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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JOEY SOMMERVILLE: EVERYTHING BUT AN “OVERNIGHT SENSATION”

What do you get when you release an album enriched with songs–some of which were written over a decade ago? You get Joey Sommerville’s latest album, “Overnight Sensation.” With over 20 years of experience, Joey is still motivated to pour his heart and soul into every song because he is keenly aware that he has a gift that is meant to be shared through music. Although the industry has changed significantly over the years, Sommerville remains comfortable in his skin and true to his craft. Joey brings his music to life when performing, fueled by energy from the crowd. It helps that he is not a shy kind of guy. He shares the sentiment of most musicians that music is meant to be felt. From start to finish, “Overnight Sensation” is a powerhouse of music that can be overwhelmingly felt. Each song, leading with the title track and first single, “Overnight Sensation” sends the listener on a whimsical journey amassed with emotional twists and turns. The album was produced by Joey along with Jeff Lorber on a couple of songs–definitely a match made in heaven. Also lending their talents to the album are Earl Klugh, Jeff Bradshaw, Elan Trotman, and Eric Essix. Each collaboration enhances the treasure trove of songs in Joey’s vault. You will be spell bound after listening to “Overnight Sensation” and taking the heartfelt musical journey led by Joey.

I had an awesome interview with Joey:

 

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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.