Vegas scene.
Guitar legend Lee Ritenour will be performing at the Suncoast Casino for two nights, December 4th and 5th.
The Sixth Annual McJazz Holiday Concert will be held at the Boulder Station Hotel, Wednesday, December 8th, in the Railhead Showroom, beginning at 7pm.
This year's lineup features sax master and former New York session player Jim Spoto and his band.
Notable guitar great/engineer/producer T-Bone Demman, who has worked for many great artists from Christina Aquilara to Michael Crawford, will lead his band "To A T" for the second year in a row.
Recording artist/saxophonist Rocky Gordon, who created the event, will bring his unique sound the stage with his Killer Groove Band.
There will be a soprano saxophone giveaway awarded at the end of the concert courtesy of E.M. Winston Saxophones.
The McJazz Holiday Concert proceeds all go to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
November is kicking off the first weekend with the legendary funk sounds of Tower Of Power at the Suncoast Hotel in Las Vegas, November 6th and 7th.
Then there's a stretch in weeks until November 22nd and 23rd, when the same five hundred seat showroom will host guitar legend, session great, and member of the popular smooth jazz group, Fourplay, the one and only Larry Carlton.
The best selling instrumentalist of all time as a recording artist, Kenny G, brightens up the stage at the Paris Hotel in Vegas for a special two night engagement, November 28th and 29th.
Blues legend, and Rock'n Roll Hall Of Famer B.B. King will be spending three nights in the Wayne Newton Showroom November 28th, 29th, and 30th.
December 8th the Boulder Station Hotel will host the Sixth Annual McJazz Holiday Concert, featuring new up and coming contemporary jazz recording acts, including the founder of the event, saxophonist Rocky Gordon. The event helps to raise donations each year for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The McJazz Holiday Concert is the only sanctioned jazz event by McDonalds.
Chartbusting smooth jazz saxophonist Boney James will be performing at the Boulder Station Hotel in Las Vegas, Friday October 8th, in the Railhead Showroom.
Saturday morning, October 9th, the North Las Vegas Northern Exposure 10K Run welcomes back recording artist / saxophonist Rocky Gordon and his Killer Groove Band for the third year in a row. His performance commences after the race.
The Second Annual Spring Mountain Jazzfest takes place October 16th at the Spring Mountain State Park just outside Las Vegas. This year's line up are saxtress / vocalist Mindi Abair, along with the ever popular guitar and vocal sounds of Joyce Cooling. Rounding up the evening will be the smooth sounds of alto saxophonist Michael Lington.
Due to a recent severe auto accident that injured former Fattburger saxophonist Hollis Gentry, San Diego smooth jazz radio station KIFM will be hosting a benefit on October 10th at Humphrey's from 3pm to 6pm in San Diego. Scheduled to appear, but not confirmed, are jazz greats Nathan East, Charles McPherson, James Moody, and Kirk Whalum.
First off, let me say that after 13 years as the drumming powerhouse for the contemporary jazz group Spyro Gyra, Joel Rosenblatt has left the band to pursue other endeavors. He still can be heard on seven of the eleven tracks of the new CD, The Deep End. He is replaced by newcomer Ludwig Afonso, a 25 year old Cuban drummer, who originates from Havana. Ludwig was fortunate enough to play on one track of the new CD that's out right now. I look forward to hearing more from him as he develops his own "voice" with the group.
The Henderson Pavillion in Henderson, Nevada, hosts another event per the Michelob Concert Series on Tuesday, September 7th, with special guest, the very talented guitarist, Doc Powell.
September 11th, Jazz Under The Stars #3 brings the special edition of Guitars And Saxes to the Spring Mountain State Park, featuring top-line artists of the Smooth Jazz radiowaves. Guitarists Jeff Golub and Mark Antoine, along with saxophonists Euge Groove and Warren Hill kick the event.
Chris Botti has launched a new syndicated radio show called Chill. It's a two-hour program featuring the best of smooth jazz to "chill" and sooth the listening spirits. Check for listings on your local smooth jazz radio station for day and time.
The Las Vegas Mercury Jazz Festival, sponsored by the Clark County Parks And Recreation and the Las Vegas Mercury magazine, comes to life on August 14th at the Clark County Amphitheater in Las Vegas.
The event will feature some of the best smooth jazz artists today, from the veteran sounds of Russ Freeman and The Rippingtons, sax great Kim Waters, to the UK's top export, Down To The Bone. Be sure to check out one of the top rising smooth jazz groups in the last year, Praful, performing as well.
With six CDs and 200 dates per year, the ever popular band, Turning Point, will be kicking up their signature smooth sounds at The LV Mercury Jazz Festival in addition to newcomer Christian jazz group, Sacred Groove, performing as an added feature to this year's event. Tickets are $24.00 in advance, $30.00 the day of event. For more information go to lvmercury.com.
Up and coming events are Jazz Under The Stars #3 edition at Spring Mountain State Park, just out side of Las Vegas, in cool mountain hills. This third installment in the series, Guitars And Saxes features Jeff Golub, Mark Antoine, Warren Hill, and Euge Groove.
The Michelob Smooth Jazz Series, held at the Henderson Pavillion in the adjacent city of Henderson, Nevada, features Doc Powell on September 7th, followed by Steve Oliver the following month on October 5th.
Dave Koz continues his Summer Nights tour this month with a visit to the Sunset Station Amphitheater at the Sunset Station Hotel in Vegas, Friday, July 9th, starting at 8pm. The concert will feature Wayman Tisdale, Jonathon Butler, and Rick Braun.
Trumpeter Greg Adams performs July 6th at the Green Valley Pavilion in Henderson/Las Vegas on July 6th.
David Sanborn, along with the Robert Cray band, just kicked it up at Sunset Station last week on June 25th
Trumpeter Greg Adams brings his nine piece band in on July 6th at the Green Valley Pavilion in Henderson/Las Vegas on July 6th.
The All That Jazz concert coming on Saturday, July 31st at The Aliante Park in North Las Vegas was to have the Steven Lee Group featuring Rocco Barbato playing with saxophonist Rocky Gordon and his band, KGB, but instead will feature blues-jazz guitarist/singer, Billy Ray Charles. Rocky will perform selections from his latest release, Echoes, which features the single, Hip Bop.
Upcoming concerts in Vegas at the Boulder Station Hotel:
Al Jarreau - August 14th
Norman Brown - September 25th
Boney James - October 8th
Dianne Schuur - October 9th
Jazz Under The Stars #2, promoted by Michael Schivo Presents, will feature sax master Richard Elliot, with longtime smooth jazz great, keyboardist Jeff Lorber, on Saturday, July 3rd, at Spring Mountain State Park. The park is located just outside Las Vegas
Dave Koz and Friends heat up July in Vegas at The Sunset Station Hotel. Dave's special guests include Jonathon Butler, Wayman Tisdale, and Rick Braun. The actual date is Friday, July 9th.
On July 31st, The City Of North Las Vegas hosts their annual All About Jazz concert at Aliante Park. The concert will feature two up and coming recording artists, The Steven Lee Group featuring saxman Rocco Barbato; and saxello-saxophonist and composer, Rocky Gordon, and his band, KGB.
Also, don't miss Al Jarreau at The Boulder Station Hotel, August 14th, followed at the same venue by smooth guitar great, Norman Brown, September 25th.
May 30th kicks off Jazz Under The Stars #1 in Las Vegas, an event promoted by Michael Schivo, who just finished a successful festival at the end of April in Vegas with The Eleventh Annual City Of Lights jazz Festival.
Jazz Under The Stars #1 will feature a sax extravaganza of performances by popular saxophone recording artists Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole, and Kim Waters.
And if that's not enought to kick off the "Spring Into Summer" smooth jazz concert series, then try heading out to Vegas' neighboring city of Henderson, Nevada for the Michelob Ultra Smooth Jazz Series for the first Tuesday of every summer month (going into fall) at the Henderson Pavilion.
The lineup is as follows:
June 1st - Chuck Loeb
July 6th - Greg Adams
Aug. 5th - Chieli Minucci
Sept.7th - Doc Powell
Oct. 5th - Steve Oliver