Tag Archives: Richard Elliot

Check out the surprise guests at the SJN party

During Smooth Jazz News’ 17th Anniversary Brunch Party & Jam Session at Spaghettini, DW3 commands brunch crowd to wave their hands in the air like they just don’t care (Photo by David Hopley)

Like an orchestra with many different musicians and instruments, publishing Smooth Jazz News requires a lot of people playing a variety of roles. One of the key components of nearly every artistic endeavor is funding. And, for magazines, advertising sales keep the presses rolling. So, each year, we host the Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Brunch Parties & Jam Sessions to show our appreciation to our advertisers.

Spaghettini Champagne Jazz Brunch (clockwise, left to right): Damon Reel, Rick Braun; Rick Braun, Gail Jhonson & Richard Elliot; Christiane Braun & Camella Elliot (Photos by David Hopley)

We invite everyone who has advertised with us in the prior year, along with some special guest artists, to sit in our allocated area of the performance lounge at Spaghettini Fine Dining and Entertainment in Seal Beach, California. The remainder of the lounge and the entire restaurant is open to the public for reservation purchases, so our readers and other jazz fans can also enjoy DW3 (or a featured band) and the special entertainment. And, because we invite so many advertisers, we can’t fit them all into our section, so that’s why we have two parties. They’re usually held in January during the NAMM Show (when a lot of musicians are in Anaheim, California, for that National Association of Music Music Merchants industry-only convention), and in February when DW3 is available to perform.

Conga line parading through Spaghettini’s lounge while DW3 brings the party ON during Smooth Jazz News’ 17th Anniversary party! (Photos by David Hopley)

We held the last of our 2017 parties on Sunday, Feb. 19, with DW3 back onstage in the lounge during Spaghettini’s Legendary Champagne Jazz Brunch. Our musical guests featured trumpeter Rick Braun with his wife Christiane and daughter Emma, saxophonist Richard Elliot and his wife Camella (Rick and Richard are touring this year as West Coast Jam with Norman Brown and a horn section) and keyboardist Gail Jhonson (founder of the all-female ensemble Jazz in Pink).

Camella Elliot (left) takes photos of her husband, Richard Elliot, during his jam with DW3 (Photos by David Hopley)

Our advertisers guest list included concert and festival promoters such as Kim and Ozzie Benoit (Rainbow Promotions), Kim’s dad Al Williams (founder of Rainbow Promotions, who is now retired) and his wife Sandy, Evette Benjamin (Gardena Jazz Festival) and Sandy Riser (Rick Braun’s Signature Events) and her husband Bernie Weisberg.

Celebrating Smooth Jazz News’ 17th Anniversary at Spaghettini in Seal Beach (clockwise, left to right) Camella & Richard Elliot; Al Williams, Ozzie Benoit, Willie Payne, Kim Benoit, Easton Schirra; back row: DW3 (Billy Mondragon, Eric Mondragon & Damon Reel, front row: Joan Giddens, Kathy & Willie Payne, Kim & Ozzie Benoit (Photos by David Hopley)

Kathy and Willie Payne, owners of Payne Pest Management, attended the event with Kathy’s mom, Joan Giddens. The Paynes have been longtime sponsors of many smooth jazz concerts and festivals, including the San Diego Smooth Jazz Festival, scheduled for July 7-9, which is produced by Rainbow Promotions.

Daniel Broadway (Mack Avenue Records) & Easton Schirra; keyboardist Gail Jhonson & trombonist Geoff Alpert; writer Ken Capobianco with his wife, Ratanan (Photos by David Hopley)

Daniel Broadway, the latest addition to Mack Avenue Records‘ sales and marketing team, along with his guest Easton Schirra, got their first glimpse into the live smooth jazz scene at our party.

Brenda Lavery-Madruga, Rick Braun & Emma Braun dancing in the crowd at Spaghettini (Photo by David Hopley)

Artist managers Steve Chapman and Bud Harner of Chapman & Co. Management were there with their wives, photographer-filmmaker Lori Stoll and writer-actor Debra Harner, respectively.

Advertisers and artists celebrating Smooth Jazz News’ 17 anniversary at Spaghettini on Feb. 19, 2017 (left to right): back row: Craig Collier, Willie Payne, Daniel Broadway, Emma Braun, Rick Braun, Ozzie Benoit, Damon Reel, Eric Mondragon, Gail Jhonson, Billy Mondragon, Bud Harner, Lori Stoll, Steve Chapman; front row: Evette Benjamin, Kathy Payne, Christiane Braun, Sandy Riser, Q (Spaghettini manager), Al Williams, Kim Benoit, Richard Elliot, Camella Elliot, Debra Harner (Photo by David Hopley)

These are the people who provide the financial support to allow me, as maestro of sorts for Smooth Jazz News, to compose this magazine along with a team of … Professional journalists who write the stories about the artists and events we love; Seasoned editors who proofread myriad drafts of all of the content contained in each issue; Photographers who capture the images of the artists and this lifestyle; Highly skilled graphic designers who take that copy and those photos and create visually pleasing layouts; A top-notch web press that prints and binds each magazine; An efficient support staff that processes subscription and merchandise orders, handles the mass mailings of the magazines and all administrative duties; Local and national distributors, who deliver bundles of magazines to select outlets. Nearly all of this is being done on a deadline.

Gina Giblin, Smooth Jazz News graphic designer, with her husband Shane at Spaghettini (Photo by David Hopley)

The last few days of production for each issue of Smooth Jazz News are the most intense. That is when final editing happens, layout revisions are made and headlines tweaked, etc. During this time, I sit with our graphic designer, Gina Mancini-Giblin, at her desk going over the pages, choosing photos, placing ads, making corrections and finalizing any changes. A replacement graphic designer, who once filled in for Gina while she sailed on her first Dave Koz & Friends at Sea cruise during one of those deadlines, once described this frenetic process as me being like an air traffic controller directing Gina as though she was dozens of incoming and outgoing aircraft. She said the speed at which we communicated as Gina flew between layouts and files was so fast that she got motion sickness from watching the rapid changes on the computer screen.

Rick Braun at the buffet with fans at Spaghettini (top photo); Willie Payne, Camella Elliot, Cary Hardwick (Spaghettini and Citizen co-owner) & Richard Elliot at Spaghettini’s Legendary Champagne Jazz Brunch (Photo by David Hopley)

Although, we have a bunch of great folks who volunteer to help at concerts and festivals, professional graphic designers, writers, editors, distribution companies, support staff and printing presses don’t work for free. In order to pay them and other business expenses, we rely on advertising sales. Without advertisers, Smooth Jazz News magazine would not have been in business for the past 17 years.

Richard Elliot sitting in with DW3 at Spaghettini, while server Jill Bogle hands Damon Reel a note from a fan (Photo by David Hopley)

We also wanted to include some of these integral, behind-the-scenes contributors in our celebration.

Craig Collier, Smooth Jazz News operations and distribution manager, leads conga line dancers into the lounge at Spaghettini (Photos by David Hopley)

Our beloved writer Ken Capobianco enjoyed the day with his wife, Ratanan, while our newest editor Kerri De Rosier got to share her first-time Spaghettini brunch experience with her dentist husband, Dave.

Kerri De Rosier (SJN editor), Kris Glaeser (SJN volunteer), Felicia Pennington (SJN volunteer), Pete Glaeser (SJN volunteer) and Dr. Dave De Rosier (Photo by David Hopley)

Longtime SJN festival and distribution volunteers Kris and Pete Glaeser, along with Felicia Pennington, celebrated with us as well.

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

And our parties would not be nearly as fun or successful without the help of Smooth Jazz News hostess Brenda Lavery-Madruga, our outstanding Spaghettini server Angelina Calandrino and her assistants.

Angelina Calandrino, Spaghettini server, providing outstanding service to Smooth Jazz News party guests (Photo by David Hopley)

To everyone, I say THANK YOU! And, I hope to see you next year.––By Melanie Maxwell

For more information about the smooth jazz scene, keep reading Smooth Jazz News, in print or online, www.smoothjazznews.com.

Meanwhile, here are some more photos from the Smooth Jazz News 17th Anniversary Brunch Party & Jam Session at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, California (all photos by David Hopley):

Smooth Jazz News 17th Anniversary Brunch Party & Jam Session at Spaghettini: top photo – Rick Braun dancing with his daughter, Emma; bottom photo – DW3-inspired conga line dancing through the lounge (Photos by David Hopley)

Damon Reel, Rick Braun, Eric Mondragon, Gail Jhonson, Richard Elliot & Billy Mondragon (Photo by David Hopley)

Writer Ken Capobianco, Sandy Williams, Al Williams, Ozzie Benoit, Willie Payne, Kim Benoit, Easton Schirra & Daniel Broadway (Photo by David Hopley)

Al Williams, Kim & Ozzie Benoit, Easton Schirra, Daniel Broadway and more (Photo by David Hopley)

Al Williams chats with Rick Braun & Richard Elliot while Brenda Lavery-Madruga (Smooth Jazz News hostess) looks on (Photo by David Hopley)

DW3 engages brunch crowd at Spaghettini (Photo by David Hopley)

Rick Braun performing with DW3 at Spaghettini (Photo by David Hopley)

Gail Jhonson, Willie Payne, Kim Benoit & Ozzie Benoit at Spaghettini’s Legendary Champagne Jazz Brunch (Photo by David Hopley)

Emma Braun (left) enjoying the music of DW3 at Spaghettini (Photo by David Hopley)

Marcus Anderson at the Smooth Jazz News 17th Anniversary Brunch & Jam Session on Jan. 22 (Photo by David Hopley)

Phillip “Doc” Martin, Ray Parker Jr., Mariea Antoinette, Pat Prescott and Paul Jackson Jr. at the Jan. 22, 2017, party (Photo by David Hopley)

Pat Prescott interviewing Ray Parker Jr. during live broadcast with Los-Angeles-based radio station 94.7 The WAVE at Spaghettini on Jan. 22, 2017 (Photos by David Hopley)

Phillip “Doc” Martin, Ray Parker Jr. and Paul Jackson Jr. at the Smooth Jazz News 17th Anniversary Brunch Party at Spaghettini on Jan. 22, 2017 (Photo by David Hopley)

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

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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

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.

When is the Smooth Jazz News Anniversary Party?

Smooth Jazz News' 15th anniversary parties are scheduled for Jan. 25 & Feb. 8, 2015, at Spaghettini in Seal Beach!

Smooth Jazz News’ 15th anniversary parties are scheduled for Jan. 25 & Feb. 8, 2015, at Spaghettini in Seal Beach!

By Melanie Maxwell

When and where will be celebrating Smooth Jazz News‘ 15th anniversary?

We’re having two brunch parties at Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment in Seal Beach, California; Sunday, Jan. 25, and Feb. 8!

Camella & Richard Elliot enjoying the 2014 SJN anniversary brunch at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA (Photo by Pat Benter)

Camella & Richard Elliot enjoying the 2014 Smooth Jazz News anniversary brunch at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA (Photo by Pat Benter)

We originally hosted small gatherings in one of the private banquet rooms at Spaghettini as a “thank you” to our advertisers, which also included a few artists.

Craig Collier & Sonia Patton enjoying serenade by Phil Perry & Ray Fuller at the 2014 Smooth Jazz News anniversary brunch at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, California (photo by David Hopley)

Craig Collier & Sonia Patton enjoying serenade by Phil Perry & Ray Fuller at the 2004 Smooth Jazz News anniversary brunch at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, California (photo by David Hopley)

As our business grew, so did our guest list for these annual parties that we used to have in December. We then changed the date to January, and reserved a section of the lounge, where the band (usually DW3) performs. And, our musical guests would sit in with the band.

Because 94.7 The WAVE broadcasts live during brunch, they would announce each surprise guest as they arrived. This attracted huge crowds of jazz fans. Our anniversary celebrations became so popular that we had to hold two separate events to accommodate all of our advertisers. It also gave the general public more opportunity to make individual reservations to enjoy Spaghettini’s legendary brunch and surprise performances by some of their favorite artists. And, we are thrilled that we can share these milestones with our readers.

Because these brunches have sold out in recent years, advance reservations are strongly suggested.

And, although we know where and when, we don’t know who our special musical guests making surprise appearances with DW3. That will be a secret until the day of the event. But, here are some photos of this year’s 14th anniversary celebration.

Mindi Abair & Peter White celebrating Smooth Jazz News' 14th anniversary at Spaghettini in February 2014 (Photo by Pat Benter)

Mindi Abair & Peter White celebrating Smooth Jazz News‘ 14th anniversary at Spaghettini in February 2014 (Photo by Pat Benter)

Rick Braun & Dave Koz sitting in with DW3 at the SJN anniversary brunch at Spaghettini (Photo by Pat Benter)

Rick Braun & Dave Koz sitting in with DW3 at the Smooth Jazz News anniversary brunch at Spaghettini (Photo by Pat Benter)

Christiane, Emma & Rick Braun at Spaghettini in Seal Beach for SJN's 14th anniversary celebration in February 2014 (Photo by Pat Benter)

Christiane, Emma & Rick Braun at Spaghettini in Seal Beach for Smooth Jazz News‘ 14th anniversary celebration in February 2014 (Photo by Pat Benter)

Mindi Abair sitting in with DW3 at the Smooth Jazz News 14th anniversary brunch in February 2014

Mindi Abair sitting in with DW3 at the Smooth Jazz News 14th anniversary brunch in February 2014 (Photo by Pat Benter)

Rick & Emma Braun at the SJN brunch party at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA (Photo by Pat Benter)

Rick & Emma Braun at the Smooth Jazz News brunch party at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA (Photo by Pat Benter)

Spaghettini is located at 3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., Seal Beach, California. To make reservations, call 562-596-2199 or visit www.spaghettinisb.com. For more information, check out Smooth Jazz News in print or online, www.smoothjazznews.com.

Summer Horns at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach

Dave Koz & Friends Summer Horns at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Summer Concert Series (photo by Ambrosevents/Ellis Moore Photography)

Dave Koz & Friends Summer Horns at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Summer Concert Series (photo by Ambrosevents/Ellis Moore Photography)

“I just got off the Dave Koz cruise, and l coming to see this show again!” a woman exclaim while handing her keys to the valet upon her arrival at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach for the Dave Koz & Friends “Summer Horns” concert.

Dave Koz & Gerald Albright (photo by Ambrosevents.com/Ellis Moore Photography)

Dave Koz & Gerald Albright (photo by Ambrosevents.com/Ellis Moore Photography)

As I entered the grassy, outdoor amphitheatre overlooking Back Bay at sunset, I spotted a man wearing one of the jazz shirts we sell. I approached him and said, “I recognize that shirt!” Not recognizing me, the person who sold it to him, he responded, “I bought this several years ago at the Seabreeze Jazz Festival.” I told him that he bought it at the Smooth Jazz News booth at that festival in Panama City Beach, Florida. “That’s right!” he said, then explained that he was a subscriber, found out about this show from the ad in the magazine, and flew from Georgia to see Dave Koz & his friends Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot performing one of their final “Summer Horns” shows of 2014.

Summer Horns Encore at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Summer Concert Series  (photo by Ambrosevents.com/Ellis Moore Photography)

Summer Horns Encore at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Summer Concert Series (photo by Ambrosevents.com/Ellis Moore Photography)

The standing-room-only crowd danced, cheered and clapped along for two hours of instrumental covers (with vocals by Tracy Carter and Mindi on some of the tunes) from some of the best horn-based songs from bands such as Chicago, Tower of Power, Earth Wind & Fire, James Brown, and an exceptionally soul-stirring rendition of Dave Brubeck’s “Take 5.”

Mindi Abair singing to an excited crowd at the Hyatt (photo by Ambrosevents.com/Ellis Moore Photography)

Mindi Abair singing to an excited crowd at the Hyatt (photo by Ambrosevents.com/Ellis Moore Photography)

After a week suffering through record heat, humidity and a destructive storm that ravaged parts of Southern California (compliments of Hurricane Odile), it was so refreshing to enjoy cooler temperatures, near the coast, all the while being entertained by Dave Koz & his extremely talented friends!

Here are some other photos from last night’s show:

Mindi Abair, Richard Elliot, Gerald Albright & Dave Koz signing autographs at the Hyatt (photo by Ambrosevents.com/Ellis Moore Photography)

Mindi Abair, Richard Elliot, Gerald Albright & Dave Koz signing autographs at the Hyatt (photo by Ambrosevents.com/Ellis Moore Photography)

Dave Koz & Mindi Abair (photo by Ambrosevents.com/Ellis Moore Photography)

Dave Koz & Mindi Abair (photo by Ambrosevents.com/Ellis Moore Photography)

Nathaniel Kearny Jr. & Dave Koz (photo by Ambrosevents.com/Ellis Moore Photography)

Nathaniel Kearny Jr. & Dave Koz (photo by Ambrosevents.com/Ellis Moore Photography)

The Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Summer Concert Series presents three more shows for its 2014 season: Natalie Cole (Sept. 26), Brian Culbertson (Oct. 3) and Tower of Power with Average White Band (Oct. 10). For tickets or information, visit www.hyattconcerts.com or call 949-360-7800.

 

Ticket giveaway Tuesday!

Enter to win tickets to see Jonathan Butler & Harvey Mason at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Summer Concert Series, Friday, Aug. 22 (www.hyattconcerts.com)

Jonathan Butler will be performing at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Summer Concert Series on Friday, Aug. 22

Jonathan Butler is scheduled to perform on Friday, Aug. 22, at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Summer Concert Series

Congratulations to Pamela Bates of Los Angeles, CA, she won a pair of tickets to see Jonathan Butler & Harvey Mason at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Summer Concert Series on Friday, Aug. 22! Visit www.hyattconcerts.com for show details.

or

The Gardena Jazz Festival featuring Dave Koz & Friends “Summer Horns” with Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright & Richard Elliot, as well as Euge Groove, Brian Simpson & more, Sunday, Aug. 24 (www.gardenajazzfestival.com)!

Dave Koz & Friends Summer Horns with Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot will be performing at the Gardena Jazz Festival on Sunday, Aug. 24

Dave Koz & Friends Summer Horns with Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot will be performing at the Gardena Jazz Festival on Sunday, Aug. 24

Euge Groove is scheduled to perform at the Gardena Jazz Festival on Sunday, Aug. 24

Euge Groove is scheduled to perform at the Gardena Jazz Festival on Sunday, Aug. 24

We’ll choose first from those who have commented on blog post http://smoothjazznews.com/blog/?p=458, then from entrants of our Win Free Cool Stuff contest, www.smoothjazznews.com/freestuff.php. Good luck!

Congratulations to Lois Bush of Gold River, CA. She won a pair of tickets to the Gardena Jazz Festival, Aug. 24! Dave Koz & Friends “Summer Horns” with Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright & Richard Elliot, along with Euge Groove, Brian Simpson & more are scheduled to perform! Visit www.gardenajazzfestival.com for festival details.

 

Dave Koz Summer Horns “Hot Fun In The Summertime”

Dave Koz & Friends Summer Horns rehearsal with Gerald Albright, Mindi Abair & Richard Elliot

Dave Koz & Friends Summer Horns rehearsal with Gerald Albright, Mindi Abair & Richard Elliot

My favorite show of last summer, Dave Koz and Friends Summer Horns, is back! Koz and his buddies Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot are hitting the road together again. They’ll be swinging through the U.S. with 20 shows, performing new versions of the tunes from the GRAMMY-nominated Summer Horns album.

“I remember a particular bus ride last summer, riding along with Richard, Mindi and Gerald—it was to the last gig of what was an incredibly memorable and fun few months of touring together. We were all in a bit of a funk…kind of a bittersweet moment, when we knew this wonderful thing we had built together was coming to an end. Everyone was thinking it, so I just blurted it out…’Hey, why don’t we do it again next summer?’ Well…here we are, summer of 2014, and at it once again!” said Koz from a Los Angeles studio where the group was rehearsing.

“We all jumped at the chance to have another Summer Horns tour because, quite frankly, it’s the most fun you can have on stage. The four of us have such a great bond and a wonderful friendship onstage and off. That, plus our collective love and admiration for the music we play, makes for a really fun and exciting show. We’re thrilled to be back at it!”

The four saxophonists will be accompanied by the stellar band they toured with last year. Once again, the amazing Randy Jacobs will be jammin’ on guitar and performing duties as the show’s music director. They’ll be sharing the stage with keyboardist Tracy Carter, bassist Nathaniel Kearny Jr. and drummer Third Richardson.

I’m curious how the new arrangements will sound. It will be fun to see how they make their already-imaginative takes on the classic hits of Tower of Power, Earth Wind & Fire, Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears and other brassy juggernauts of the ’60s and ’70s any better than they already have.

The Summer Horns “Hot Fun In The Summertime” Tour 2014 starts today at the Florida Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida. It runs through September, and includes a stop at One World Theatre in Austin, Texas, on Aug. 9.

For a complete schedule, visit www.davekoz.com.

Gerald Albright, Dave Koz, Mindi Abair & Richard Elliot rehearsing for Summer Horns "Hot Fun In The Summertime"

Gerald Albright, Dave Koz, Mindi Abair & Richard Elliot rehearsing for Summer Horns “Hot Fun In The Summertime”