Tag Archives: Rick Braun

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)

Smooth jazz in a magnificent resort setting

The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa Announces Spring 2017 Performances for “Grooves at The Westin” Jazz Concert Series

The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, California

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – January 20, 2017 – The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa announces the line-up of the next four concerts with world-class musicians performing in the beautiful outdoor resort setting of the Masters Plaza, weather permitting. Prices vary for seating options from $45 to $99, but all seats offer exceptional views.

The concert schedule is as follows:

Greg Adams & East Bay Soul

Saturday, February 18, 7 p.m. – Greg Adams and East Bay Soul, LA Collective featuring Adam Hawley and Greg Manning with special guest Eric Darius

Eric Darius (photo by Jeff Sciortino)

Greg Adams and East Bay Soul will move you with a performance that keeps the funk alive.  A combination of instrumental funk, soul jazz and rhythm and blues vocals, East Bay Soul creates a union that is nothing short of musical wizardry. Opening the show is the high-energy performance of LA Collective featuring Adam Hawley and Greg Manning with chart-topping saxophonist Eric Darius.

The sound of Greg Adams and East Bay Soul is one of the world’s best-known musical signatures, with a musical journey that has spanned more than four decades.  Adams is a founding member of Tower Of Power, legendary for the arrangements that made the TOP horn section a sought out entity all its own. Greg Adams is the driving force behind East Bay Soul. The expansive ensemble is a blend of Funk Jazz, R&B and Soul. East Bay Soul with a most soulful ensemble creates a union that has been nothing short of musical wizardry. Their extraordinary combined talents all bring incredible energy to the music with heart and soul.  East Bay Soul is dedicated to a singular vision of bringing their brand of funk and the magic of their live performance into every note they play.

Los Angeles Collective, LA Collective for short, is a group of five producers/ musicians/ engineers/ artists/ songwriters who collectively create a variety of versatile styles of music such as Rock, Funk, Dance, Disco, Ska, Punk, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Metal, Country, Folk, R&B, Blues, Electro, Pop, Jazz, Samba, Bossa Nova, Cumbia, Tropical, Merengue, Punta, Indy, etc. Their high-energy performances have been delighting audiences since 2011. Joining them is chart-topping recording artist, Eric Darius. A contemporary jazz saxophonist and composer, Darius’s music has been described as a combination of jazz, R&B, hip-hop and pop.

Tickets for the February 18th show can be purchased at https://www.tix.com/Event.aspx?EventCode=932272

Mindi Abair

Saturday, March 4, 7 p.m. – Mindi Abair

The smooth Lady of Saxophone comes to the Westin for the first time. In a career that spans seven solo albums and countless collaborations in the studio and live on stage, Mindi Abair has made her mark as one of the most recognizable saxophonists in the United States. She has appeared on stage with Bruce Springsteen for a historic night at the Beacon Theater, performed with Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra on the “Late Show with David Letterman,” and is the only saxophonist to tour with rock legend Aerosmith since 1973. She has earned the respect of top-shelf artists representing just about every genre of music. Abair’s solo work has garnered ten #1 radio hits, six top-five spots and two #1 spots on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz album chart. Abair received a 2014 GRAMMY nomination in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category for Summer Horns, a #1 recording with her friends Dave Koz, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot, and more recently she received a 2015 GRAMMY nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for her solo CD “Wild Heart.”

Tickets for the March 4th show can be purchased at http://www.tix.com/Event.aspx?EventCode=939392

Rick Braun

Saturday, March 18, 7 p.m. Rick Braun and special guest Josh Vietti

Rick Braun is a smooth jazz trumpet player, multi-instrumentalist and producer known for his gregarious and charismatic performances. However, the humble trumpeter-flugelhorn player-vocalist Braun is “grateful to still be making music with friends.” Braun is a consistent chart-topper who has amassed a catalogue of No. 1 Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart and radio hits throughout his solo career that began in earnest in 1992. A two-time winner of the Gavin Report’s Smooth Jazz Artist of the Year award, Braun excels playing any style and genre of music, and his style on the trumpet is unrivaled. In addition to his solo career, Braun also plays in the band BWB, with saxophonist Kirk Whalum and guitarist Norman Brown. In 2005, he and saxophonist Richard Elliot co-founded ARTizen Music Group.

True to his reputation, Rick Braun brings a smooth, mellow and heartfelt performance to Grooves at The Westin. Rick Braun’s inimitable style of jazz trumpet delivers an experience straight to the soul. Joining him is Josh Vietti, Grammy-nominated hip-hop/pop violinist from southern California who incorporates pop, classical, country, gospel and jazz into his performances.

Tickets for the March 18th show can be purchased at http://www.tix.com/Event.aspx?EventCode=932275

Peter White

Saturday, April 1, 2017, 7 p.m. – Peter White with All-Star band featuring Michael Paulo

Undoubtedly one of the most popular figures in smooth jazz and a jazz fusion guitarist and songwriter, Peter White is a veteran on the scene. Over the years, Peter White has maintained a reputation as one of the most versatile and prolific acoustic guitarists on the contemporary jazz landscape. Armed with an unparalleled combination of lyricism and energy, he combines elements of jazz, pop and classical guitar to create a sound that is singular and at the same time accessible to a broad audience. He is known for his 20-year collaboration with Al Stewart. In addition, his songs “Midnight in Manhattan”, recorded by Grover Washington, Jr. (1998), and “Bright” (2009) have each reached number one on the Billboard Jazz Songs chart.

Back by popular demand White brings his endearing style and immense talent on acoustic guitar back to Grooves at The Westin, where he will be performing songs from his 15th solo release “Groovin” and will be joined by saxophonist Michael Paulo and keyboardist Gregg Karukas.

Tickets for the April 1st show can be purchased at http://www.tix.com/Event.aspx?EventCode=932276

Post sponsored by The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa, 71333 Dinah Shore Dr., Rancho Mirage, California. (760) 328-5955

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.

Seabreeze Jazz Festival ticket giveaway!

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By Melanie Maxwell

Click here for a chance to win a pair of 4-day passes (Thursday-Sunday) to the 17th Annual Seabreeze Jazz Festival presented by ResortQuest in Panama City Beach, Florida: http://dev.smoothjazznews.com/enter-win/

When: April 22-26

Lineup:

Wednesday, April 22 Jazzy Dinner Cruise on St. Andrews Bay aboard the Solaris entertainment yacht featuring Brian Culbertson (sold out), boards at 6:30 p.m., sails at 7 p.m.

Thursday, April 23 Jazzy Lunch Cruise on St. Andrews Bay aboard the Solaris entertainment yacht featuring Eric Darius (sold out), boards at 10:30 a.m., sails at 11 a.m. (Both cruises, which are sold out, sail from the Lighthouse Marina, 5325 N. Lagoon Dr., Panama City Beach, Florida)

On festival grounds (gates open at 3 p.m.) Urban Jazz Coalition with Althea René, 5p.m.; The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman, 6:15 p.m.; Euge Groove, 8:30 p.m.     After-Party All-Star Jam hosted by Eric Darius, 10:30 p.m., Pompano Joe’s at Pier Park

Friday, April 24 Sax Pack 10th Anniversary CD-Release Party featuring Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole and Kim Waters (includes a lunch appetizer buffet, private performance, question-and-answer session with the band and signed copy of the new CD), noon, Pompano Joe’s (rooftop stage, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico)

On festival grounds (gates open at 3 p.m.) Down to the Bone, 5 p.m.; Ken Ford, 6:30 p.m.; George Benson, 8:30 p.m.

After-Party All-Star Jam hosted by Euge Groove (sold out), 10:30 p.m., Pompano Joe’s at Pier Park

Saturday, April 25, on festival grounds (gates open at 8:30 a.m.) Rob Tardik, 9:30 a.m.; Eric Darius, 11 a.m.; Acoustic Alchemy, 12:30 p.m.; The Sax Pack featuring Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole and Kim Waters, 2 p.m.; Brian Culbertson, 4:30 p.m.; Al Jarreau, 6:30 p.m.; BWB featuring Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum and Rick Braun, 8:30 p.m.

After-Party All-Star Jam hosted by Brian Culbertson (sold out), 10:30 p.m., Pompano Joe’s at Pier Park

Sunday, April 26, on festival grounds (gates open at 8:30 a.m.) Ryan Montano, 9:30 a.m.; The Seabreeze Groove Project featuring Four80East, Matt Marshak and Marcus Anderson, 11 a.m.; Chris Standring, 12:30 p.m.; Mindi Abair & The Boneshakers, 2:30 p.m.; Jazz Funk Soul with Chuck Loeb, Jeff Lorber and Everette Harp, 4:30 p.m.; Josh Vietti, 6:30 p.m.; David Sanborn, 8:30 p.m.

Seabreeze Jazz Festival After-Party hosted by Four80East, Matt Marshak and Marcus Anderson, featuring special smooth jazz guest stars and surprises (free admission), 10:30 p.m., Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at Pier Park

Where: Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater, 500 W. Park Dr., Panama City Beach, Florida

Getting there: Flights are available to the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) in Panama City Beach, and Northwest Florida Regional Airport (VPS) in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The venue is approximately 10 miles from ECP and 55 miles from VPS.

Couple enjoying a spectacular view of the Gulf of Mexico from a Resort Quest condo in Panama City Beach, Florida

Couple enjoying a spectacular view of the Gulf of Mexico from a ResortQuest condo in Panama City Beach, Florida

Staying there: Accommodations at reduced rates are available through ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals. For reservations, visit www.seabreezejazzfestival.com/accommodations.html or call 855-990-0087 and mention group code “JAZ5” for the discounted rate. Free round-trip shuttles are available to the festival for occupants of ResortQuest properties.

Tickets and information: Visit www.seabreezejazzfestival.com (which also features information on other accommodations partners) or call 800-595-4849.

For more information on the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, check out pages 11-13 of the April 2015 issue of Smooth Jazz News.

*NOTE: In their commitment to contribute to the community, the Carters are offering a four-day pass ($250 value) to the Seabreeze Jazz Festival in exchange for each good, used, band instrument donated to L.I.N.K.S. of Northwest Florida (Lonely Instruments For Needy Kids). This non-profit program takes used band instruments, repairs them and puts them in the hands of disadvantaged kids who wouldn’t normally be able to participate in their local middle or high school band programs. Playground Music Center in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, is collecting the donated instruments. For more information, call Tony Leonard at 850-243-2514, or visit www.seabreezejazzfestival.com/links.html.

Behind the scenes with Seabreeze Jazz Festival producer

Patio at the oceanfront Calypso Resort and Towers in Panama City Beach, Florida

Patio at the oceanfront Calypso Resort and Towers in Panama City Beach, Florida

Are you planning to attend the Seabreeze Jazz Festival this year? If so, check out this interview I had with Mark Carter, the event’s producer. He talks about his passion for the genre, how he chose the lineup, and what changes are happening for this 17th annual event in Panama City Beach, Florida.

2013 Seabreeze Jazz Festival in Panama City Beach, Florida

2013 Seabreeze Jazz Festival at Aaron Bessant Park in Panama City Beach, Florida

SJN: You have another amazing lineup this year. What was your artist selection based on?

Brian Culbertson, Al Jarreau and George Benson are scheduled to perform at the 2015 Seabreeze Jazz Festival

Brian Culbertson, Al Jarreau and George Benson are scheduled to perform at the 2015 Seabreeze Jazz Festival

MC: This year, we focused on three types of smooth jazz artists in our festival bookings. First you have what I call “The Legends.” These are artists or groups that were credited with actually starting the smooth jazz format…going back to the mid 1980’s. I’m talking about artists like David Sanborn, The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman, Acoustic Alchemy and the multi-talented George Benson. These are the core legendary artists that caught the nation’s attention and started the renaissance of what became contemporary jazz or smooth jazz. Al Jarreau also fits in this category as his music also helped to paint the canvas of coolness in a mass appeal way.

BWB featuring Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum and Rick Braun (Photo by Lori Stoll)

BWB featuring Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum and Rick Braun, scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 25  (Photo by Lori Stoll)

The second group we targeted was “The Hit-makers”––the current top smooth jazz artists shaping contemporary jazz today. These are artists like Brian Culbertson, Euge Groove, Jazz Funk Soul, BWB, The Sax Pack, Mindi Abair, Eric Darius, Down To the Bone and others.

Euge Groove

Euge Groove is scheduled to perform on Thursday, April 23

Since Seabreeze Jazz Festival is the only jazz festival in America created by an actual smooth jazz radio station, current airplay and new CD releases all play important roles in booking the right blend of artists. Attention to both artist tempo and texture is factored, so that some sets of music soothe while others get you on your feet! This is why stellar guitar player Chris Standring, Canada’s Four80East, as well as UK-based smooth jazz group Down To The Bone are included for their diverse sounds and “funkanomics”––there has to be some funk in the mix. Like programming a great set of music on the radio, the lineup and order of the artists can make or break a great listening experience. We treat the lineup like a weekend of music programmed on the radio.

Chris Standring, Marcus Anderson (Photo by Pat Benter) and Matt Marshak are scheduled to perform at the 2015 Seabreeze Jazz Festival

Chris Standring, Marcus Anderson (Photo by Pat Benter) and Matt Marshak are scheduled to perform at the 2015 Seabreeze Jazz Festival

And, the third group is the “New Lions”––the new talented artists of tomorrow that are turning heads and ears today. Artists like trumpeter Ryan Montano and pop/jazz/hip-hop violinist Josh Vietti. Canadian guitarist Rob Tardik fits this description as he has won numerous awards in Canada yet many smooth jazz fans are not familiar with him though he is amazing.

Mindi Abair (Photo by Greg Allen)

Mindi Abair is scheduled to perform with The Boneshakers on Sunday, April 26 (Photo by Greg Allen)

The 2015 lineup represents a full roster of all of these styles and categories, which is why I feel the Seabreeze Jazz Festival is unique.

First time performers to our festival this year include David Sanborn, Al Jarreau, Acoustic Alchemy, Chris Standring, Josh Vietti and Rob Tardik.

SJN: I believe you mentioned that you were expanding your VIP area this year. Can you please provide me with the details?

MC: We added a secondary level of VIP seating called Gold Reserve. This new section of 800 reserved seats will be located directly in front of the stage right behind the VIP section. Gold Reserve offers many of the benefits of VIP including reserved seating for all four days of the festival, on-site parking, dedicated air-conditioned restrooms, special entrance and early entry, with complimentary water and beer/wine (4 per day). Gold Reserve attendees select their seat and row from the festival seating chart and guaranteed to be the same great seat each day. No need to stand in line early and rush in with your chairs to get the best seats up front. VIP tickets sold out so fast this year (in just a few weeks) that the Gold Reserve became a reality––and a new alternative.

SJN: Which vendors do you plan to have this year?

MC: We are planning to upgrade the vendor area with more food options that cater better to the “smooth jazz experience.” Our vendor area will include a diverse selection of gourmet food trucks from as far away as Atlanta, Jacksonville, Orlando and New Orleans. Many attendees have asked for more variety and healthier options, so we are responding to that request. Food trucks are really popular across America today, and they excite the palate with the ability to offer high-end tastes in what is a rolling restaurant. Fans with gluten-free diets, vegan and vegetarians will be pleased with the changes. But we also will continue with the tried and true soul food, barbecue, chicken, hot dogs, burgers, and seafood along with gourmet grilled cheese, tacos, Mediterranean wraps, healthy wraps, pizza and more. We will even have an unbelievable cupcake food truck with dozens of decadent cupcakes.

In addition, our vendor area will include select art and merchandise vendors with original art, hats, women’s clothing, jewelry and more. One vendor exclusively sells items direct from Africa at our event, so the selection will be both interesting to shop and very unique.

SJN: I received a press release from you last week regarding you partnering with Top Global Radio Jazz Provider JAZZRADIO.com. As the owner of a terrestrial radio station yourself, how is it that you have always welcomed partnerships with online radio stations, especially because your station is streamed online?

MC: JazzRadio.com has 37 online channels of jazz and currently reaches over 2 million listeners per day, and currently offers the most inclusive and diverse online jazz streaming service on any company on the Internet. This fact is very attractive in growing the jazz festival to a more global audience. Streaming audio is becoming more important to smooth jazz fans around the country who have unfortunately lost their local smooth jazz radio stations. They either have to go to satellite radio or turn to the Internet for new music. These are the listeners who are left in the cold, who love the format but their local stations are gone. We are trying to reach these displaced listeners with our sponsorship with JazzRadio.com.

JazzRadio.com has cultivated a solid smooth jazz base offering 37 unique jazz channels that will truly appeal to the tastes of the smooth jazz audience. JazzRadio.com also features Jimi King––renowned smooth jazz music programmer and presenter––with his weekly live show direct from London on Sundays. Their music is easily available online, or with a smart phone or tablet, and, again, it is free to all fans.

SJN: What is the best compliment you receive about your festival?

MC: “I had so much fun I got lost in the music” was one great comment. Many love the vibe of the festival: the sea breeze blowing off the beach, good times with good people all connected together with their love of smooth jazz.

Others comment how friendly everyone is, like “coming home” and feeling so welcomed.

The Seabreeze Jazz Festival showcases the best of the smooth jazz format, creating an “ultimate” weekend of music featuring 20 smooth jazz acts for one great ticket price. Many fans love the fact we don’t act like an R & B festival in smooth jazz clothing! You come for smooth jazz, you get smooth jazz.

Couple enjoying a spectacular view of the Gulf of Mexico from a Resort Quest condo in Panama City Beach, Florida

Couple enjoying a spectacular view of the Gulf of Mexico from a ResortQuest condo in Panama City Beach, Florida

The venue offers shopping at 160+ stores and eateries at Pier Park directly across the street, with white-sand beaches close by and convenient condos and hotels––many within walking distance. And, Panama City Beach offers world-renowned fishing, golf and other outdoor recreational activities.

Ladies enjoying lunch and ocean view at a Pier Park eatery in Panama City Beach, Florida

Ladies enjoying lunch and ocean views at a Pier Park eatery in Panama City Beach, Florida

SJN: Are there any changes happening this year?

MC: One big change is our new “smart” armbands from Intellitix that we are calling “JazzBands.” Attendees will enjoy quick entry into the event with this new system currently being used by over 40 events across the globe in 2014.

The way the technology works is each fabric armband has a RFID chip inside that is encoded with their ticket order––so entry into the event is a simple scan through a portal at the entrance. We will be the first event on the Gulf Coast to use this technology for festival entry.

In addition, the Seabreeze Jazz Festival is using these armbands to go totally “cashless” with the convenience of linking a credit card or cash to the armbands. All food and merchandise inside the event will be purchased through a quick scan of these hi-tech wristbands. This is the same type of system that Disney has used at their theme parks (with The Magic Band) as well as some of the high-end cruise lines.

Attendees will be able to register their armbands starting April 9th at www.JazzBands.com, and allocate funds via their credit card to the wristbands. If they wish to wait until the event, they can stop at a Top Up Station on-site and load cash or credit to their JazzBands for a worry-free and hassle-free weekend of music and shopping. No need to worry about lost cash or credit cards. Or they can set a budget for spending and easily manage their account.

Attendees can pre-load credit on the armbands and manage their account via their smartphone. Any unspent monies are refunded back to the attendee’s credit card (or a bank check is mailed if cash is used) minus a $5 service fee at the end of the weekend. Seabreeze will be offering $5 free JazzBucks with each $100 that is loaded on the armbands to offset the service fee.

For the user, purchases take less than 3 seconds, as you simply swipe and tap to confirm each purchase. (www.seabreezejazzfestival.com/cashless.html)

Another change is year––to speed up entry and comply with security guidelines––is no outside food or beverages will be allowed including no coolers. Attendees are welcome to bring an empty water or sports bottle for free water refills inside the park, a small umbrella, small bag or backpack and one chair per person. Bottled water will be sold at $1 a bottle, and a wide variety of food options will be available with the new expanded food court area. Many food vendors will be offering $5 value meals and other affordable options.

Check the rules section of the jazz fest site for all rules and policies at www.seabreezejazzfestival.com/rules.html

The Sax Pack: Steve Cole, Jeff Kashiwa & Kim Waters, are scheduled to perform  at the Seabreeze Jazz Festival on Friday, April  25, and a CD-Release party at Pompano Joe's on Friday, April 24

The Sax Pack–Steve Cole, Jeff Kashiwa & Kim Waters–is scheduled to perform at the Seabreeze Jazz Festival on Friday, April 25, and a CD-Release party at Pompano Joe’s on Friday, April 24

SJN: What are the highlights of this year’s festival?

MC: In addition to the main performances, the dinner and lunch cruises and the popular after-party events, we have added a Sax Pack CD-Release Party on Friday, April 24th, at 1pm at Pompano Joe’s located inside Pier Park. The original Sax Pack (Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole and Kim Waters) will unveil their new CD celebrating the 10th Anniversary of The Sax Pack. The CD-Release Party will include a lunch appetizer buffet and a private performance, question-and-answer session with the band and signed copy of the new CD––all overlooking the Gulf of Mexico from the rooftop stage at Pompano Joe’s. Tickets are $55 each, and available online at www.seabreezejazzfestival.com or by phone at 800-595-4849.

Rob DeBoer & Tony Grace of Four80East

Tony Grace & Rob DeBoer of Four80East

We are also offering a FREE Sunday After-Party show at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at Pier Park on Sunday night April 26th, starting at 10:30pm. Hosted by Four80East, Matt Marshak and Marcus Anderson, the event will also feature special smooth jazz guest stars and surprises. A full menu and cash bar will be available. Free admission.

Is there anything else you feel is important for our readers to know about this year’s festival?

Our jazz festival artwork, “Body and Soul,” was created by the late Atlanta artist J. Micheal Howard, and will be featured on Seabreeze Jazz Festival T-Shirts and our festival poster. This work embodies all of the fun, funky and yet cool sound of smooth jazz in vibrant colors and true style. J. Michael Howard’s original works, posters, and T-shirts will be available for sale in our Featured Artist tent all weekend.

Colorful bedroom furnishings at Florida Linen, my favorite Panama City Beach store , 12011 Panama City Beach Pkwy. (www.floridalinen.net)

Colorful bedroom furnishings at Florida Linen, my favorite Panama City Beach store, 12011 Panama City Beach Pkwy. (www.floridalinen.net)

Also, we are again offering a FREE four-day pass ($250 value) for each good used band instrument donation to L.I.N.K.S. of Northwest Florida (Lonely Instruments For Needy Kids). This non-profit program takes used band instruments, repairs them and puts them in the hands of disadvantaged kids who wouldn’t normally be able to participate in their local middle or high school band programs.

In 2014, Seabreeze Jazz Festival fans donated over 120 good band instruments that went back into the music program at several Northwest Florida schools.

Playground Music Center in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, is collecting the donated instruments. For more on the program and the free jazz festival tickets call Tony Leonard at 850-243-2514. Here is the link to all the details: www.seabreezejazzfestival.com/links.html

Come experience the Southern charm of Northwest Florida at an event that pairs beautiful white-sand beaches with top smooth jazz entertainment all in an explosive weekend of 20 top artists at a venue you will fall in love with.

Ocean view from a condo in the Calypso Towers in Panama City Beach, Florida

Ocean view from a condo in the Calypso Towers in Panama City Beach, Florida

Seabreeze is more than just music…or a beach vacation. It is a place and time where you can get lost in the music and celebrate the good life: great music and good friends. Now that’s what smooth jazz is all about.

What do you think about the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, the lineup, the venue, Panama City Beach? Please post your comments below. We’d love to hear your feedback!

Check out the April issue of Smooth Jazz News for more information on the 17th Annual Seabreeze Jazz Festival, scheduled for April 22-26, in Panama City Beach, Florida. For tickets and details, visit www.seabreezejazzfestival.com.

Dave Koz & his friends celebrate the season at Spaghettini Beverly Hills

Dave Koz  (photo by Bryan Sheffield)

Dave Koz
(photo by Bryan Sheffield)

By Melanie Maxwell

We haven’t sat down yet for the big Thanksgiving spread, but after last night I certainly have “visions of sugarplums dancing in my head.”

Rather than St. Nick shouting “Now Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen! On Comet! On, Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen! Dave Koz dragged a sleigh-full of celebrities to Spaghettini & the Dave Koz Lounge in Beverly Hills on Sunday, Nov. 23.

In addition to showing off the new restaurant before its official opening on Dec. 10, Dave was kicking off his 17th Annual Dave Koz & Friends Christmas tour and the release of his latest CD, The 25th of December.

Dave Koz & Friends "The 25th Day of December" CD

Dave Koz & Friends “The 25th Day of December” CD

And, guess who was there? Johnny Mathis!

Dave Koz & Johnny Mathis performing at Spaghettini & the Dave Koz Lounge in Beverly Hills (Photo by Ambrosevents.com/Ellis Moore)

Dave Koz & Johnny Mathis performing at Spaghettini & the Dave Koz Lounge in Beverly Hills (Photo by Ambrosevents.com/Ellis Moore)

“It’s not Christmas until you hear Johnny Mathis sing,” said Dave as Mr. Mathis maneuvered his way through a standing-room only crowd of close friends, family, artists, industry insiders, Concord Records executives, guests of 94.7 The WAVE, and Dave’s Spaghettini partners Laurie Sisneros, Cary Hardwick and Glen and Debbie Bickerstaff.

When Johnny stepped onstage, that’s when the magic happened. Still smooth at 78, Mr. Mathis began singing the fond, memory-invoking lyrics of “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.” And, the band featuring Randy Jacobs, Brian Simpson, Nathaniel Kearney Jr. and Jay Williams didn’t miss one note as they accompanied the living legend. Plus, these musicians had already performed three Christmas songs with Dave, as well as Maysa, Jonathan Butler and Eric Benét.

This moment even warmed the hearts of seasoned performers such as Peter White, Rick Braun and Mindi Abair (who embark on A Peter White Christmas tour this week), David Benoit (who also performs his Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown beginning Nov. 29 in Brea, CA) and Kenny Lattimore.

As soon as I receive the photos from Ellis Moore and Ambrose, I will share them with you here. So, please check back.

You can read more about the Dave Koz & Friends Christmas tour in the December-January issue of Smooth Jazz News, which will be available on Dec. 1, www.smoothjazznews.com. For more information about Dave Koz,  including his upcoming tour dates, visit www.davekoz.com.

 

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.