Smooth Jazz News 16th Annniversary Party No. 2

Felicia Pennington, Evette Benjamin & Yvette Perkins celebrating Smooth Jazz News' 16th anniversary at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA (photo by David Hopley)

Felicia Pennington, Evette Benjamin & Yvette Perkins celebrating Smooth Jazz News’ 16th anniversary at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA (photo by David Hopley)

One of my favorite aspects of this year’s Smooth Jazz News anniversary brunch and jam session was our first-time guests. The people who sit in our reserved section at Spaghettini in Seal Beach are those who advertised with us the prior year. Many of them I had previously communicated with only by phone and through email. So, meeting them in person and sharing this special day was a whole lot of fun!

Cheryl Barnes & her husband Phil Cabasso sit in with the Derek Bordeaux Band at Smooth Jazz News' 16th Anniversary brunch party & jam session (photo by David Hopley)

Cheryl Barnes (right) and her husband Phil Cabasso (left) sit in with the Derek Bordeaux Band at Smooth Jazz News’ 16th Anniversary brunch party & jam session (photo by David Hopley)

It’s also quite thrilling for me to introduce artists to concert and festival promoters. Making a connection in this casual setting gives each of them a chance to get to know each other on a personal basis. It’s even more exciting when I discover that an artist got booked by a promoter they met during one of our parties. Saxophonist Elan Trotman met Kimberly Benoit of Rainbow Promotions at our event last year, and now he’s on the schedule for her Long Beach Jazz Festival in August.

Al Williams (drummer & Rainbow Promotions founder) with guitarist Freddie Fox at Spaghettini (photo by David Hopley)

Al Williams (drummer & Rainbow Promotions founder) with guitarist Freddie Fox at Spaghettini (photo by David Hopley)

And, thanks to the generosity of Cary Hardwick and Laurie Sisneros (co-owners of Spaghettini), we got a couple of slots of airtime during 94.7 The WAVE’s live broadcasts at both brunches. During the first of two Sunday celebrations on Jan. 24, Trotman got a chance to chat about his Barbados Jazz Excursion (http://barbadosjazzexcursion.com/) in October with Pat Prescott (The WAVE’s weekday morning host).

Warren Hill, Gregg Karukas and 94.7 The WAVE weekday afternoon host broadcasting live from Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA (photo by David Hopley)

Warren Hill, Gregg Karukas and 94.7 The WAVE weekday afternoon host broadcasting live from Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA (photo by David Hopley)

At our next brunch party on Feb. 21, saxophonist Warren Hill and keyboardist/composer Gregg Karukas got on the mic with Deborah Howell (The WAVE’s weekday afternoon drive host). Hill gushed about his 15-year-old daughter, Olivia Rox, and her journey as a contestant on the final season of “American Idol.” He also plugged his Cancun Jazz Festival, scheduled for Labor Day weekend at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya (www.cancunjazz.com).

Gregg Karukas & Craig Collier celebrating Smooth Jazz News' 16th anniversary at Spaghettini (photo by David Hopley)

Gregg Karukas & Craig Collier celebrating Smooth Jazz News’ 16th anniversary at Spaghettini (photo by David Hopley)

Karukas discussed the Divine Jazz Cruise, an intimate, all-inclusive luxury sailing with Michael Paulo, Ray Parker Jr. and Kiki Ebsen, scheduled for May 6-11. The five-day excursion aboard the Crystal Serenity cruises from San Francisco to Vancouver, Canada, with ports of call at Astoria, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Victoria, British Columbia (www.divinejazzcruise.com).

Jeff & Lynn Rudin of Divine Jazz Cruise (photo by David Hopley)

Jeff & Lynn Rudin of Divine Jazz Cruise (photo by David Hopley)

And, for the first time, we got to hang out with Lynn and Jeff Rudin, producers of the Divine Jazz Cruise, and vocalist Cheryl Barnes with her piano-playing husband Phil Cabasso. They got to meet and mingle with our regulars such as Al and Sandy Williams (Rainbow Promotions) and Evette Benjamin (City of Gardena, producers of the Gardena Jazz Festival).

Gregg Karukas sitting in with Freddie Fox (center) and Derek Bordeaux (right) during Smooth Jazz News' 16th Anniversary Brunch celebration at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA (photo by David Hopley)

Gregg Karukas sitting in with Freddie Fox (center) and Derek Bordeaux (right) during Smooth Jazz News’ 16th Anniversary Brunch celebration at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA (photo by David Hopley)

Another first was that DW3 wasn’t able to perform at our second brunch because they were booked out of the country on several jazz-themed cruises. So, the Derek Bordeaux Band was on stage, and joined by some of our musical guests, including Karukas, Barnes and Cabasso.

Joanne & Herb Hein dancing at Smooth Jazz News' 16th anniversary brunch & jam session (photo by David Hopley)

Joanne & Herb Hein dancing at Smooth Jazz News’ 16th anniversary brunch & jam session (photo by David Hopley)

In this fast-paced world we spin around in where email and social media platforms have overtaken the truly personal form of communication, face-to-face engagement without the vice of a mobile device, it is refreshing to enjoy human connection with friends (old and new), delicious food, champagne, craft cocktails and uplifting music. We can’t wait to do it again next year!

Crowd enjoying music & brunch in Spaghettini's lounge, which sold out during Smooth Jazz News' 16th anniversary brunch (photo by David Hopley)

Crowd enjoying music & brunch in Spaghettini’s lounge, which sold out during Smooth Jazz News’ 16th anniversary brunch (photo by David Hopley)

Thank you all for allowing us at Smooth Jazz News to serve this wonderful community of fans, artists, musicians, promoters, venues and record labels for more than 16 years!

By Melanie Maxwell

Buttermilk-fried chicken with biscuit & gravy and chicken and waffles are two popular menu items that are served at Spaghettini's brunch in addition to their buffet! (photo by David Hopley)

Buttermilk-fried chicken with biscuit & gravy and chicken and waffles are two popular menu items that are served at Spaghettini’s brunch in addition to their buffet! (photo by David Hopley)

For details on the next Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch Party & Jam Session, scheduled for Jan. 22 and another date in 2017, visit this blog often and check out the magazine for further announcements. For more information on Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, located at 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, visit www.spaghettinisb.com or call 562-596-2199.

Sliced sirloin is an additional menu item served during Spaghettini's Legendary Champagne Jazz Brunch in Seal Beach, CA (photo by David Hopley)

Sliced sirloin is an additional menu item served during Spaghettini’s Legendary Champagne Jazz Brunch in Seal Beach, CA (photo by David Hopley)

Vocalist Cheryl Barnes with her music director-keyboardist husband Phil Cabasso (photo by David Hopley)

Vocalist Cheryl Barnes with her music director-keyboardist husband Phil Cabasso (photo by David Hopley)

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