President's Weekend Jazz Party Features Tributes To Jazz Greats

This year’s Presidents’ Day Weekend Newport Beach Jazz Party promises to be better than ever with two of the most influential musicians ever being honored with special concerts Saturday and Sunday nights.

The annual four-day party will be held, Feb. 15 though 18, at the Marriott Newport Beach Hotel. Over 70 musicians will be playing at concerts held mornings, afternoons and evenings.

On Saturday night, Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim will be given a tribute. Often called the father of bossa nova jazz, which burst on the scene in the ‘60s, Jobim is so famous in his country that Rio’s airport is named after him. Playing his music will be flutist Holly Hoffman with her quartet, along with a 12-piece string orchestra under the direction of Bill Cunliffe.

On Sunday night, Frank Sinatra s has his day with a "Dear Mr. Sinatra" event with John Pizzarelli (pictured above) on vocals, accompanied by the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. The ensemble just produced a best selling Telarc CD, which paid homage to Sinatra and songs closely connected with his career.

What is special about these jazz parties is that it gives the opportunity for fans to see and hear great musicians in an unrehearsed context. As these jazz players get together to perform, it’s a pleasure to see them immediately communicate, anticipating each other's notes, blending seamlessly through their common language.

An example is the lead off set Friday night when clarinetist Ken Peplowski, trumpeter Terrell Stafford, trombonist Troy Andrews, pianist Harry Pickens and drummer Lewis Nash become a quintet. These talented men, who rarely play together, mesh immediately.

This is the way it is all weekend. With stars, such as John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Bruce Foreman (the list goes on and on) performing with each other in various groupings. It also gives artists such as the great pianist Benny Green and the supreme bassist, arranger and bandleader John Clayton a chance for a duo set. It is a given--nothing could be tastier than hearing their exchanges.

The party begins Thursday night in the hotel's Grand Pacific Ballroom, featuring groups led by reed player Peplowski, singer Judy Roberts and pianist Johnny O’Neal who has special guest star Houston Person on tenor.

Friday night’s concert features the John Pizzarelli Trio, with the leader playing guitar along with singing. This group regularly plays together but welcomes the great Jeff Hamilton to join them as guest on drums.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons are crammed with music at Poolside Concerts. Noteworthy, both afternoons will be the appearances of prize-winning college bands Fullerton College Jazz Band, Friday, under the leadership of Bruce Babab, and, Saturday, the O.C. High School for the Arts Big Band with special guest Stafford sitting in on trumpet

In addition to the afternoon and evening concerts, for the first time ever, there will be a Gospel Breakfast Sunday morning, starring vocalist Niki Haris, along with, among others, Cunliffe on organ. They should have the audiience up on its feet clapping and shouting

Promoters Joe Rothhman and John McClure are looking forward to a sellout. Over the years, people have come to these parties from around the world. Just stand in the lobby during registration and listen to fans greet each other like lifelong friends.

For tickets and information, call (949) 759-5003.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Held in Orange County Feb. 15 Throutgh 18
  • Event Date: Feb/ 15 - 18
  • Subtitle: Jobim, Sinatra Honored During Four-Day Event, Feb. 15-18, in Orange County, Ca.
Login to post comments