JOHN COLTRANE BLUES AND JAZZ FESTIVAL

As festival season and summer come to an end for 2015, I am taking in the best of the last. I always look forward to Labor Day weekend in High Point, NC where I attend the John Coltrane Blues and Jazz Festival. It is held at the beautiful Oak Hollow Park by the lake. Great music, legendary artists, and a spectacular sunset comprise the essence of this festival. This year, the festival was a two-day event. Opening day was an extra special treat for attendees; the Coltrane Youth Orchestra opened the festival, followed by The Bold Soul Revival, featuring singers Lauryn Mitchell, Annika Chambers, and Annie Mack. Then, the first of three legendary masters graced the stage: Earl Klugh. He was followed by Marcus Miller, and ending the night was David Sanborn. It wouldn’t have been a show if Miller hadn’t joined Sanborn on stage for a couple of songs. At the end of day one, my musical palette had been satisfied. The final day was opened by the Coltrane All-Stars, followed by Poncho Sanchez. Rounding out the final evening was Snarky Puppy, joined by Eric Gales and headliner, Lalah Hathaway. Another successful year for The John Coltrane Blues and Jazz Festival, benefiting music and local youth.

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KODAK Digital Still Camera

 

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KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

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KODAK Digital Still Camera

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Eric Gales photo credit Garland Hancock

Eric Gales
photo credit Garland Hancock

 

Snarky Puppy and Eric Gales Photo Credit Garland Hancock

Snarky Puppy and Eric Gales
Photo Credit Garland Hancock

Poncho Sanchez Photo credit Garland Hancock

Poncho Sanchez
Photo credit Garland Hancock

Lalah Hathaway Photo credit Garland Hancock

Lalah Hathaway
Photo credit Garland Hancock

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MATT MARSHAK’S MUSICAL “LIFESTYLE”

What a difference a year makes. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Matt Marshak while he was on tour last year and having a great conversation about music and a few other topics of interest. After his travels around the world, he strongly believes in the contemporary jazz genre and recognizes that fans from all demographics are always supportive. He, like some other artists, believes there is a new generation of jazz artists that are stirring the pot and creating what has yet to be seen. Matt is very excited about his 8th album titled “Lifestyle.” He’s a fan of the golden era of instrumental music and wanted to mirror that type of recording process. Marshak wanted to create music that was “timeless, intangibly honest, and that captured musical elements of live recording.” His inspiration was the appeal of the production process and the improvisation that allowed the flow of music to be natural. “Lifestyle,” the title track, opens the album up, immediately engaging the listener with its beautiful chord changes. The effortless flow of the songs on the album tell a believable story to the listener. Matt was fortunate to work with the very talented Gerald Veasley, Benjie Porecki, and drummer Carl Anderson on this album. In true Matt fashion, he delivers a soothing ballad at the end the album titled “I’ve Been Down.” In the words of Matt, “This is my vision. This is my belief. This is my musical “Lifestyle.”

Matt and I enjoy catching up and talking about the evolution of “Lifestyle”:

 

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SMOOTH JAZZ CRUISE

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West Coast Jazz Party at Sea prepared to be hit by a tidal wave of live music

Many firsts are in store for the star studded cruise hosted by Brian Culbertson & Boney James

sailing to the gorgeous Mexican Riviera.

St. Louis, Missouri (24 June 2013): If there has been one complaint among passengers who have sailed aboard The Smooth Jazz Cruise during its first decade it is that there are so many extraordinary concerts and events to attend that it is simply impossible to see and do everything during the 7-day music vacation experience. Wait until they find out what is planned for the first-ever West Coast departure of the perennially sold out luxury cruise to music paradise sailing to exotic Mexican Riviera ports October 12-19. With an astounding 60 concerts slated and a jam-packed program of unique first-time events, excursions and opportunities exclusively available during the West Coast Jazz Party at Sea, this adventure bodes to top all previous cruises, including the traditional January sailing that sold out for 2014 in record time.

R&B jazz luminaries Brian Culbertson and Boney James will host the cruise embarking from San Diego aboard Holland America’s m/s Westerdam en route to Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Baja Coast with a starry cast of Grammy-winning and chart-topping performers featuring David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, Tower of Power, Candy Dulfer, Jonathan Butler, Oleta Adams, Rick Braun, Norman Brown, Richard Elliot, Euge Groove, Earl Klugh, Kenny Lattimore, party band DW3 and music director Brian Simpson. When the live music pauses, legendary MC Biz Markie and Cool V will DJ to keep The Greatest Party at Sea grooving on the dance floor, and comedian Alonzo Bodden will provide the laughter.

Here are ten reasons why the West Coast Party at Sea is different than previous sailings of The Smooth Jazz Cruise:

· Wall to wall live music. The usual program offers 40 shows. 60 concerts will be staged on the October cruise.

· Guests will have the once in a lifetime opportunity to take a one-hour music lesson from the stars with the fee going to charity.

· At a first-ever songwriting seminar, Culbertson and the band will compose a new song on the spot with direct input from the audience.

· During the “Opening Act” talent contest where guests get to show off their own musical gifts, cruisers will judge the opening rounds of the competition with Culbertson, James and Dulfer ultimately determining the winner who will earn the privilege of opening for the headliner and perform with the cruise hosts on the final night of the voyage.

· When in Puerto Vallarta, guests will enjoy artist hosted excursions such as play golf with Braun, ride horseback with Elliot, sightsee with Culbertson, participate at an outdoor challenge with Butler, explore hideaways with Simpson, or join Dulfer for a swim with dolphins.

· While at sea, cruisers can battle Culbertson and James in a ping pong tournament, take a yoga class with Klugh or shoot hoop with Miller.

· For the romantically inclined, couples can renew their wedding vows during a ceremony presided over by Butler.

· On a theme night designated to support Pinktober, national breast cancer awareness month, guests are encouraged to wear pink. Each cruiser will be given a commemorative pin and when they give the card accompanying the pin to the front desk, they will be making a $5.00 donation to fight breast cancer with cruise producer Entertainment Cruise Productions donating matching funds.

· “Backstage Pass” will be filmed nightly aboard the ship in front of a live audience for national television broadcast. Host Dane Butcher will interview each of the cruise stars.

· For the first time, premium reserved seats for the main shows in the Vista Lounge theater are available for all guests who book their cabins by July 31.

Butcher, the Director of Cruise Operations & Programming for Entertainment Cruise Productions, said,

“We are super excited for the West Coast Jazz Party at Sea because this itinerary has allowed us to program the cruise THE perfect way. With more than 60 shows onboard, we added a bunch of brand new activities that make the guests just as much a part of the cruise as the musicians. Visiting Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta provide fantastic shore excursions, beautiful beaches, great shopping and amazing food along with fabulous weather and smooth sailing. We are not only bringing in celebrity DJ Biz Markie and his sidekick Cool V, who are a perfect match for this party crowd, but we added more artists than ever before and have surprises planned that are guaranteed to make this one of the greatest cruises that we have ever produced.”

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 with Dream Team pairings that take place nightly in the theater and in more intimate nightclub venues aboard the vessel, 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 that keeps fans coming back year after year. Cabins for the October sailing are still available and can be reserved by calling toll-free 888.852.9987 in the U.S. & Canada and +800.852.99872 internationally. For more information, please visit http://www.thesmoothjazzcruise.com.

About Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC

The world leader in full ship charter music cruises, St. Louis, Missouri-based Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC (ECP) owns, produces and promotes The Smooth Jazz Cruise and The Jazz Cruise (www.thejazzcruise.com), and is proud to partner with Time Life for the Soul Train Cruise (www.soultraincruise.com), Malt Shop Memories Cruise (www.maltshopcruise.com), The Country Music Cruise. (www.countrymusiccruise.com) and Celtic Thunder Cruise (www.celticthundercruise.com). Pleasing guests is Entertainment Cruise Productions’ most important goal and objective while providing luxurious vacation experiences featuring marquee stars from their respective music genres in an extraordinary setting for devoted passengers, many of whom make the fun and exciting cruises an annual affair. Additional information is available at http://www.ecpcruises.com.

The multi-instrumentalist Euge Groove

He’s known for his chart topping hits, his use of many instruments, and as a quadruple threat. Euge is a saxophonist, composer, producer, and DJ. He immerses himself into his music, and remains true to his art and his fans. He grew up listening to all types of music, and that exposure helped shaped the musician he is today. Euge knows what it feels like to be at the top of your craft, and have numerous chart topping #1 hits. Yet he stays grounded and focused on his calling in life. His longevity in the industry speaks volumes about his talent. His latest album titled “HOUSE OF GROOVE” was recorded in only eight months, and delivers some powerful vocals from Jeffrey Osborne, Chioma, and Kate Miner.

Let’s hear his story in his own words.

Euge Groove

Euge Groove

Euge

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A conversation with Guitarist Peter White

While growing up in England, Peter White learned to play many instruments including the piano. He realized after watching The Beattles, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton on a black and white TV, that he wanted to emulate them. He learned to play on an acoustic guitar. Soon after, he purchased an electric guitar. After an infamous incident that sent his electric guitar into flames, he elected to go back to the acoustic guitar. Fortunately for Peter, that accident turned into a blessing.

After many years playing as a backup musician, Peter realized that he wanted “his” music to be heard. Thus, he launched a solo career. He calls collaborating with other artists such as Boney James, and David Sanborn just to name a couple, a “joy” and a “blessing.” His latest CD is titled “Here We Go,” on which he once again worked with some “high-profile” musicians.

Peter has gone into his personal treasure chest of unreleased songs, updated them, and is creating new music. He is looking forward to playing in Charlotte, NC at the Uptown Jazz Fest in June. He welcomes fans comment’s and email’s, and is excited about meeting them.

Click to listen to interview.

Peter White

Peter White

Peter White

Peter White

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One on One with Brian Culbertson

I’m thrilled to share with you an interview I had with the one and only Brain Culbertson. I’m a “HUGE” fan, so that made it even more of an honor for me. He was very gracious to take the time out of his busy schedule. He shared with me his concept behind the 2nd Annual Napa Valley Getaway that he hosts. He gave me some insight on how his CD “Dreams” evolved, and talked about his collaborations with a few of the finest vocalists and musicians. We also shared our admiration for the legendary David Sanborn, and how he influenced us both at an early age.

Brian loves playing in Charlotte, NC, and is looking forward to performing at the Uptown Jazzfest on Friday June 21st.

Click below to hear our interview.

The man himself....Brian Culbertson

The man himself….Brian Culbertson

Brian's band

Brian’s band

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