Big Jazz Happenings Coming In Orange County, CA

Happily, some things change and some remain the same. That’s the headline for the upcoming 2006-7 jazz season in Orange County.

The big change is taking place at the Orange County Performing Arts Center with the opening next month of the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, taking its place in the blossoming Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa.

Included as part of the new hall, the Samueli Theater will be the site of this coming Jazz Club season which begins with the Ramsey Lewis Trio, Nov. 3, 4 (pictured). The new venue will stay with the informal setting used in its former home, Founder’s Hall, with patrons seated at cocktail tables and drinks served, cabaret style.

What hasn’t changed on the jazz scene is that Joe Rothman and John McLure will welcome fans from around the world to the West Coast Jazz Party as they have for the past 12 years at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, Labor Day weekend, Aug 31 through Sept 3. For three days and four nights there will be concerts afternoon and evenings, with a Jazz Brunch at Sea Sunday morning on Newport Harbor.

As always, the party’s lineup features an array of over 70 of the world’s best musicians, topped this year by singer-pianist Dave Frishberg, saxophonist Houston Person, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, as well as two big bands Frank Capp’s Juggernaut, Saturday afternoon, and a Buddy Rich alumni band paying tribute to the great drummer Sunday Night.

Other jazz luminaries slated include pianists Kenny Drew Jr. and Bill Mays, pianist-vocalist Dena DeRose and trumpeter-vocalist Byron Stripling, and the pairing of reed player Ken Peplowski and vibraphonist Chuck Redd in "Sing! Sing! Sing!" leading a celebration of Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa Saturday Night. For more information, call (949) 759-5003 or go to the site

At OCPAC"s Samueli Theater the schedule continues Dec 15,16 with the popular singer and guitar wizard, John Pizzarelli. Following , Jan 12, 13, Regina Carter, jazz violin virtuoso, will return to the center, bringing her unique jazz style to Orange County bringing special guest Carla Cook with her.

Lovers of bossa nova will get a chance to hear Ivan Lins, Brazilian singer and composer, Feb. 11. On March 30, 31, vocal star Rebecca Paris will arrive from the East Coast for an appearance at Samueli. The season closes with the young European piano sensation Elgar Djangirov appearing April 27, 28.

In addition there will be two special concerts in the Jazz Club series. The renowned trumpeter Wynton Marsalis comes in with his septet to play at the old Segerstrom Hall, Oct 27, and, to test the jazz acoustics of the new Concert Hall, Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra will play Nov. 19. For tickets and information, call (714) 556-2121 or check the site

Nearby Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts coming season offers a varied program with something for everyone’s jazz taste. Things begin with the Aug 21 appearance of legendary pianist Dave Brubeck with his group. Next is vocalist Steve Tyrell, Sept 13, who is sure to sing some Frank Sinatra songs from his upcoming album.

Comparatively new on the scene and gaining great popularity, vocalist Karyn Allyson comes in for appearances Oct. 10,11 in the intimate Sierra Room at Cerritos. Next up is a double bill featuring acclaimed guitarist Larry Carlton and trumpeter Chuck Mangione, Oct. 13. Smooth jazz fans will welcome saxophonist Kirk Whalum and his group who will share the stage with special guests, Dec. 2. On Jan 13, the always hip Manhattan Transfer will entertain with its form of harmony.

Trumpet master Chris Botti, equally at home in the classical as well as jazz world will play Feb. 9, while The Crusaders, who have been playing great music since the ‘60s, are scheduled for Feb. 17.

Traditional jazz lovers will get a chaqnce to see the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz band from New Orleans, Feb 18 in a 3 p.m. concert at Cerritos. As well, blues fans are honored with the appearance of the blues belter Etta James and the Roots band, March 17. Cerritos closes out its jazz schedule with guitarist Frank Potenza and his group, April 11. For tickets and information, call (800) 300-4345 or check the site at

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: West Coast Jazz Party Leads Things Off
  • Subtitle: 2006-07 Season Promises Something Old, Something New For Fans
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