Author Archives: Melanie

Happy 16th Anniversary to us!

Jazz fans enjoying DW3 & the Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch at Spaghettini (photo by David Hopley)

Jazz fans enjoying DW3 & the Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch at Spaghettini on Jan. 24, 2016 (photo by David Hopley)

More than a decade ago, we began hosting a brunch party for our advertisers each December at Spaghettini Italian Grill & Jazz Club in Seal Beach California. Back then, we reserved a private dining room to celebrate the holidays and to thank all of the people who had advertised with us throughout the year. We also invited our staff, volunteers and a couple of artists and musicians. One year, Phil Perry sang as Ray Fuller accompanied him on guitar, all unplugged, and all within the intimate “Wine Cellar Room” in the back of the restaurant.

Phil Perry & Ray Fuller serenade the Smooth Jazz News crew during the 5th Anniversary Brunch Party at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA (photo by David Hopley)

Phil Perry & Ray Fuller serenade the Smooth Jazz News crew during the 5th Anniversary Brunch Party in 2004 at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA (photo by David Hopley)

As the popularity of the magazine grew, thanks to the support of our advertisers and loyal readers, so did attendance at our anniversary parties. So, we moved our the festivities into the performance lounge. There, we reserved 25- to 30 seats, leaving several tables and bar stools available for the general public to reserve. Now, everyone could celebrate with us and also enjoy performances by our special musical guests, which have included Dave Koz, Peter White, Rick Braun, Brian Culbertson, Richard Elliot, Euge Groove, Mindi Abair, Paul Taylor, Keiko Matsui, Gregg Karukas, Steve Oliver & more.

94.7 The WAVE's Pat Prescott interviews Barbados-born saxophonist Elan Trotman during a live broadcast during the Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session at Spaghettini (photo by David Hopley)

94.7 The WAVE’s Pat Prescott interviews Barbados-born saxophonist Elan Trotman during a live broadcast during the Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session at Spaghettini (photo by David Hopley)

Smooth Jazz News party hostess Brenda Lavery Madruga (photo by David Hopley)

Smooth Jazz News party hostess Brenda Lavery Madruga (photo by David Hopley)

Melanie Eder and Smooth Jazz News graphic designer Gina Mancini-Giblin (photo by David Hopley)

Melanie Eder and Smooth Jazz News graphic designer Gina Mancini-Giblin (photo by David Hopley)

We soon outgrew that space, so we started hosting two brunch parties on separate Sundays. And, that’s what we continue to do today. We celebrated the 16th year of publishing Smooth Jazz News on Sunday, Jan. 24, at Spaghettini Seal Beach, and I’m posting photos from that here.

Gail Jhonson & Marqueal Jordan sitting in with DW3 during the Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session (photo by David Hopley)

Gail Jhonson & Marqueal Jordan sitting in with DW3 during the Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session (photo by David Hopley)

Gail Jhonson (center) with Kathy & Willie Payne of Payne Pest Management (photo by David Hopley)

Gail Jhonson (center) with Kathy & Willie Payne of Payne Pest Management (photo by David Hopley)

We’re hosting our second brunch party on Feb. 21. And, I hope you can celebrate with us. Vocalist Derek Bordeaux will performing in the lounge, and our some of our guest artists will sit in with the band. GRAMMY-winning keyboardist Gregg Karukas will be among then.

Reserve your table now for Smooth Jazz News' 16th Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 21 at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA

Reserve your table now for Smooth Jazz News’ 16th Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 21 at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA (photo by David Hopley)

Smooth Jazz News’ 16th Anniversary Brunch Party & Jam Session is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 21, 11am, at Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California. For reservations and information, call 562-596-2199 or visit www.spaghettinisb.com.

Elan Trotman jams with DW3 at Spaghettini during the Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session (photo by David Hopley)

Elan Trotman jams with DW3 at Spaghettini during the Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session (photo by David Hopley)

Las Vegas-based saxophonist (and Coolio manager) Jarel "Jarez" Posey sits in with DW3 at Spaghettini (photo by David Hopley)

Las Vegas-based saxophonist (and Coolio manager) Jarel “Jarez” Posey sits in with DW3 at Spaghettini (photo by David Hopley)

Tracy Carter sings his heart out while Marqueal Jordan sits in with DW3 at Spaghettini (photo by David Hopley)

Tracy Carter sings his heart out while Marqueal Jordan sits in with DW3 at Spaghettini (photo by David Hopley)

Saxophonist Rick Parma & Canadian trumpeter Gabriel Hasselbach (photo by David Hopley)

Saxophonist Rick Parma & Canadian trumpeter Gabriel Hasselbach (photo by David Hopley)

Gabriel Hasselbach, Jeff Villaluna, Rob Tardik, Jarez "Jarel" Posey Eric Mondragon, Damon Reel, Gail Jhonson, Pat Prescott, Marqueal Jordan, Kathy Payne, Billy Mondragon, Charles Streeter, Rick Parma & Willie Payne (Photo by David Hopley)

Gabriel Hasselbach, Jeff Villaluna, Rob Tardik, Jarez “Jarel” Posey Eric Mondragon, Damon Reel, Gail Jhonson, Pat Prescott, Marqueal Jordan, Kathy Payne, Billy Mondragon, Charles Streeter, Rick Parma & Willie Payne (Photo by David Hopley)

Brunch buffet at Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment in Seal Beach, California (photo by David Hopley)

Brunch buffet at Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment in Seal Beach, California (photo by David Hopley)

Gift baskets raffled off by 94.7 The WAVE during Sunday brunch at Spaghettini (photo by David Hopley)

Gift baskets raffled off by 94.7 The WAVE during Sunday brunch at Spaghettini (photo by David Hopley)

Who’s coming to our 16th Anniversary Brunch at Spaghettini?

Smooth Jazz News' 15th Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session at Spaghettini Seal Beach in 2015 (Photo by David Hopley)

Smooth Jazz News’ 15th Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session at Spaghettini Seal Beach in 2015 (Photo by David Hopley)

Are you wondering who the surprise guest artists will be at our 16th Annual Anniversary Sunday Jazz Brunch & Jam Sessions at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA?

Special guests at the 2015 Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session: Charlotte White, Robin Pao, Keiko Matsui, Art Good, Craig Collier, Peter White, Al & Sandy Williams (photo by David Hopley)

Special guests at the 2015 Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session: Charlotte White, Robin Pao, Keiko Matsui, Art Good, Craig Collier, Peter White, Al & Sandy Williams (photo by David Hopley)

Many of their names can’t be revealed until they arrive on Jan. 24 and Feb. 21.

DamonReel, Euge Groove, Art Good, Keiko Matsui, Al Williams, Peter White, Craig Collier, Billy Mondragon & Eric Mondragon on the patio of Spaghettini Seal Beach during the 2015 Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session (photo by David Hopley)

DamonReel, Euge Groove, Art Good, Keiko Matsui, Al Williams, Peter White, Craig Collier, Billy Mondragon & Eric Mondragon on the patio of Spaghettini Seal Beach during the 2015 Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session (photo by David Hopley)

However, we can announce that Barbados-born saxophonist Elan Trotman and Canadian trumpeter Gabriel Mark Hasselbach are scheduled to join the jam session.

Canadian-based trumpeter Gabriel Mark Hasselbach

Canadian-based trumpeter Gabriel Mark Hasselbach

Elan Trotman joining the jam session during the 2015 Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch at Spaghettini Seal Beach (photo by David Hopley)

Elan Trotman joining the jam session during the 2015 Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch at Spaghettini Seal Beach (photo by David Hopley)

We will also post hints and more announcements on this blog throughout the week.

What we can say, however, is that there will be the same mouth-watering cuisine with both a buffet and order-off-the-menu entree (including Parmesan-crusted Chilean sea bass, Louisiana catfish, buttermilk fried chicken, waffles and wings, salmon picatta, traditional breakfast favorites and more)! Our favorite party band, DW3, will be onstage filling the lounge and restaurant with the sounds of Old School R&B on Jan. 24, and vocalist Derek Bordeaux and his group will entertain us on Feb. 21.

Sunday Brunch Buffet at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA (photo by David Hopley)

Sunday Brunch Buffet at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA (photo by David Hopley)

We hope you can celebrate with us at Spaghettini on Sunday, Jan. 24 or Feb. 21! And, because the NAMM Show is happening Jan. 21-24 at the nearby Anaheim Convention Center, there will be some other fun shows happening at Spaghettini throughout that weekend.

Some of the guest artists who attended the 2015 Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session at Spaghettini Seal Beach (photo by David Hopley)

Some of the guest artists who attended the 2015 Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session at Spaghettini Seal Beach (photo by Ambrosevents.com)

For reservations to the Smooth Jazz News 16th Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session at Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment, at 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California, please call 562-596-2199, or visit www.spaghettinisb.com for more information. To access information about Smooth Jazz News the magazine, visit www.smoothjazznews.com.

 

25 years of Dave Koz!

Dave Koz enjoying a cigar with his friend, TV writer, producer and director Norman Lear

Dave Koz enjoying a cigar with his friend, TV writer, producer and director Norman Lear

There were too many quotes and too little print space to include all of them in our Dave Koz feature story in Smooth Jazz News this month. In celebration of his 25th anniversary as a recording artist, here are the quotes from the beloved saxophonist’s friends and family in their entirety, and a few that weren’t printed in the current issue. Please enjoy reading them and perusing vintage Dave Koz photos, and feel free to add your own quote or comment on this post.

Hats off! Well done! Say all…

Dave Koz, alongside Barry Manilow and Christopher Gardner, receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (photo by Pat Benter)

Dave Koz, alongside Barry Manilow and Christopher Gardner, receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (photo by Pat Benter)

“Congratulations Dave on 25 great musical years! Dave Koz is one of our great musicians, a great human being and a true friend. Love you, Dave!” –– Barry Manilow

Dave Koz and his family dining at Spaghettini & the Dave Koz Lounge in Beverly Hills, California

Dave Koz and his family dining at Spaghettini & the Dave Koz Lounge in Beverly Hills, California

“Uncle Dave made us feel so special. He used to make it a point to play a private concert for my elementary school classes and let me sit on the stage. It was never a question of being too busy for his family.

We would go to his concerts and dance for the finale or get a shout-out from the stage. Being able to really see his world of music made us fall in love with jazz.” –– Taylor Wilson, Dave Koz’s 23-year-old niece (and daughter of Dave’s sister, Roberta Koz Wilson)

Dave Koz mountain biking in Marin County, California

Dave Koz mountain biking in Marin County, California

“When you have an uncle who has exemplified what it means to be truly present, that’s something. What a special treat it’s been to be Dave’s niece. Congratulations to a man who has given all of himself to his craft and those he surrounds himself with. He deserves so much to be appreciated-I know I certainly appreciate him!” –– Jenna Wilson, Dave Koz’s 20-year-old niece (and daughter of Dave’s sister, Roberta Koz Wilson)

Dave Koz and his prom date, Lisa

Dave Koz and his prom date, Lisa

“Dave is unlike any person I’ve ever met. He is always kind, very generous and considerate, always smiling and VERY funny…I love Dave!

I’m inspired by his consistent positive outlook on life. And, not to mention what a fantastic musician he is! I look up to him a great amount. I remember when Isabella and me had a sleepover with Dave when we were maybe about 8 and 11, and we went on the roof to swim in his COLOR-CHANGING Jacuzzi (we were fascinated by this), which sat atop a luxurious bed of plastic grass. We finished off the night by watching ‘Tootsie.’ It was a very sweet night:). There is a very special place in my heart for Dave!

P.S. Oh and btw, yes, being a fantastic musician DOES run in the family; just a little self-promo here: check out my band aquacult on SoundCloud, soundcloud.com/aquacult, Instagram @aquacultband and Facebook aquacult ;))))))” –– Jordan Koz, Dave’s 16-year-old niece (and daughter of Dave’s brother, Jeff Koz)

Dave Koz performing with (the late) Jeff Golub, Kirk Whalum & Marcus Miller at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Jazz Festival

Dave Koz performing with (the late) Jeff Golub, Kirk Whalum & Marcus Miller at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Jazz Festival

“Dave is such a special part of my life, and though I don’t get to see him much, when I do it is so special and I always have an amazing time. One of my favorite memories with him was the first time I saw him perform. I was so proud of him, and excited about his success! I’m so so proud of him every day, and I’m so lucky to have him in my life. Love you Dave!” –– Isabella Koz, Dave’s 13-year-old niece (and daughter of Dave’s brother, Jeff Koz)

 

Dave Koz, Wink Martindale and Christopher Gardner greet VIPs at AARP's Life@50+ Expo in Los Angeles (photo by David Hopley)

Dave Koz, Wink Martindale and Christopher Gardner greet VIPs at AARP’s Life@50+ Expo in Los Angeles (photo by David Hopley)

“Dave’s my brother from another mother. That dude is something. As a young guy, my first ambition in life was to be a Miles Davis. I played trumpet for nine years. But, then you get to see someone like Dave who has the talent, and has taken it to the top for 25 years.

I just got back from Tokyo, and they were playing ‘Honey Dipped’ in the airport!

My favorite Dave Koz moment was last year when I saw him on tour with Barry Manilow. Dave was moving all around, doing his thing with the tenor saxophone. Then he dunks it, the strap broke, it bounced back in his hands and he kept playing. He had to send that saxophone to ICU, but he kept playing.” –– Christopher Gardner, New York Times best-selling author (“The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be”), international speaker and co-producer of the Maya Angelou documentary film in production

 

“Dave should be an ambassador. In fact, he already is an ambassador to the music industry in many peoples’ eyes. Not only is he one of the nicest guys in the business, he’s also one of the most persuasive. Whenever Dave calls, it’s hard to say no. After many years of doing the Dave Koz and Friends Christmas tour, followed up by my own Christmas tour for the next few years, Dave called me to reunite with him and the original members of his holiday tour. This meant that I would have to give up my own Christmas tour for that year. But, I found myself saying, ‘Sure, Dave, I would love to do that,’ without even thinking about it. You just cannot say no to Dave!

He’s a hell of a guy, and I’m proud to have been associated with him over all these years. By the time this goes to press we will have played some shows together in London. One thing that I love to do to Dave onstage in the U.K. is to tease him about not knowing British music. I challenged him with this last year when we were appearing together in London, and he immediately countered by playing ‘Got to Get You into My Life,’ a song he recorded on his Summer Horns album, but written by Lennon/McCartney and originally recorded by The Beatles. Okay, Dave, you got me there.

Congrats on a great career in music! I’ll see you soon!” –– Peter White, guitarist (who is also celebrating 25 years as a solo recording artist)

Cary Hardwick, Dave Koz & Laurie Sisneros giving a Greek cooking demo at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, California (photo by David Hopley)

Cary Hardwick, Dave Koz & Laurie Sisneros giving a Greek cooking demo at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, California (photo by David Hopley)

“There’s a reason Dave Koz has had such a long successful career. He’s a great player and artist, but he’s an even better human being. I remember the first year I played the San Diego Gaslamp festival with my band. It was my birthday, and Dave walked out on stage with a huge bouquet of flowers and played “Happy Birthday” to me. He shows everyone around him so much love. It has to come back to him.

Congratulations, Dave, on 25 amazing years. You’re an inspiration.” –– Mindi Abair, GRAMMY-nominated saxophonist

Mindi Abair & Dave Koz performing at the 2012 KSBR Birthday Bash (Photo by David Hopley)

Mindi Abair & Dave Koz performing at the 2012 KSBR Birthday Bash (Photo by David Hopley)

“Working with Dave on Summer Horns was one of the most wonderful collaborative projects I’ve ever been involved with. Dave and I have known and worked with each other for decades, but this was a truly special endeavor both musically and personally. We all brought our diverse individual passions to the tour. Mine is food. I think I drove Dave and the rest of the gang crazy by pointing out my favorite food hang at every stop. ‘Hey! This town has great BBQ” or “Hey, lets stop at this great Thai place down the street!’

The fact is, we ate together, traveled together, laughed together and made music together. The bottom line is that aside from being a great musician and a great performer, Dave is a great friend, and I cherish that friendship very much.

Congrats Buddy!” –– Richard Elliot, GRAMMY-nominated saxophonist

Dave Koz jammin' with actor John Stamos, Peter White and Gregg Karukas at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, California (photo by David Hopley)

Dave Koz jammin’ with actor John Stamos, Peter White and Gregg Karukas at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, California (photo by David Hopley)

“I just finished touring with Dave and Kenny Lattimore this summer, so I have way too many great memories to share. But if I had to narrow it down, I would say this: Dave is family! I love him as I love my own brother, and we have been there for each other many, many times.

This past summer I really enjoyed every single moment. Many nights I caught myself smiling during our shows, just enjoying the company of a true friend, and being fortunate enough to share the stage with him. I think we were both in a great place, ready to just appreciate the joy of this amazing life we have been given and being able to share it!

Dave is incredibly thoughtful, kind and extremely talented. I have learned a lot from him over the years, and I am looking forward to many, many more memories to be made together in the years to come!

I am so thrilled that Dave was crazy enough to ask me to produce a track for his 25th Anniversary CD ‘Collaborations,’ and humbled that ‘Higher and Higher’ was chosen as the first single from the project.

Here’s wishing you 25 more glorious years, Dave! Love you my brother.” –– Rick Braun, GRAMMY-nominated trumpeter

“I have known Dave Koz for almost 20 years. As meticulous as he is about making music, he is even more so regarding his generosity and compassion to those close to him. It’s an honor to congratulate my dear brother for a quarter century in this business, but even more of an honor to call him my friend.” –– Brian Simpson, keyboardist and Dave Koz Christmas tour co-musical director

 

Candy Dulfer, Dave Koz and Jonathan Butler during a Dave Koz Christmas tour with Randy Jacobs in background (photo by Wesley Kridle)

Candy Dulfer, Dave Koz and Jonathan Butler during a Dave Koz Christmas tour with Randy Jacobs in background (photo by Wesley Kridle)

“My first contact with Dave was in 1996 when he called to ask me to join his band. I had been doing sessions for his brother Jeff, and I had just signed my band, the Boneshakers, to Virgin, so I couldn’t commit. I was re-introduced to Dave in 2003 by [bassist] André Berry at a festival in San Diego, and I later joined him onstage on one of the first cruises (a testing of the waters so to speak for his own upcoming cruise).

In 2006, I was asked to sub for Dave’s longtime guitarist, Tony Maiden, for a show, and then again on Dave’s official cruise. In 2007, Tony rejoined his former band Rufus, and that’s when I got the call from Dave’s then musical director, Brian Simpson, to officially join the band. Eight years later I am still doing it but, as musical director. I will be sharing my musical director duties with Brian on Dave’s Christmas tour this year. He was Dave’s MD for a decade, and came back last year, and so we do it together which feels right and makes it fun. He’s a total pro.

I have a few special memories with Dave, but the one that sticks out happened recently when we went to New York for the UN [United Nations] Summit post-party to play as opener per se for the President. Not only did we get to play and have a great time but I also got to meet and shake hands with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. How cool is that?” –– Randy Jacobs, guitarist and Dave Koz Christmas tour co-musical director

Low-ResCover

By Melanie Maxwell

To read the entire story online, or to subscribe to Smooth Jazz News, visit www.smoothjazznews.com.

Richard Elliot Halloween Bash!

Camella and Richard Elliot dancing at their Halloween Bash (Photo: David Hopley)

Camella and Richard Elliot dancing at their Halloween Bash (Photo: David Hopley)

Richard Elliot and his wife, Camella, hosted a Halloween Bash at their Escondido home, which was decorated fabulously for this spooky occasion. DW3, with special guest Gail Jhonson, was the musical entertainment. Check out these photos taken by David Hopley…

Elliot's party signage (Photo: David Hopley)

Elliot’s party signage (Photo: David Hopley)

Camella and Richard Elliot host a Halloween Bash at their home in Escondido, California (photo by David Hopley)

Camella and Richard Elliot host a Halloween Bash at their home in Escondido, California (photo by David Hopley)

Elliot's Halloween garden signage (Photo: David Hopley)

Elliot’s Halloween garden signage (Photo: David Hopley)

Camella Elliot (center) with her daughters, Candice (left) & Mikayla (right) (Photo: David Hopley)

Camella Elliot (center) with her daughters, Candice (left) & Mikayla (right)
(Photo: David Hopley)

Ghost-driven pumpkin ride greets visitors at Camella & Richard Elliot's Halloween Bash (Photo: David Hopley)

Ghost-driven pumpkin ride greets visitors at Camella & Richard Elliot’s Halloween Bash (Photo: David Hopley)

Front door of the Elliot compound in Escondido, California (Photo: David Hopley)

Front door of the Elliot compound in Escondido, California (Photo: David Hopley)

Spooky dinner guests at the Elliot home (Photo: David Hopley)

Spooky dinner guests at the Elliot home (Photo: David Hopley)

Skeletons, pumpkins, black cat (Photo:David Hopley)

Skeletons, pumpkins, black cat (Photo:David Hopley)

Ghostly skeleton visiting the Elliot compound (Photo: David Hopley)

Ghostly skeleton visiting the Elliot compound (Photo: David Hopley)

Skeleton in chains guarding the Elliot's vast vineyards (Photo: David Hopley)

Skeleton in chains guarding the Elliot’s vast vineyards (Photo: David Hopley)

Skeleton ghoul in the Elliot's pool (Photo: David Hopley)

Skeleton ghoul in the Elliot’s pool (Photo: David Hopley)

Halloween scarecrow guarding the Elliot's vineyards (Photo: David Hopley)

Halloween scarecrow guarding the Elliot’s vineyards (Photo: David Hopley)

Guitar-playing monster serenading a pumpkin etched with Richard Elliot's face (Photo: David Hopley)

Guitar-playing monster serenading a pumpkin etched with Richard Elliot’s face (Photo: David Hopley)

Harmonica-playing, cigar-smoking, beer drinking skeleton (Photo: David Hopley)

Harmonica-playing, cigar-smoking, beer drinking skeleton (Photo: David Hopley)

Photo: David Hopley

Photo: David Hopley

Zombie (Photo: David Hopley)

Zombie (Photo: David Hopley)

Scarecrow ghost guarding the Elliot's vineyards (Photo: David Hopley)

Scarecrow ghost guarding the Elliot’s vineyards (Photo: David Hopley)

Frankenstein (Photo: David Hopley)

Frankenstein (Photo: David Hopley)

Kelly Cole and Lori Stoll enjoying the Elliot's Halloween Bash (Photo: David Hopley)

Kelly Cole and Lori Stoll enjoying the Elliot’s Halloween Bash (Photo: David Hopley)

Kelly Cole & Lori Stoll belly up to the bar at the Elliot's Halloween Bash (Photo: David Hopley)

Kelly Cole & Lori Stoll belly up to the bar at the Elliot’s Halloween Bash (Photo: David Hopley)

Halloween party, poolside at the Elliot Compound in Escondido, California (Photo: David Hopley)

Halloween party, poolside at the Elliot Compound in Escondido, California (Photo: David Hopley)

Richard Elliot, DW3 & clown onstage at the Elliot's Halloween Bash (Photo: David Hopley)

Richard Elliot, DW3 & clown onstage at the Elliot’s Halloween Bash (Photo: David Hopley)

Halloween partygoers keep the bartender very busy (Photo: David Hopley)

Halloween partygoers keep the bartender very busy (Photo: David Hopley)

Candice Elliot (center) with party guests (Photo: David Hopley)

Candice Elliot (center) with party guests (Photo: David Hopley)

I usually catch myself mid-sentence when telling Camella Elliot about a particularly busy week, then I decide to switch subjects. That’s when I think of all the things she can accomplish in a typical day with five kids, pet pigs (and new piglets), a horse, goats, alpacas, dogs, newly planted vineyards, barns galore, a busy husband, AND she can fit in throwing a party like this one for Halloween with all of the amazing, intricate decor. #Admiration! By: Melanie Maxwell

Jacobs presents Michelle Coltrane & other extraordinary concerts

Michelle Coltrane is scheduled to perform at Jacobs Presents in San Diego on Oct. 2

Michelle Coltrane is scheduled to perform at Jacobs Presents in San Diego on Oct. 2

Experience Michelle Coltrane and Other Extraordinary Concerts and Performances During the Jacobs Presents 2015–2016 Season

As part of its commitment to creating a thriving Arts and Culture district in Southeastern San Diego’s Diamond Neighborhoods, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation is proud to announce their 2015-2016 Jacobs Presents season.

From cultural celebrations to performances by hit jazz artists to theater and concerts from renowned organizations including the The Old Globe and San Diego Symphony Orchestra, Jacobs Presents has something for everyone!

Join us on Friday, October 2, for An Evening of Jazz with Michelle Coltrane. The daughter of jazz legend John Coltrane makes a special visit to the Jacobs Center with acclaimed jazz guitarist Shea Walsh and opening act, Besos de Coco.

Hailed as transcendent by the Los Angeles Times, Michelle Coltrane is quickly becoming a stand out on the jazz scene. Enjoy signature cocktails and tapas as the sultry sounds of jazz fill the air in a unique setting only a few minutes from Downtown San Diego.

Friday, October 2

Joe & Vi Jacobs Center, Celebration Hall

404 Euclid Avenue

San Diego, CA 92114

6:30 – 7 pm Besos de Coco

7:30 – 9 pm – Michelle Coltrane with Shea Walsh

Purchase Your Tickets Today!

$35 – General Admission (open seating)

$55 – VIP seats (includes table service and 1 signature cocktail)

$250 – VIP table (4 seats, includes table service, 4 signature cocktails, and 4 tapas)

Tickets can be purchased online at https://jacobspresentsmichellecoltrane.eventbrite.com or at the door.

Sponsored post by Liz Faris

 

 

 

Festival of Arts with Jazz, Wine & Chocolate!

Festival of Arts ice sculpture

Festival of Arts ice sculpture

I was invited to the Festival of Arts VIP Night on July 3. Hanging out in Laguna Beach in the summer is a wonderful pastime, but enjoying the artful festivities was even more of an incentive to make the 70-mile drive from San Diego the day before 4th of July. This event offered patrons the chance to preview (and purchase) the works of 140 of Orange County’s most renowned artists before it opens to the public on July 8. And, it gave me and other professional media early entrance into the show to interview artists and peruse their work. We were also included in the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facade entrance before the doors opened to this highly acclaimed juried fine art show.

New facade entrance at Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach, California

New facade entrance at Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach, California

Teri Starkweather's Tea Party Posies watercolor (www.teristarkweather.com)

Teri Starkweather’s “Tea Party Posies” watercolor (www.teristarkweather.com)

"Transparent Memories" watercolor by Teri Starkweather

“Transparent Memories” watercolor by Teri Starkweather

The courtyard was packed with multi-generational art enthusiasts, most of which were dressed in white (Did I miss that memo?). The light canvas of the crowd helped highlight the beautiful exhibits displaying colorful paintings, glass creations, sculptures, mixed media, sparkling jewelry and other fine art that filled the perimeter. The smooth sounds of Blake Aaron’s band added to the coolness of the evening.

Molly Hutchings watercolors (www.mollyart.com)

Molly Hutchings watercolors (www.mollyart.com)

Molly Hutchings watercolors (www.mollyart.com)

Molly Hutchings watercolors (www.mollyart.com)

Molly Hutchings watercolors (www.mollyart.com)

Molly Hutchings watercolors (www.mollyart.com)

During the VIP-hour, staff from Colette’s Catering & Events served tray-passed appetizers such as chilled chicken spring rolls with honey-soy drizzle, ahi poke with wasabi in a cone, mini pita chips with fresh hummus, spring rice salad with grilled shrimp, English sweet pea crostini, mini fruit tarts, hand-made cannoli and other treats. The dinner service, which began at 7 p.m., included a grains & greens bar that featured lentils, brown rice and quinoa, as well as a build-your-own salad bowl with dozens of fresh ingredients. The slider station offered a choice of tri-tip with caramelized onions and garlic aioli, Kailua pulled-pork with hoisin Dijon barbecue sauce, and chicken Parmesan with marinara and mozzarella. For dessert, they served chocolate chip and snickerdoodle cookies, freshly baked onsite.

Art glass "Glassics" & jewelry by Sherry Salito-Forsen (www.glassicsart.com)

Art glass “Glassics” & jewelry by Sherry Salito-Forsen (www.glassicsart.com)

Sherry Salito-Forsen's glass art "Glassics"(www.glassicsart.com)

Sherry Salito-Forsen’s glass art “Glassics”(www.glassicsart.com)

Brian Giberson totem art (www.Indigolights.com)

Brian Giberson totem art (www.Indigolights.com)

Now in its 83rd year, this breathtaking showcase for artists and art lovers also offers demonstrations, art workshops, daily art tours, special events, an onsite restaurant, the Pageant of the Masters (July 8-Aug. 31) and more. Of special interest to jazz fans are Art, Jazz, Wine and Chocolate ($15 with purchase of Festival of Arts admission) on select Thursdays; and Jazz on the Green (free admission with purchase of Festival of Arts ticket) twice monthly on Saturdays. Here is the schedule:

Art, Jazz, Wine and Chocolate lineup:

Various Thursdays, July 9-Aug. 27, 5:30 p.m.

XAN Confections chocolate paired with wine at the Festival of Arts Art, Jazz, Wine and Chocolate series in Laguna Beach, California

XAN Confections chocolate paired with wine at the Festival of Arts Art, Jazz, Wine and Chocolate series in Laguna Beach, California

Steve Oliver

Steve Oliver is scheduled to perform on July 9

July 9: Steve Oliver

July 16: Billy Valentine

July 23: Carol Bach y Rita

July 30: Pretzel Logic

Aug. 6: Bill Cantos

Gregg Karukas (photo by Sherry Barnett)

Gregg Karukas is scheduled to perform on Aug. 13 (photo by Sherry Barnett)

Aug. 13: Gregg Karukas

Aug. 20: Brian Bromberg

Aug. 27: Terry Wollman

Concerts on the Green lineup:

Various Saturdays, July 11-Aug. 22, 1 p.m.

July 11: The Stray Cats’ Lee Rocker

July 25: Ellis Hall presents Ray, Motown & Beyond

Aug. 8: Chieli Minucci and Special EFX with special guest Marion Meadows

Aug. 22: Russell Ferrante Trio with special guest Bob Mintzer

Festival of Arts VIP/Media Party 2015

Festival of Arts VIP/Media Party 2015

Festival of Arts––located at 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, California––is open daily, 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., July 5 through Aug. 31.

General admission is $7 Monday-Friday, $10 on Saturday and Sunday. Special discounts apply to students and seniors; free admission for military, Laguna Beach residents and children 12 and under. And, with the new Passport to the Arts, a special promotion funded in part by Bank of America, $23 gets you unlimited admission all summer long to Festival of Arts (excluding Pageant of the Masters), the Sawdust Art Festival and Art-A-Fair.  

Pageant of the Masters is held nightly at 8:30, July 8-Aug. 31.

For tickets and information on all of the events, visit www.foapom.com or call 800-487-3378.

For more coverage on Festival of Arts, Pageant of the Masters and the festival’s summer concerts, check out the current issue of Smooth Jazz News (pages 8-9; and 12) in print or online at www.smoothjazznews.com.

By: Melanie Maxwell

Festival of Arts entrance in Laguna Beach, California

Festival of Arts entrance in Laguna Beach, California

Sally Thornton is laid to rest today

SALLY BULLARD THORNTON (June 7, 1934-June 12, 2015)

Sally Thornton introducing one of hundreds of bands that have performed at the Thornton Winery Champagne Jazz Series in Temecula, California (photo by Pat Benter)

Sally Thornton introducing one of hundreds of bands that have performed at Thornton Winery’S Champagne Jazz Series in Temecula, California (photo by Pat Benter)

Sally Thornton, one of San Diego’s most iconic philanthropists and businesswomen and matriarch of Thornton Winery, was laid to rest in San Diego today. A standing-room-only crowd gathered at the services, which was as packed as one of the many sold-out concerts at her family winery in Temecula, California.

Her husband, John, and son, Steve, were comforted by hundreds of friends and family members as they said their final goodbye to the stylish, witty, fun-loving wife and mother.

People from the overwhelming number of charities to which she contributed, businesses she ran and medical organizations she funded (including UCSD’s Thornton Hospital where Mrs. Thornton passed on Friday, June 12), attended her Celebration of Life at noon today at El Camino Memorial Park.

Nicolas Reveles, director of engagement for the San Diego Opera presided over the hour-long ceremony in the 200-seat chapel. Terry Whitcomb read the Kahlil Gibran passage, “On Death,” followed by a poem delivered by David Harkins, then the eulogy by Dr. Reveles.

Three of the Thornton family’s close friends offered words of remembrance from the podium next to Mrs. Thornton’s open casket. Scott Pedersen (Thornton Winery concert producer), Leonard G. Simpson (creator of Fashion Forward) and Doreen Schonbrun (commissioner of the San Diego Arts & Culture Commission), represented some of the 81-year-old’s many passions.

Scott, who was best friends with Mark Thornton (who passed away in 1993), gave a heartfelt tribute to Mrs. Thornton, whom he often called “mom.” He talked about her love and support of the musical acts they feature at the winery’s Champagne Concert Series, then did a spot-on impersonation of her legendary phrases she used to introduce the artists at each show. Scott, (who was still mourning the loss of his father-in-law, Kenneth O’Neal, Leslie O’Neal-Pedersen’s dad), brought the teary-eyed attendees a bit of comic relief when he said that he suspected that Mrs. Thornton’s playful spirit had a hand in her passing on Friday, which allowed enough time for a full-page obituary in Sunday’s San Diego Union-Tribune (which was recently sold to the Los Angeles Times). That issue was the last published on the daily newspaper’s San Diego presses, as all production was relocated to the Times‘ L.A facility. Scott also incited laughter when he mentioned that it was also no coincidence when the front page of Tuesday’s business section showed a newspaper employee displaying the first issue of the paper that was published in L.A., which, of course, showed Sally Thornton on the cover.

Although we will no longer see Mrs. Thornton gracing the social pages of the newspaper at all of the philanthropic galas and events as a donor or honoree, all of those charities and causes will continue to benefit from her benevolence.

After the chapel services, mourners were directed to the graveside committal, where saxophonist Richard Elliot played his bagpipes while her casket was lowered into the ground, next to her son Mark.

John and Steve Thornton then invited everyone to a Celebration of Life at the Lodge at Torrey Pines, where John told mourners that although this has been a very sad day, he wanted to now change the mood to one of partying. He raised his glass and asked everyone else to do the same in celebration of the woman he called his wife since 1955. Of course, there was plenty of Thornton wine and champagne to toast with.

Although the chapel couldn’t accommodate all funeral attendees, The Lodge at Torrey Pines ballroom was large enough for everyone, including San Diego Chief of Police Shelley Zimmerman; San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis; British fashion icon Zandra Rhodes; health spa/resort owner, fitness expert, author and Light Cuisine columnist Jeanne Jones, as well as other pillars of the San Diego business and philanthropic community.

Our sincere condolences and prayers are with John and Steve Thornton.

Who were Mindi Abair’s birthday party guests in Hollywood?

Mindi Abair with her birthday bouquet during her birthday party in Hollywood, CA, on May 23 (photo by David Hopley)

Mindi Abair with her birthday bouquet during her birthday party in Hollywood, CA, on May 23 (photo by David Hopley)

Mindi Abair celebrated her birthday during Memorial Day weekend at her Hollywood home with celebrity guests from all facets of the entertainment industry (music, TV and movies).

Mindi Abair partying with friends at her Hollywood home (photos by David Hopley)

Mindi Abair partying with friends at her Hollywood home (photos by David Hopley)

Saxophonist Michael Lington, guitarists Randy Jacobs & Chris Standring, vocalist Ellis Hall, keyboardist Patrick Bradley & multi-instrumentalist Dino Soldo were some of Mindi’s smooth jazz friends attending her backyard bash.

Sweetpea Atkinson from the Boneshakers band and Shawn Amos kept the blues vibe going.

Sweetpea Atkinson (The Boneshakers) enjoying birthday cake & Mindi Abair on his lap (photo by David Hopley)

Sweetpea Atkinson (The Boneshakers) enjoying birthday cake & Mindi Abair on his lap (photo by David Hopley)

Although Bill Withers was unable to attend the party, which included full bar service and a catered Greek menu, his wife, Marcia, and daughter, Kori, enjoyed the music and merriment.
Lance Abair hanging out around the fire pit during his daughter's birthday celebration (photo by David Hopley)

Lance Abair hanging out around the fire pit during his daughter’s birthday celebration (photo by David Hopley)

While a few of Mindi’s eclectic array of musical friends gathered around the glass fire pit, seated in comfy wooden patio chairs chatting with the birthday girl’s father, saxophonist Lance Abair, many of the guests negotiated the standring-room only crowd.

Ellis Hall & Mindi Abair jammin' at her birthday party (photo by David Hopley)

Ellis Hall & Mindi Abair jammin’ at her birthday party (photo by David Hopley)

Henry Duarte (rock fashion designer for Aerosmith, The Black Crowes, Lenny Kravitz, etc.) mingled with Tommy Coster, Jr. (Eminem’s co-writer of “The Real Slim Shady”), Keith Allison of Paul Revere and The Raiders, Adam Dorn (the man behind Mocean Worker) and Caprice Crane (best-selling author and the daughter of Tina Louise who played Ginger on the ’60s hit TV show “Gilligan’s Island.”)

Lisa Bradley, Steve Chapman, Patrick Bradley & his daughter, Heather Bradley (photo by David Hopley)

Lisa Bradley, Steve Chapman, Patrick Bradley & his daughter, Heather Bradley (photo by David Hopley)

Dick Blasucci, who used to head up MadTV toasted the birthday girl alongside other guests such as Felice Manicini (Henry Mancini’s daughter and president of The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation) and Harvey Mason, Jr. (son of Harvey Mason Sr. and producer/writer for artists such as Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, etc.)

Holly & Tracy Carter, Pat Prescott & Randy Jacobs inside Mindi's house celebrating her birthday (photo by David Hopley)

Holly & Tracy Carter, Pat Prescott & Randy Jacobs inside Mindi’s house celebrating her birthday (photo by David Hopley)

Mindi Abair & Chris Standring (photo by David Hopley)

Mindi Abair & Chris Standring (photo by David Hopley)

Penny McGlure & husband, Madison Guerra, Pat Prescott & Mindi's boyfriend, Eric Guerra (photo by David Hopley)

Penny & Roy McGlure, Madison Guerra, Pat Prescott & Mindi’s boyfriend, Eric Guerra (photo by David Hopley)

In addition to Smooth Jazz News, members of the media included 94.7 The WAVE’s Pat Prescott, publicist Jalila Larsuel and music critic Bob Lefsetz.

One of Mindi's birthday cakes (photo by David Hopley)

One of Mindi’s birthday cakes (photo by David Hopley)

The birthday girl getting ready to light the candles on her cakes (photo by David Hopley)

The birthday girl getting ready to light the candles on her cakes (photo by David Hopley)

Mindi Abair blowing out candles on her birthday cakes (photo by David Hopley)

Mindi Abair blowing out candles on her birthday cakes (photo by David Hopley)

Mindi Abair & Madison Guerra (daughter of Mindi's boyfriend, Eric Guerra) - photo by David Hopley

Mindi Abair & Madison Guerra (daughter of Mindi’s boyfriend, Eric Guerra) – photo by David Hopley

Of course, there was also bowls of candy on every picnic table and a few birthday cakes, two of which were decorated with icing images of the sweetheart who loves sugary treats. Shortly before Mindi cut her cakes, also surrounded by her mother as well as high school and college friends, Ellis grabbed a guitar and started a brief jam session. And, when it was time to sing the “Happy Birthday” song, the melodic voices added to the magic of the evening.

Mindi Abair's birthday party at her home in Hollywood, CA  (photo by David Hopley)

Mindi Abair’s birthday party at her home in Hollywood, CA (photo by David Hopley)

Happy Birthday, Mindi!

Mindi Abair enjoying Ellis Hall's jam during her birthday party (photo by David Hopley)

Mindi Abair enjoying Ellis Hall’s jam during her birthday party (photo by David Hopley)

By Melanie Maxwell

Jazz Happenings in Southern California this Weekend-May 16, 2015

Thornton Winery's Champagne Jazz Series in the Southern California Temecula Wine Country (Photo by Pat Benter)

Thornton Winery’s Champagne Jazz Series in Southern California’s Temecula Wine Country (Photo: Pat Benter)

When the sun returns to Southern California after the current cloudy and rainy skies, there are a couple of cool jazz outings to consider this weekend.

Saturday, May 16, 7 p.m.

Saxophonist Mindi Abair & guitarist Nick Colionne performing together (Photo by KT Jones)

Saxophonist Mindi Abair & guitarist Nick Colionne performing together (Photo by Pam McGregor)

Thornton Winery’s 27th Annual Champagne Jazz Series presents GRAMMY-nominated saxophonist Mindi Abair & The Boneshakers, with Chicago-based guitarist Nick Colionne opening

Mindi Abair & Nick Colionne (Photo by KT Jones)

Mindi Abair & Nick Colionne (Photo by KT Jones)

Thornton Winery is located at 32575 Rancho California Road, Temecula, California. For tickets and information, visit www.thorntonwine.com or call 951-699-0099.

 

Saturday, May 16, 7 & 9:30 p.m

21-year-old saxophonist Vincent Ingala

21-year-old saxophonist Vincent Ingala was named Smooth Jazz News’ 2011 Debut Artist of the year

Vincent Ingala “Coast to Coast” CD-Release Party

Spaghettini & the Dave Koz Lounge Beverly Hills

184 N. Canon Dr.

Beverly Hills, California

Tickets and information: www.spaghettinibh.com, 310-424-4600

Blog post by Melanie Maxwell

KSBR Birthday Bash with food & wine tastings!

21-year-old saxophonist Vincent Ingala

Vincent Ingala

Chris Standring, Michael Lington & Jessy J added to KSBR Birthday Bash this Sunday, May 24! Plus, more super-secret performers who cannot be announced until they step on the stage! And, of course, Smooth Jazz News will have a booth there, passing out magazines, selling subscriptions and concert clothing.

Where can you see more than 30 top smooth jazz artists performing live this month? AND, enjoy food and beverage tastings? At the KSBR Birthday Bash & Taste of the Bash in Mission Viejo, California, on Sunday, May 24!

Gregg Karukas (photo by Sherry Barnett)

Gregg Karukas (photo by Sherry Barnett)

Many of the top genre stars donating their performance time to this annual fund-raising event for KSBR 88.5, Saddleback College’s radio station, cannot be announced until the day of the show. However, a few names have started to leak out. So far, confirmed artists include Gregg Karukas, Vincent Ingala, Greg Adams, Chieli Minucci, Melissa Manchester, Paul Brown, Brian Bromberg, Slim Man and East Bay Soul!

Pasta food vendor serving up samples at KSBR's 2012 Taste of the Bash (Photo by David Hopley)

Pasta food vendor serving up samples at KSBR’s 2012 Taste of the Bash (Photo by David Hopley)

When the doors open at 3:30pm (3pm for VIPs), the Village Green of Oso Viejo Park in Mission Viejo, California, will be transformed into a spectacular, non-smoking, food-and-beverage-tasting extravaganza. More than 25, favorite, local restaurants will hand out free samples of their best dishes. Participating restaurants include Slaters 50/50, Rubio’s, Einstein Brothers, The Butcher Block, California Pizza Kitchen, The Broken Yoke Cafe, Mama’s Mediterranean, Sundried Tomato Cafe, Whole Foods Market and more!

Food vendor at the 2012 KSBR Taste of the Bash (Photo by David Hopley)

Food vendor at the 2012 KSBR Taste of the Bash (Photo by David Hopley)

Patrons are also welcome to bring their own food, small coolers, picnic baskets, (sealed) soft drinks and low-back beach chairs.

Sampling of New Orleans-style cuisine at KSBR's Taste of the Bash in 2012 (Photo by David Hopley)

Sampling of New Orleans-style cuisine at KSBR’s Taste of the Bash in 2012 (Photo by David Hopley)

Festivalgoers should be well nourished and hydrated enough to dance into the night when the music starts at 5pm, and goes nonstop until nearly 10pm.

Got your tickets yet? There’s still time to buy them before it sells out.

General Admission (lawn seating) is $55 through May 23, $60 on May 24.

Gold VIP (assigned table seating in the Gold Circle) tickets are $125 each, and include complimentary dessert and soft drinks and upgraded restrooms.

Premium Gold VIP Table Seating is priced at $165.00 each, and includes complimentary dessert and soft drinks, upgraded restrooms, plus a backstage pre-Bash dinner.

Reserved Platinum VIP Seating tickets are available at $190 person, and include reserved seats directly in front of the stage, preferred parking immediately adjacent to entrance and backstage pre-Bash dinner.

All ticket options include the Taste of the Bash and the concert.

The KSBR Birthday Bash and Taste of the Bash is scheduled for Sunday, May 24, 3:30pm (3pm for VIP guests), at the Village Green of Oso Viejo Park, 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo, California. For tickets or more information, visit www.ksbr.net or call 949-582-4501.