Hot jazz and soul in the desert: Arizona Jazz Festival‏


Hot jazz and soul in the desert

Robin Thicke, Maxwell, Charlie Wilson, Erykah Badu, Keyshia Cole and jazz headliners

will heat up the Arizona Jazz Festival on October 25-27, 2013.

Phoenix, Arizona (29 August 2013): The endless Arizona sky will be filled with a galaxy of stars day and night during the Arizona Jazz Festival slated for October 25-27, 2013 at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona. More than 13,000 contemporary jazz and soul fans from across the nation are expected to flock to the lavish desert resort to enjoy performances by a stellar slate of Grammy-winners and chart-toppers along with a weekend of revelry. Tickets are on sale now for the three-day festival or as a single-day event and are available online at and by calling 602.244.8444.

The Arizona Jazz Festival opens with an evening of seduction starting with the tantalizing pairing of saxophonist Eric Darius and R&B vocalist-producer Lyfe Jennings, who will set the mood for marquee-topper Maxwell, a Grammy-winning soul balladeer. Stick around for the official after-party at the resort.

Live music begins Saturday when nattily-attired guitarist Nick Colionne and new jazz swagger sax player J. White hit the stage followed by a trio set by saxophonists Warren Hill and Tom Braxton with blues-based guitar slinger Jeff Golub. Powerhouse tenors Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot and Euge Groove will blow a fierce sax storm in the desert before ten-time Grammy winner Chaka Khan belts out a song list filled with her massive crossover hits. The Queen of Neo Soul Erykah Badu will reign over majestic grooves and Baduizms preceding a set by “Uncle” Charlie Wilson, a 2013 BET lifetime achievement award winner, crooning cuts from his Grammy-nominated R&B songbook. After the concert, a number of the festival artists will head into the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa for an all-star jam.

It’s going to be a great-looking Sunday when saxophonists Jessy J and Michael Lington link with keyboardist Jonathan Fritzen to open the final day followed by a neo soul session from vocalist Eric Benet. Emerging saxmen Elan Trotman and Dominic Amato will accompany R&B chanteuse Melanie Fiona for an outing. Captivating multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson will inject a potent dose of funk-jazz into the mix during a high-octane performance before fellow blue-eyed soul man Robin Thicke blurs the lines during a set list certain to include the #1 summer smash “Blurred Lines.” Closing the festival is edgy multiplatinum R&B personality and reality television star Keyshia Cole.

“We pulled out all the stops for the Arizona Jazz Festival, which is perhaps the most spectacular lineup we have ever presented. While every festival that produces and promotes is special, this is our hometown festival. We look forward to hosting guests from all over the U.S. that are passionate about jazz and R&B. It’s going to be an unforgettable weekend of live music and partying,” said Brad Laughlin of, which also produces the Las Vegas Jazz Festival and the San Diego Jazz Festival.

The Arizona Jazz Festival offers reserved seating with ticket prices starting at $240.00 for the entire weekend or $65.00 for a single-day seat. For the enthusiast, tickets can be upgraded to include the Rock Star Experience that provides VIP tent access, a complimentary meal and drinks, artist meet & greets, Arizona Jazz Festival commemorative bag, t-shirt, poster and laminate, and entry to the Friday night after-party and Saturday night all-star jam.


Phoenix, Arizona-based is one of the premiere concert producers in the Southwest. Among the star-studded jazz and R&B concerts and multiday music and lifestyle festivals that the company promotes are the Arizona Jazz Festival (, Las Vegas Jazz Festival ( and San Diego Jazz Festival (

This Christmas will be a very special Christmas for Jonathan Butler


This Christmas will be a very special Christmas for Jonathan Butler

Singer-songwriter-guitarist will release “Merry Christmas To You” on October 1

and embark upon the Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour this holiday season.

Sherman Oaks, Calif. (28 August 2013): Santa Claus has a special treat to stuff in the stockings of all the good Jonathan Butler fans this Christmas: the first Christmas album by the two-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter-guitarist. Butler produced and arranged “Merry Christmas To You,” which will be released October 1 by Artistry Music. Two singles will be shipped to multiple radio formats this holiday season: an instrumental take on “Sleigh Ride” decorated with hallmarks from the South African native’s homeland, and the album’s title track, which is a retro-flavored R&B/adult contemporary ballad penned by Butler.

Butler recorded eight Christmas chestnuts for the collection and penned a pair of new songs, including “Happy Holidays,” an ardent urban groove ornamented with riffs of cool jazz guitar. High-profile hornmen Dave Koz, Rick Braun and Paul “Shilts” Weimer contribute to the festivities on a couple of tracks as does Butler’s daughter, vocalist Jodie Butler, and bassist Dan Lutz, who plays upright on a tune, but the heart of the intimate recording is Butler solo pouring his impassioned voice and acoustic guitar into the seasonal songs. His arresting performances and sparse production captivates, fostering an air of freshness to the evergreen material.

“These songs are beautiful on their own so I felt they didn’t need a lot of instrumentation. Plus I wanted my fans to have a personal Christmas message from me. That is why the CD has very little production and plenty of voice and guitar. It’s a very proud moment for me to finally have a Christmas record, which has been a long time coming. I hope fans feel blessed and uplifted when they play it at home or in their car or wherever they may be. I truly thank God for giving me the strength and the opportunity to make this album,” said Butler, who lives in California’s San Fernando Valley with his family.

The “Merry Christmas To You” album opens with an energizing version of the Donny Hathaway soul classic “This Christmas.” Butler applies South African vocalization, chanting and rhythmic percussion to “Little Drummer Boy.” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “The First Noel,” “O Holy Night” and the lesser known “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” are presented starkly featuring show-stopping performances by the devoutly inspired man with his guitar.

Beginning November 30, Butler will venture out on a three-week U.S. concert swing performing on the Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour during which he will share the stage with the charismatic sax star as well as keyboardist Keiko Matsui and vocalist Oleta Adams.

A former child star, Butler was the first black artist played on radio stations in South Africa. The hint of grit in his expressive voice reflects the pain he endured growing up under Apartheid, the youngest of 17 children. A true artist who refuses to segregate his music, Butler’s recordings consist of vocal and instrumental hits and enduring fan favorites spanning R&B, contemporary jazz, gospel, adult contemporary, pop and world beat stylings. The natural-born performer’s radiant spirit shines brightly through his beaming smile and twinkling eyes. Additional information is available at

The songs comprising Butler’s “Merry Christmas To You” are:

“This Christmas”

“Sleigh Ride”

“Merry Christmas To You”

“Happy Holidays”

“Little Drummer Boy”

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

“Sweet Little Jesus Boy”

“The First Noel”

“O Holy Night”

The Beauty Behind The Sax… Jeanette Harris

She’s talented, confident, humble, and has a great sense of humor. As a child, she was intrigued by the photo on a Grover Washington, Jr. cassette tape. That fascination with the sax led Jeanette Harris to become a saxophone player. She has an undeniable sound that’s uniquely her own and shares reflections of herself in each song. On stage and off, Jeanette is dedicated to being the best at what she does. From exhilarating performances to incredible song writing, she has enhanced the world of Smooth Jazz. Her cd “Summer Rain” offers something for everyone. From the teasing “Take Me There” or up-tempo “The Ride,” to the Latin glazed “Muy Caliente,” you can feel the positive vibe she delivers.

Jeanette and I share conversation.

Jeanette Harris
Jeanette Harris
Jeanette Harris
Jeanette Harris

Saxophonist Greg Chambers

Greg Chambers’ passion for contemporary/smooth jazz is very evident when you hear his melodies flow from one song to the other on his third cd release “After Hours.” He has been playing the saxophone since the age of 8. At that young age he wasn’t aware that he would be playing for a living. Following his love for the saxophone ultimately led him to UCLA where he earned a Masters of Music Degree in Saxophone. Greg’s training and talent enabled him to work with some of the best in classical music. Those opportunities he is grateful to have been a part of. However, Chambers had to follow his passion. His decision then, and now three record’s later he’s proven that he’s exactly where he should be. He feels that being versatile is very important, and his transition to smooth jazz was an easy one. For his latest project Greg collaborated with Paul Brown, Jonathan Fritzen, Ross Bolton, Louis Fasman, and Darren Rahn. “After Hours” is a combination of grooves that take you on an up-tempo journey with “Groovin’ High”, then mellows you out with beautiful songs like “Chelsea’s Song”, and “Your Place Or Mine.”

Listen as Greg and I discuss his career and music.

Greg Chambers
Greg Chambers

Jazz jackpot: Jazz and soul stars to light up the City of Lights September 27-29, 2013‏


Jazz jackpot: Jazz and soul stars to light up the City of Lights

Las Vegas Jazz Festival slated for September 27-29, 2013 headlines Charlie Wilson, India.Arie, Jeffrey Osborne, Euge Groove, Kem and Anthony Hamilton

Phoenix, Arizona (8 August 2013): More than 24 contemporary jazz and R&B high rollers promise to make the Las Vegas Jazz Festival a winning bet. Tickets are now on sale for the 3-day music and lifestyle event to be held at the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa on September 27-29, 2013 showcasing Grammy-winning and nominated soul singers and chart-topping instrumentalists.

The opening night of the Las Vegas Jazz Festival boasts a funky Friday lineup headlined by 2013 BET Lifetime Achievement Award winner Charlie Wilson, a 6-time Grammy-nominated vocalist who won a Soul Train Icon Award in 2009. A soulful pairing comprised of saxophonist Eric Darius and platinum-selling R&B singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Lyfe Jennings will take the stage first.

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter India.Arie, veteran R&B crooner Jeffrey Osborne and saxman Euge Groove top the marquee on Saturday. Grammy-winning guitarist Norman Brown and sax powerhouse Richard Elliot join forces for a session filled with R&B grooves. Emerging sax player Dominic Amato will perform a mid-afternoon show following a trio segment featuring saxophonists Michael Lington and Jessy J with keyboardist Jonathan Fritzen. The day will begin with a hit-filled performance by saxophonist Paul Taylor, a Las Vegas native.

The closing program of the Las Vegas Jazz Festival presents two-time Grammy-nominated soul vocalist Kem followed by Grammy-winning soul singer Anthony Hamilton. Soul-jazz guitarist Jeff Golub unites with saxmen Warren Hill and Tom Braxton for what bodes to be a blues-singed set. Guitarist Nick Colionne brings Chicago-style fire and flamboyant fashion to his shows. Sax Pack Steve Cole, Jeff Kashiwa and Jackiem Joyner – always delivers a high-octane performance. The final day gets underway with Jazz in Pink, a trio of talented women consisting of keyboardist Gail Jhonson, violinist Karen Briggs and saxophonist Paula Atherton.

Tickets can be purchased for the entire Las Vegas Jazz Festival or as single-day events, but’s Brad Laughlin, the producer and promoter of the festival, encourages guests to come for the weekend.

“Part of the magic of our jazz festivals is when guests come and totally immerse themselves in the music and lifestyle experience for the entire weekend. One of the reasons we produce our events at first-class resorts like the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa is to foster that feeling of community that takes place when concert goers spend the weekend enjoying the live music along with the plush accommodations and top-notch facilities. In addition to the extraordinary shows we go to great length to produce, our festivals are an opportunity for people to getaway, relax, socialize, network and form relationships. These aren’t just concerts; they are fun mini-vacations and our guests fly in from all over the country to join the party,” said Laughlin, whose company also produces the Arizona Jazz Festival and the San Diego Jazz Festival.

Starting at $65.00 for single-day ticket and $285.00 for a 3-day seat, tickets for the Las Vegas Jazz Festival are available online at and by phone at 602.244.8444.

Additional information about the Las Vegas Jazz Festival is available at


Phoenix, Arizona-based is one of the premiere concert producers in the Southwest. Among the star-studded jazz and R&B concerts and multiday music and lifestyle festivals that the company promotes are the Arizona Jazz Festival (, Las Vegas Jazz Festival ( and San Diego Jazz Festival (


It isn’t often that I hear someone say that they have truly found their purpose in life and are living their dream. After talking to Melody Warren, I knew she was one of those people. She’s a savvy business woman who loves the arts, fashion, and jazz. She left the corporate world to create an event planning company called Multifaceted Exquisite Events Incorporated. She would soon add THE MELODY IN M.E.E., and THE JAZZ IN M.E.E. to the company. It didn’t take long for her journey to begin and for her vision to be realized and recognized. She has garnered a huge fan base acquiring 190,000 hits per month on her website. Fans and jazz musicians alike have become huge supporters of Melody, and appreciate all she’s doing for jazz and the arts. I personally admire her spirit and tenacity. She has created a product that is diverse, artsy, and informative. Take a look at the July issue of JAZZ IN M.E.E. CLICK HERE TO VIEW MAGAZINE July Issue – KEIKO MATSUI

Learn more about THE JAZZ IN M.E.E.

Melody Warren
Melody Warren

                                    PRESS RELEASE                                      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT: Melody Warren                                     Magazine-Logo (1) (1)



Multifaceted Exquisite Events Inc. Founder to Debut                               

THE JAZZ IN M.E.E. Magazine Inaugural Issue

January 2013

Houston, Texas —  THE JAZZ IN M.E.E. magazine is set to officially launch January 2013.

THE JAZZ IN M.E.E. is an affiliate of Multifaceted Exquisite Events Inc. News and Media division. THE JAZZ IN M.E.E., based in Houston, hosts and reports on jazz, literary and art events nationally. THE JAZZ IN M.E.E. is the newest addition to the M.E.E. network, targeting devotees to jazz and the arts. This online magazine will include dynamic cover stories, trendy Jazz Watch music reviews, boldly stylish CD releases, trend setting blog updates, enchantingly cool featured festival insights, informative “Inside M.E.E.” reports and other consequential jazz information.

The magazine was developed after the success of In the Jazzy Limelight, an online article profiling various jazz artists. In the Jazzy Limelight has reached over 180,000 readers in 25 countries, with highest international views in Japan, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, France, and the United Kingdom. Readers of the online feature have a passion for jazz vacations, explorations and getaways. These topics will continue to be explored and expanded upon with the launch of THE JAZZ IN M.E.E.

THE JAZZ IN M.E.E. was created to be a platform to showcase, support, advocate, market and promote the love of jazz, the artists, musicians, enthusiasts and supporters of this magnificent genre of music and the events that are a springboard for its success. M.E.E. is on a mission to keep jazz and its artists in the forefront. THE JAZZ IN M.E.E. aims to be an informative, inspiring and entertaining jazz style of living magazine where readers can find in-depth feature articles and columns pertaining to everything jazz with an artistic flair.

The JAZZ IN M.E.E. is the creation of jazz advocate Melody Warren, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief. Warren describes her passion for jazz, “My love affair with jazz started years ago! I have fallen madly in love with the art form, the artists, the musicians, and those who support this genre of music. Jazz fits perfectly into my creative and artistic disposition, which is in close proximity to fashion and the arts. These three facets of beauty have always played an integral part of my life. So falling head over heels for the true American art form of jazz was totally understandable”.

The M.E.E. network includes Multifaceted Exquisite Events Inc, THE JAZZ IN M.E.E., THE MELODY IN M.E.E. and GLAM.

With positive feedback after the release of In the Jazzy Limelight last year, Warren is now set to launch THE JAZZ IN M.E.E. magazine in January to connect jazz enthusiasts to the artists, music, products and services offered by jazz and the arts.


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SiriusXM Watercolors Jazz Hall of Fame

Saluting music legends with the formation of the

SiriusXM Watercolors Jazz Hall of Fame

David Sanborn, Earl Klugh and Grover Washington Jr. are the first artists slated for induction during a ceremony aboard The Smooth Jazz Cruise in October

St. Louis, Missouri (5 August 2013): Young musicians fantasize about one day being a hall of famer yet contemporary jazz artists were left only to dream. Until now. SiriusXM’s Watercolors, the leading satellite radio channel devoted to the genre, is forming the SiriusXM Watercolors Jazz Hall of Fame to honor the legacies of its pioneering artists. Contemporary jazz icons David Sanborn, Earl Klugh and the late Grover Washington Jr. constitute the inaugural class that will be inducted into the music hall during a ceremony held aboard The Smooth Jazz Cruise this October 18th.

image001-1SiriusXM’s Vice President of Programming Trinity Colon believes that “The timing of the creation of a SiriusXM Watercolors Jazz Hall of Fame is perfect. This genre has been successful over many decades, long enough to establish a wonderful history and a clear past, present and future. Our goal is to make sure that the visionary artists who helped develop and further this music genre are honored and remembered. In so doing, it helps define our present and ensure the music’s future.”

Saxophonist Sanborn and guitarist Klugh will perform during the induction ceremony that will air on SiriusXM’s Watercolors while Washington Jr.’s contributions will be recognized by an all-star salute featuring some of the artists aboard The Smooth Jazz Cruise, including fellow sax players Boney James, Richard Elliot, Candy Dulfer, Euge Groove and Jackiem Joyner. Cruise performers Brian Culbertson, Marcus Miller, Tower of Power, Jonathan Butler, Rick Braun, Norman Brown, Oleta Adams, Kenny Lattimore and Brian Simpson may also take part in the festivities aboard the 7-day cruise sailing this October 12-19 from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and the Baja Coast.

“The Smooth Jazz Cruise is elated to work with SiriusXM’s Watercolors to honor the amazing musicians deserving of recognition for their seminal creative accomplishments. We have been blessed to partner with Watercolors over the years and hosting their Jazz Hall of Fame induction ceremony is very special,” said Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director of The Smooth Jazz Cruise.

Future inductions will take place aboard The Smooth Jazz Cruise sailings January 12-19, 2014 and January 11-18, 2015, which will embark from Fort Lauderdale to Caribbean ports.

Watercolors plays contemporary jazz, classic and new, including Culbertson, James, George Benson, Sade, Al Jarreau and Dave Koz.

About SiriusXM Radio

SiriusXM Radio Inc. is the world’s largest radio broadcaster measured by revenue and has more than 25 million subscribers. SiriusXM creates and broadcasts commercial-free music; premier sports talk and live events; comedy; news; exclusive talk and entertainment; and the most comprehensive Latin music, sports and talk programming in radio. SiriusXM is available in vehicles from every major car company in the U.S., from retailers nationwide, and online at SiriusXM programming is also available through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App for Android, Apple, and BlackBerry smartphones and other connected devices. SiriusXM also holds a minority interest in SiriusXM Canada, which has more than 2 million subscribers. On social media, join the SiriusXM community on Facebook,, Twitter,, Instagram,, and YouTube at

About The Smooth Jazz Cruise

Guests have fallen in love with The Smooth Jazz Cruise ever since its maiden voyage in 2004. Much more than a jazz festival and much more than a vacation, cruisers spend an entire week completely immersed in the music. On top of the stellar concert performances by the genre’s legends, Grammy winners and chart-toppers, guests interact daily with the musicians at cocktail parties, poolside games and activities, informative seminars, autograph sessions and cooking demonstrations. It’s an unforgettable first-class lifestyle experience aboard a Holland America luxury ship that keeps fans coming back year after year. For more information or to reserve a cabin, please visit

“Funk Is Everything”

I read a quote that said, “Funk is everything, it’s a religion to me.” Knowing the man who said those words makes it easy to understand exactly what they mean. Funk is everything to guitarist Rob “Fonksta” Bacon. He is called the “Fonksta” for a reason. Growing up in the Motor City of Detroit, you can’t help but be surrounded by the sound of music. Having a father who played the guitar and a mother who sat down with him and played records all the time, Rob could feel the music stirring on the inside. One day, his dad heard him playing George Benson’s “Breezin” and to his astonishment discovered that he was playing it with only 3 strings because one had broken. Now that’s what I call an “aha” moment. The gift revealed itself not only to Rob’s dad but to Rob himself. After leaving Detroit and heading to LA,he began to work with artists like Raphael Saadiq, DJ Quik, and George Clinton. It didn’t take long for him to become one of the best session guitarist in LA. Rob is fortunate to be able to play different genres of music such as pop, R&B, funk, rap, and jazz. He’s mastering his craft and constantly learning. This year is a very big one in his life. He will release his first solo project and will be the guitarist for the new Aresnio Hall Show airing in September. It’s still surreal for him, but he has worked very hard and appreciates growing even more in new directions. You can count on this for sure: where there is Rob “Fonksta” Bacon, there will be FUNK.

On a calm evening in Seattle, Rob and I talk about music, the past, present, future, and funk.

Rob "Fonksta" Bacon
Rob “Fonksta” Bacon