Marcus Anderson

Performing Sunday, July 1

An incredible act and one worth watching, saxophonist Marcus Anderson is the golden child shining among stars. With 10 studio albums on his list of accomplishments, the fusion jazz artist brings R&B, Pop, Rock, Latin and Funk to make music that puts listeners in another atmosphere. Charting number one in both categories of Billboard’s Smooth Jazz and Sirius XM’s Watercolors with his exceptional hit “A Cup Of Joe” from the album AND Coffee the Spartanburg, SC native is delivering major music in a humble way. His work with the late Prince and the New Power Generation led him to join stages with the likes of Ceelo Green, Judith Hill, Stevie Wonder, and Liv Warfield just to name a few, where he had become a key contributor in these touring band. Prince also featured Marcus on his last release Hit N Run Phase 2, playing on “Revelation” and “Look at Me Look at You”.

Anderson is an act that puts on a show for and with household names. Whether he is performing for dignitaries such as President Barack Obama, Jesse Jackson and Hillary Clinton or blazing the stage with Sheila E., Anthony Hamilton or Miguel in a collaborative effort, Anderson is always the man of the hour, delivering stellar musicianship every time. Lailah Hathaway, Esperanza Spaulding, George Duke, Jennifer Holiday are just a few out of the numerous world-renowned artists that Anderson has opened for and with whom he has shared the stage.

Both near and far, audiences of all musical tastes have made their way to hear Marcus Anderson and his band Limited Edition. He and his band present a show in which he not only plays the sax but sings and performs choreography as well. High-spirited and welcoming, Anderson is a multi-instrumentalist who is not afraid of “showing out” He’s a fan-favorite at highly recognized festivals such as Essence Music Festival, Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival and many more. He has also appeared with headliners on top-ranking shows like The Tonight Show, Arsenio Hall, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Jimmy Fallon.

Steve Oliver

Performing Saturday, June 30

With a career spanning nearly 20 years in music, multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Steve Oliver is still being heard each day on contemporary jazz radio around the world. As a first-call producer and writer for many artists in the genre, his influence and impact continues to shine as he prepares to record his next solo album “Illuminate”, scheduled for a summer 2018 release. A follow up to last year’s acclaimed all vocal project “Pictures & Frames” (recorded with the legendary Vinnie Colaiuta on drums and Leland Sklar on bass at the famed Capitol Studios), “Illuminate” will offer a return to Steve’s distinct acoustic and electric guitar instrumentals, enhanced with his trademark vocalese and many special guests.

Having released eight studio albums, a live CD / DVD package and a “Best Of” covering his output over two decades, for Oliver, music is therapy and a welcomed diversion from the current world climate. With multiple #1 Billboard hits to his credit including “High Noon”, “Fun In The Sun”, and “Global Kiss” today Oliver is just as comfortable being a creator, adviser, and mentor to others. Returning from a tour as a member of veteran jazz group Acoustic Alchemy, Steve has recently co-written and produced tracks with Grammy award winning pianist Omar Akram and many smooth jazz notables such as Brian Simpson, Paul Taylor and Tom Schuman. He’s also supported up-and-coming acts, co-writing and producing albums for Chase Huna, Billy Ray Sheppard and Ray Anthony & Powerslyde.

For the latest news and live dates, go to steveolivermusic.com

Nestor Torres

Performing Sunday, July 1

Standing on the shoulders of flute giants from worlds as diverse as Rampal & Galway in Classical Music; Richard Egues’ Cuban Charanga style; rocker Ian Anderson’s Jethro Tull; Herbie Mann and – most influential of all – Hubert Laws as pioneers of Jazz Flute, Latin Grammy Award winning Nestor Torres’ rhythmic and mellifluous flute sound remains apart in a class all by itself. His 14 recordings as a soloist; 4 Latin Grammy nominations, one Grammy nomination and one Latin Grammy Award; collaborations with diverse artists such as Gloria Estefan, Kenny Loggins, Dave Mathews, Herbie Hancock, Tito Puente, Michael Camilo, Paquito D’ Rivera and Arturo Sandoval; as well as performances with the Cleveland, Singapore, and New World Symphony Orchestras among many others, are testament to the remarkable journey of an Artist who continues to grow and enrich the lives of those who experience his talents.

Born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Nestor Torres moved to New York City, where he pursued Classical flute studies at Mannes School of Music, Jazz at Berklee College of Music and Classical and Jazz at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. During that time, he also learned to improvise in the ‘Charanga’ Cuban Dance Music style, which helped shape and develop Nestor’s melodic and danceable sound.

His CD This Side of Paradise won the Latin Grammy award in the Pop instrumental category, scheduled to be presented on September 11, 2001. This great achievement – and its timing – proved to be a major turning point for Torres.

“Of course, it was a great honor and privilege to win the Grammy. That being said, the fact that I was to receive it on 9/11 gave my work and my music a stronger sense of mission and purpose.

Since then, Torres has focused on transcending his role as a Jazz Flautist to that of an agent of change through crossover multi-media productions, compositions and performances. To that effect, his compositions ‘Successors’, Marta y Maria and Disarmament Suite (commissioned by the Miami Children’s Chorus, St. Martha-Yamaha Concert Series, and ICAP – International Committee of Artists for Peace – respectively), are variations on Nestor Torres’ multi-cultural fusion sounds as expressions of today’s world. Then again, Nestor’s music has always been about that: a Crossover fusion of Latin, Classical, Jazz and Pop sounds. Rich and engaging, complex and exuberant, profound yet accessible.

In addition to his achievements in the studio and on the stage, Torres is also the recipient of many awards, including two honorary doctorate degrees from Barry University and Carlos Albizu University, for his commitment to youth, education and cultural exchanges.

Peter White

Performing Sunday, July 1

Like so many millions of us, guitarist Peter White still feels closest to the music he absorbed while growing up. As a British teen in the ’60s, he kept his ears glued to the radio—soaking up the exciting new sounds of rock bands like the Beatles and soul giants like Stevie Wonder—and tried to learn how to play those songs on the acoustic guitar his dad had given him. It didn’t take him long to get the hang of it, and now, after more than four decades as both a leader and sideman, he’s returning to those tunes that impacted him so forcefully in his youth.

Groovin’, set for release on October 28, 2016 via Heads Up, a division of Concord Music Group, is White’s third collection of guitar-centric interpretations of timeless compositions from those halcyon years of the 1950s to the ’80s. Taking up where his previous all-covers albums Reflections (1994) and Playin’ Favorites (2006) left off, Groovin’ finds White not only nostalgic but adventurous and playful, injecting vocal shadings and bold horn charts into the mix, and even some tougher guitar sounds than he’s generally known for.

“I always gravitate toward this era,” says White about the songs he chooses to cover. “At that time the music meant more to me than at any other time in my life.”

Groovin’ takes its title from the Rascals’ tropical-hued ballad hit of 1967, and also includes, from that heady decade, the Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere.” From the same era, the R&B classic “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” a hit for both Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight, gets a distinctive new reading here by White, as does Otis Redding’s timeless “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” The oldest tune, “Sleep Walk,” was a number one instrumental hit in 1959 by Santo and Johnny in the United States, but White actually heard it first by the Shadows, a British guitar combo massively popular in the U.K. that never really caught on in the States. For White, the challenge in interpreting such familiar music is in putting his own stamp on a number while retaining the characteristics that make it instantly recognizable.
“I like playing covers because if you can take a song that people know, by a well-known artist, and make it your own, then you have defined yourself as an artist,” he says. “Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley did that and no one complained. One of the purposes in my making these cover albums is that I want to be very faithful to the melody. But I ask myself, if I had just come up with this idea and it had never been recorded before, how would I record this song? Do I need to use any part of the original arrangement, and if I don’t then let’s not. On at least half the songs on this album, if you took my melody off, you would not recognize the song.”
Several songs on Groovin’ originated in the 1970s and ’80s, the decade that White considers his “cutoff point.” The Stevie Wonder track that follows “Groovin’” on the album is “Do I Do,” from 1982, and “Never Knew Love Like This Before,” originally recorded by Stephanie Mills, is also an ’80s-vintage track. “I Can See Clearly Now,” the classic reggae chart-topper by Johnny Nash, the Three Degrees’ Gamble and Huff-penned “When Will I See You Again” and “How Long,” the Paul Carrack-written hit by Ace, all stem from the first half of the ’70s. Once White narrowed down the material he wanted to include, he got to work on the arrangements. “You have to forget the original version,” he says. “I start with a beat and then I start playing the piano—most of these arrangements come from the piano.” Self-producing, White then worked out his guitar parts and fine-tuned the roles that the various musicians would play. Among them was drummer Ricky Lawson, a friend of White’s who passed away shortly after contributing to the album and to whom he dedicates Groovin’.

“A lot of the ideas on Groovin’ were left over from my last two cover songs albums,” White says. “I make song lists and go through them—‘Does this work? Does that work? Oh, that works.’ I had this list of songs and said, ‘Let’s see what happens.’”

In a way, “Let’s see what happens” has been White’s modus operandi since he first picked up a guitar. Influenced at first by folk music, he learned fingerstyle picking by listening to Simon and Garfunkel and Joni Mitchell recordings. An introduction to the revolutionary rock of Jimi Hendrix sent him scampering toward the electric guitar, but when his first model was destroyed in a fire he returned to the acoustic. He fell for the British blues of bands such as (early) Fleetwood Mac and was introduced to jazz by a friend. It was his ability to adapt his playing to multiple styles of music that got White noticed by British singer-songwriter Al Stewart—first as a pianist, then as a guitarist. White played on Stewart’s top 10 album Year of the Cat in 1976 and co-wrote the hit title track of the singer’s next album, “Time Passages.” White spent 20 years in all accompanying Stewart, and performed sideman duties for many other artists, but by 1990 he was ready to go out on his own.

“I was listening to the radio,” he recalls, “and they played a song I’d recorded with Al Stewart, ‘Ghostly Horses of the Plain,’ which was pretty much a guitar instrumental. The DJ comes on and says, ‘That was Al Stewart.’ I said, ‘No, that was me!’” From that point on, White began concentrating on his own music, composing and recording under his own name. His 1996 Caravan of Dreams album sold over 300,000 copies and by the early 2000s his shelf was bulging with awards for his virtuosic musicianship. “I never thought I’d be in the position of having a career playing my instrumental music,” White says. “When I started out, that wasn’t a road that was open to me. Then it worked.”

It’s still working. “I throw my net far and wide,” he says, “and don’t label it. It’s just instrumental music. I like to play nice songs on the guitar and I hope people like it.” Based on his stellar four-decade track record, and the instantly contagious grooves he’s created on Groovin’, that’s not going to be a problem.

Hiroshima

Performing Sunday, July 1

Named to the 2014 Top 20 CD charts by Smooth Jazz.com Hiroshima continues to be a force in the industry and continues to top the charts. With a musical career spanning three decades, gold records and 4 million in sales worldwide, Hiroshima continues to make their unique mix of East meets West – their signature sound.

Hiroshima released their latest new project #20, “Songs With Words” featuring two amazing guest artists Terry Steele and Yvette Nii, the vocalists who performed on the 2010 Grammy-nominated “Legacy.” Hiroshima does a live recording of their vocal hits through the years including “Roomful of Mirrors”  “Never, Ever,” “Dada,” and more for the exciting first and probably only all vocal CD. The CD was released on January 28, 2016 and features additional guests artists Latin percussionist extraordinaire Richie Gajeta-Garcia and legendary vocalist Jim Gilstrap on “Song with Words” A special bonus track “Do What You Can” Jam by Kuramoto features special vocal artists Vinx his velvety voice and drums, Vinx has an eclectic style unique to anyone else.

Vibrant, eclectic and truly original, the 2010 Grammy-nominated Hiroshima creates a musical world all its own. Featuring the luscious sound of June Kuramoto’s koto, and the interwoven fabrics of Jazz, Japan, Salsa and more, their CD, “journeys to the heart of their musical soul.”

In 1971, Duke Ellington recorded an album entitled The Afro-Eur­asian Eclipse. As part of that work, Ellington proclaimed “that whole world was going [Asian],” and that no one would know “who was in the shadow of whom.”

The celebrated ensemble known as Hiroshima is the fulfillment of Ellington’s prophecy. In the more than three decades since they first convened, the Los Angeles-based ensemble of Dan Kuramoto (keyboards/ woodwinds/ composer/ producer), virtuoso June Kuramoto (koto/ composer), Kimo Cornwell (piano/ keyboards/ composer), Danny Yamamoto (drums/percussion), Dean Cortez (bass) have blended jazz, pop, and rock with traditional Japanese folk music and instruments. The resulting sound was a pioneering voice in the contemporary world music movement of the late 20th century.

Ever evolving, the 2010 Grammy-nominated group, highlighted by the sound of June Kuramoto’s shimmering koto (noted by Stanley Clarke to be the world’s best) creates music and sounds totally unique–with depth, heart and soul.

After more than 30 years in the recording industry — and almost 4 million records sold – Hiroshima decided to leave record companies behind and venture on our own given the changes in the music industry and what it’s now going to take to survive

For Hiroshima – which takes its name from the Japanese city that sustained a nuclear blast during World War II, yet rose phoenix-like from its own ashes – the “ride” began in the poly­glot metropolis of Los Angeles. Of all of the members, only June Kuramoto was born in Japan. She arrived in Los Angeles when she was six and lived in an African-American neighbor­hood.

 

ABOUT THE BAND 

JUNE KURAMOTO

koto

Born in Saitama-ken, Japan and raised in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles, June epitomizes America’s evolving art and music culture. Almost by destiny renowned koto master Madame Kazue Kudo, protégé of Japan’s most famous kotoist and composer Michio Miyagi, immigrated to the United States and began teaching koto in June’s family home. Using her grandmother’s koto, June, only six years old, found a ‘connection’ for her life in the instrument and Japanese music.

Subsequently June received classical degrees in koto from the Miyagi School of Koto in Japan through Kudo Sensei (teacher). Along the way she has performed with some of the greatest musicians in the classical world from Japanese masters to Ravi Shankar. But being an American artist she wanted somehow to integrate this music that is her life with the American culture and music that she loves.

June met an eccentric artist-musician named Dan, and they began merging her koto music with the diverse musical environment of Los Angeles. This was the beginning of Hiroshima. June has since been the driving artistic force of Hiroshima creating a multi-cultural musical statement.

Her many recording credits include George Duke, Manhattan Transfer, Taste of Honey, Teddy Pendergrass, Stanley Clarke, Keiko Matsui, Angela Bofill, David Benoit, and Ozomatli. She can also be heard on television and movie scores including “Heroes (NBC),” “East Meets West (Food Channel),” “Simply Ming (PBS),” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Last Samurai,” and “Black Rain.” Commercials include Suntory Light (Japan) and Hawaiian Electric Company (Hawaii).

 

DAN KURAMOTO

woodwinds, keyboards, shakuhachi

A college art student from East Los Angeles, supporting himself by working as a sports specialist for L.A. County parks and recreation, Dan picked up the flute as a kind of diversion to his post-hippy lifestyle. With the evolution of ethnic studies on the college campus, and armed with a bachelor’s in fine arts (painting and drawing), he found himself as the first department chairman of Asian-American studies at Cal State University at Long Beach. Searching for a ‘voice,’ as an Asian-American and an artist, he continued to teach for three years, but decided that university life was not immediate enough for him. He also found that playing music for various community fund-raisers provided a kind of expression that became a passion.

Fueled by the work of the jazz artists he loved, and the incredible creative energy of contemporaries like Earth, Wind and Fire, Santana, and Jimi Hendrix, Dan saw music as the vehicle to give voice to his Japanese-American heritage, and to claim what he feels is America’s greatest resource — its diversity. He then met June and her virtuosity as a classical Japanese musician, and her desire to create a ‘new music’ inspired their collaboration that became the birth of Hiroshima. Principal composer, producer and leader of the band, his voluminous credits include musical arranger for the Los Angeles and New York productions of “Zoot Suit,” Emmy winning composer for “Bean Sprouts,” composer, Showtime min-series, “Home Fires,” and over 30 plays and movies. His shakuhachi credits include, “Black Rain,” “Pearl Harbor,” “The Thin Red Line,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

 

KIMO CORNWELL

piano, keyboards

Kimo (Hawaiian for James), was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. This amiable keyboard genius of Hawaiian, Chinese and English ancestry grew up in Kalihi and graduated from Farrington High School. Blessed with the love of music and a palate for ‘plate lunch,’ Kimo soon became renown as one of the best keyboard players from the islands.

After playing and recording with most of the top groups in Hawaii, Kimo moved to Los Angeles to try his hand in the ‘mainland’ music scene. Immediately discovered by touring groups, Kimo hit the road first with Cheryl Lynn (“To Be Real”), and then with a succession of artists including Ronnie Laws, John Klemmer, Al Jarreau, Frankie Beverly and Maze – and Hiroshima. During the mid-eighties, sought after by Hiroshima, Jarreau, and Maze, he chose to become a fulltime mainstay with the band. Working in the capacity of keyboardist, composer, arranger and producer he has become part of the heart and soul of the band and its music.

He continues to work with other artists, writing and producing, and has worked on several record film and television projects with Dan as co-composer and arranger.

 

DANNY YAMAMOTO

drums, percussion, taiko

A graduate of Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, Danny has had a lifelong love affair with music. Beginning with the accordion, reflective of his eclectic tastes in art and music, he has played virtually all the instruments in a band, but as a tool for self-expression, the drums became his voice. At Dorsey, he found himself in a jazz trio along with bassist (now musician-producer) Larry Klein and pianist (now Downbeat award-winning jazz keyboard­ist) Billy Childs.

After such a luminous start, he settled in as a music major at UCLA, expanding into ethnomusicology. Playing and recording with a variety of groups, he also became involved with Hiroshima, ultimately becoming a principal member. He has continued to both study and perform in a myriad of musical settings, from TV and film sessions to taiko gigs. After a significant tenure studying drumming techniques with the renowned Freddy Gruber, he has himself become a teacher.

 

DEAN CORTEZ

bass

Originally from Miami Beach, Florida, Dean comes from a musical family (his dad was a touring percussionist), and started out playing string bass in youth symphonies. His family moved to Southern California, where he added the electric bass. By the time he graduated high school, Dean was the regular bassist with the famed Latin percussionist/ singer Wille Bobo. A founding member of the seminal Latin-fusion band ‘Caldera,’ Dean recorded two albums with them before becoming the bassist on the Boz Skaggs World Tour.

He has since played on over 300 recording sessions, ranging from film, television, and records—including Hiroshima’s first release in 1979. Having played on virtually every Hiroshima album as a session bassist, Dean became a regular in the band during the “East (1988)” tour.

 

On the web

http://www.hiroshimamusic.com

https://www.facebook.com/hiroshimamusic

http://www.facebook.com/junekuramoto

https://twitter.com/hiroshimamusic

 

 

Dave Koz
Summer Horns

Performing Sunday, July 1

featuring Gerald Albright, Rick Braun, Richard Elliot and Introducing Aubrey Logan

In a career that spans more than a quarter century, nine GRAMMY® nominations, nine No. 1 albums on Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, numerous world tours, playing for multiple presidents and a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, saxophonist Dave Koz has maintained a commitment to celebrating the magic of the holiday season like few other artists of his genre or generation. Since 1997, Koz has assembled a stellar lineup and taken them on the road every December to ring in the most wonderful time of the year with audiences across the U.S.

The tradition continues in 2017 as Koz celebrates a milestone anniversary with a recording that features the tour’s earliest original lineup. Dave Koz and Friends 20th Anniversary Christmas, released on Concord Records in 2017, reunites Koz with pianist David Benoit, trumpeter/flugelhornist Rick Braun and acoustic guitarist Peter White. Also on hand are a cadre of highly talented vocalists – Selina Albright, Javier Colon, Kenny Lattimore, Gabriel Orengo and Jeffrey Osborne – and the Lisbon, Portugal-based West European Symphony Orchestra.

“The songs on Dave Koz and Friends 20th Anniversary Christmas are all very important to those of us who recorded them,” says Koz. “We’ve poured a lot of love and care into them, and we hope people feel those same emotions when they hear them.”

The lineup on Dave Koz and Friends 20th Anniversary Christmas is just the latest in a long list of artists with whom Koz has collaborated over the years: Burt Bacharach, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Luther Vandross, Shelby Lynne, Kenny Loggins, U2 and Michael McDonald, to name a few. A platinum-selling artist, Koz is also known as a humanitarian, entrepreneur, radio host and instrumental music advocate.

Born and raised in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, Koz initially just saw the saxophone as a way to gain entry into his big brother’s band. What began as a ploy became a life-long obsession. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in mass-communications, Koz decided to become a professional musician. Within weeks of that decision, he was recruited as a touring member of Bobby Caldwell’s band. It was during this time that Koz befriended keyboardist Jeff Lorber, who invited Koz to play on one of his tours. That stint was followed by a fourteen-month tour with pop singer Richard Marx.

Signed to Capitol records by Bruce Lundvall in 1987, Koz released his self-titled solo debut album in the fall of 1990. This was the first installment in a large body of best-selling work, which includes the gold-certified Lucky Man (1993), Off the Beaten Path (1996), and the holiday-themed albums December Makes Me Feel This Way (1997) and Dave Koz & Friends: A Smooth Jazz Christmas (2001). His gold-certified fifth album, The Dance (1999), spawned no less than five Top 5 contemporary jazz hits. Saxophonic (2003) produced another four Top 5 singles and garnered two GRAMMY® nominations in two consecutive years.

In 2007, Koz released two chart-topping collections of standards. At the Movies, his lush, romantic celebration of timeless melodies from cinema, spent 12 weeks atop Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz chart. Produced by the legendary Phil Ramone, it was nominated for a GRAMMY® in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category. Memories of a Winter’s Night, a festive collection of holiday standards, hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz chart in December 2007. Dave Koz At The Movies Double Feature CD + DVD followed in early 2008, which featured the At the Movies CD with two previously unreleased bonus audio tracks, a new DVD and a track-by-track commentary.

Capitol Records released Dave Koz: Greatest Hits, his first ever retrospective album, in the fall of 2008 and it debuted at No. 1 on both Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and iTunes’ Jazz Album chart. The collection included many of Koz’s smash singles – including “Castle of Dreams,” “Can’t Let You Go” (featuring Luther Vandross), “Together Again,” “Honey-Dipped” and “All I See Is You” – plus four brand new songs. The lead single, “Life in the Fast Lane,” which Koz co-wrote with writer/producer Darren Rahn, spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the R&R Monitored Smooth Jazz chart. It was followed by the Top 5 single, “Bada Bing.”

Hello Tomorrow, Dave’s first album for Concord Records, debuted at No. 1 on both Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and iTunes’ Jazz Album chart, and was named Best Smooth Jazz Album of 2010 by iTunes. The CD was nominated for a GRAMMY® Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album. Hailed as “an event record” by The New York Times, its lead single, ‘Put the Top Down,” spent 18 weeks at No. 1 on the Mediabase Smooth A/C chart – the longest stint at No. 1 of any of Koz’s chart-topping hits. Ultimate Christmas, featuring 18 perennial holiday classics performed by Koz, bowed in 2011 on Capitol/EMI. Live at the Blue Note Tokyo, Koz’s first live CD, was released by Concord Records in 2012 and received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Album.

Koz and his friends Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot and Mindi Abair turned to producer Paul Brown (Al Jarreau, George Benson, Boney James) to help them realize the vision for 2013’s Summer Horns (Concord Records), which paid tribute to the high-octane, richly arranged horn sections that fueled so many hits in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The album also features trumpeter/flugelhornist Rick Braun, trombonist Brian Culbertson, vocalists Michael McDonald, Jeffrey Osborne and Jonathan Butler – plus arrangements by Greg Adams (Tower of Power) and Tom Scott (Michael Jackson, Steely Dan). Topping it off is a sax-only rendition of “Take Five” with Gordon Goodwin offering his arrangement to the quartet and a new original composition, “Summer Horns.” The album was honored with a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Album and an NAACP Image Awards nomination for Outstanding Jazz Album.

Koz’s 2014 holiday recording, The 25th of December (Concord Records), was his eighth album to top Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart. Produced by Rickey Minor, it featured collaborations with India.Arie, Eric Benet, Jonathan Butler, Gloria Estefan, Fantasia, Kenny G, Heather Headley, Richard Marx, Johnny Mathis, Trombone Shorty, BeBe Winans and Stevie Wonder. The first single – an all-star rendition of The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” – beautifully captured the spirit of the season and was a Top 5 hit on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz Songs chart. Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart in August 2015 while the lead single, “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” with Kenny Lattimore and Rick Braun, entered the Top 5 at Smooth A/C and Jazz Radio.\

Koz is constantly touring, with annual summer jaunts (“Side By Side” with David Sanborn and Larry Graham) and holiday tours (Dave Koz and Friends Christmas) and the highly successful Dave Koz & Friends at Sea cruises – which included two back-to-back cruises to “Venice and Beyond” in 2017 and two upcoming back-to-back cruises in Scandinavia and The Baltic scheduled for May 2018. He’s also planning another Summer Horns tour in conjunction with a second Summer Horns recording, both of which are scheduled for 2018.

Koz recently recorded the new theme song for ESPN’s “The Jump” debuting in the Fall of 2017. Koz is also prominently featured on the track “La Dee Da” from the forthcoming Foo Fighters album Concrete and Gold.

Beyond the stage and studio, he continues to flex his mass communication muscles as a radio personality. As host of his syndicated Dave Koz Radio Show, he has been broadcasting coast-to-coast and internationally for nearly 25 years. In the spring of 2014, he launched The Dave Koz Lounge, which airs Sundays on SiriusXM satellite radio, and Dave Koz & Friends Radio, a 24-hour radio channel personally curated by Dave on JAZZRADIO.com, a multicultural internet radio service.

As an entrepreneur, Koz founded Rendezvous Entertainment. In 2015, always looking to flex his “hospitality muscles,” he partnered with Southern California restaurateurs Cary Hardwick and Laurie Sisneros to open Citizen Beverly Hills, a restaurant in the golden triangle that focuses on a shared plate menu and craft cocktails.

As a philanthropist, Koz has served as global ambassador for the Starlight Children’s Foundation for more than 20 years – an organization for which he has raised more than a half-million dollars. Dave donates all his proceeds from KOZ Wines, founded in 2009, to Starlight. The wines are available at Whole Foods Markets and online http://www.davekoz.com. Two wines from Koz’s partnership with premium Santa Barbara winemaker Terravant picked up Gold and Best of Class awards in the 2014 Los Angeles International Wine Competition.

Koz completed a four-year term on the GRAMMY® Foundation Artists Committee and has served as National Trustee for the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS).

 

Jazz Funk Soul

Performing Saturday, June 30

Pianist, composer and producer Jeff Lorber has been a major innovator on the creative music scene for over three decades. Along with maestros Herbie Hancock, Joe Sample and Bob James, Lorber is a groundbreaking Fender Rhodes pioneer. Having produced for everyone from Dave Koz to Kenny G, the Grammy nominated pianist’s long running acclaimed ensemble, Jeff Lorber Fusion, was a major force in contemporary jazz’s early beginnings. The Berklee College of Music alums latest releases are his Grammy nominated Hacienda and 2015’s Step It Up featuring Jeff Lorber Fusion.

Everette Harp’s soulful and trademark blend of jazz, R&B, funk and pop have made him a favorite among fans, fellow musicians and critics alike. Harp’s impressive career that has allowed him to collaborate with everyone from Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Anita Baker, Luther Vandross and Patti Labelle to George Duke, Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel and Kenny Loggins. Harp has left an indelible imprint on the scene with his own unique, muscular and soulful approach. His work on TV has brought his saxophone into the homes of millions who have heard him playing the theme songs for such popular TV shows as Entertainment Tonight and Soul Train. He also holds the distinction of being a former member of the posse on the first Arsenio Hall Show. A graduate of North Texas State University, Harp hosts the radio program Smooth Jazz Odyssey with Everette Harp on WLOQ in Orlando, FL. His latest solo release is First Love.

Paul Jackson, Jr. is regarded as one of the most recorded guitarists in the world. He has seven previous successful albums, containing several top ten releases to include Grammy nominated “I Came to Play”. In 2014, Jackson contributed to several tracks on the album, Random Access Memories by Daft Punk, which garnered 5 Grammy Awards and was the #1 album in 104 countries. Jackson earned a Grammy recognition for his contribution to the album.

Paul has appeared on many television shows and specials and was a band regular on: NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Fox’s American Idol and ABC Greatest Hits. Jackson has performed at many Festivals, including Berks, Montreaux, North Sea Jazz, Capital Jazz, JVC Hollywood Bowl, Playboy, JVC Concord and many others.Jackson has recorded with multiple superstars such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Barbara Streisand, Celine Dion, Quincy Jones, Luther Vandross, Marcus Miller, Kirk Whalum, Elton John and of course George Duke to name a few.

The new project, Stories from Stompin’ Willie is a CD about musical friendships garnered over several years. Specifically Jackson’s long time relationship with keyboard legend George Duke, who nicknamed Jackson, Stompin’ Willie. This project features many of Paul’s old friends like Jeff Lorber, Karen Briggs, Michael Lington, Tom Scott, Ndugu Chancelor, Byron Miller, Patrice Rushen, and the entire Rickey Minor Band.

Brian Culbertson

Performing Saturday, July 30

Brian Culbertson is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer known for his distinct brand of genre-crossing contemporary jazz, R&B and funk. Mining the urban sounds of musically-rich Chicago, he began his musical studies on piano at age eight and quickly picked up several other instruments by the time he was twelve, including drums, trombone, bass and euphonium. Inspired by the iconic R&B-jazz-pop artists of the 1970s like Earth, Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, Chicago, David Sanborn and others, Culbertson started composing original music for his seventh grade piano recital and hasn’t stopped since, amassing 30 Billboard No. 1 singles (and counting!) and a deep catalogue of 18 albums, most of which have topped the Billboard contemporary jazz charts.

Having worked and performed with countless industry all-stars such as Michael McDonald, Chris Botti, Ledisi, Barry Manilow, Herb Alpert, Natalie Cole, Maurice White (EWF), Chuck Brown and Bootsy Collins just to name a few, Culbertson has won numerous awards and accolades along with nominations from the NAACP Image Awards and Soul Train Awards. In 2012, he founded the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, a flourishing wine, music and lifestyle experience for which he also serves as artistic director.

With love, romance and his recent twentieth wedding anniversary serving as his inspiration, Culbertson crafted thirteen new songs that will be released as “Colors of Love” on Valentine’s Day. The seduction begins with the first single, the amorous title track, which is a sensual R&B groove illuminated by lyrical acoustic piano melodies typical of the collection’s contents. A nearly three-month-long U.S. concert tour will bring “Colors of Love” to life in a vivid theatrical production, incorporating video elements in a major way.

Regardless of his success and numerous accomplishments, fans can rest assured that Culbertson always brings his very best – and brings the very best out of others – in all of his broad-ranging musical and creative endeavors.

Eric Darius

Performing Saturday June 30

Saxophonist, composer, producer, and vocalist Eric Darius likes to play by his own rules. Fearlessly pushing all musical boundaries, he is one of the most exciting musicians to enter the Contemporary Jazz scene in the last decade. His explosive arrival as a recording artist at the age of 17 caused a frenzy worldwide! Now, with six critically acclaimed albums under his belt, a Number One hit single, and Seven Top 10 radio hits on Nielsen’s R&R/Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts, international recording artist, Eric Darius’ star continues to rise straight to the top. Prophetically hailed Debut Artist of the Year by Smooth Jazz News in 2004, Eric has shared the stage with innumerable world renown, Grammy Award-winning artists, such as Prince, Jamie Foxx, Mary J. Blige, David Foster, Carlos Santana, Babyface, Wynton Marsalis & George Benson, just to name a few. His music innovatively crosses over all music boundaries from Jazz, R&B, Hip-Hop, to Pop, creating a very distinctive, fresh sound and approach that is uniquely his own.

“Artists such as Prince, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Miles Davis have always inspired me because of their fearlessness to express themselves freely from a musical standpoint and allow their music to evolve with each album,” states Eric Darius. Hailing from a musical family with rich traditions in Caribbean music (his father is from Haiti and his mother is from Jamaica), Eric realized his calling for music at an early age. “I remember being nine years old and hearing a saxophonist play at my church. I instantly loved the sound…I remember being blown away by the soul and emotion of the instrument. It was as if I could almost hear the words and lyrics with each note being played…it was at that point that I fell in love with the instrument. The saxophone has a way of connecting with people in a way that no other instrument does. To me, its expressions are closest to the human voice.” Darius is one of those musicians who was fortunate to benefit from music programs in the school system. As a result, the young musician has made it a mission to pay it forward and has spent a considerable amount of time exposing young students to music in the public school system with his On A Mission in the Schools campaign. He shares, “It is important to me that these types of music programs remain available for children. One of my goals is to expose young kids to music with substance and to help make them aware that music can be an outlet for their emotions…that it can be a positive influence in their lives. By age eleven—after only playing for one year—Eric was chosen to be in Sonny LaRosa and America’s Youngest Jazz Band, which consisted of young musicians, ages five to twelve. The group toured the country and even played at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

Throughout Eric’s young but already dynamic career, he’s had the tremendous opportunity to travel and perform worldwide with numerous groups. Even as a high school student at Blake High School of the Performing Arts and college student at the University of South Florida in Tampa, he had the fortune to travel internationally at such a young age. “My goal is to really help bridge the generational gap and make music that has infinite possibilities,” concludes Eric Darius.

With the release of Retro Forward, Eric Darius is building bridges, forging new paths and ensuring that his heartfelt, organic and honest approach to the music will stand the test of time. Whether he’s being featured on FOX’s hit TV show, The X Factor, or TNT’s hit drama series, Mob City, Eric’s presence is definitely being felt in the entertainment world. He continues to be an artist that knows no boundaries and a force that is unequalled in today’s musical landscape.