The West Bend Sunrise Rotary, producers of the annual Ziegler Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival (ZKMJF), announced that the entertainment line up for the 2006 event, to be held Fri., Sept. 8 Sat., Sept. 9, would once again feature an international collection of musicians and vocalists.
The event, which will take place along the banks of the upper Milwaukee River at Riverside Park in West Bend, Wis., will showcase three acts on Sept. 8, and four on Sept. 9. The entertainment line up is as follows:
Friday, September 8
Michael Lington 5:15 p.m.: "The next generation of sax begins now. Michael Lington’s time has come," said Dave Koz, co-founder of Rendezvous Entertainment. Lington’s Rendezvous CD Stay With Me was one of the top genre hits of 2005, with singles Show Me, Two of a Kind, and Pacifica climbing high on the Radio and Records National airplay chart.
Otto Lington, Michael’s grandfather, was a celebrated jazz player in Europe and an inspiration to the Copenhagen-born jazz star. It wasn’t until Lington was 21 that he came to America. "I didn’t know very much about the music industry," Lington said. "My life has been an incredible journey." The single "Tell It Like It Is" from his self-titled 1997 debut album reached the Top 10 on the NAC chart and Top 20 on Radio and Records’ Adult Contemporary chart.
Lington toured with Little Richard and Gary "U.S." Bonds, and then with singer Bobby Caldwell, from 1994-98. In between tour performances, Lington works with music-related charities like the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. With the help of legendary arranger Randy Waldman, Lington’s new album, set for release in June of 2006, re-arranges singer/songwriter classics of the ’70s and ’80s with the backing of a full orchestra.
Jonathan Butler 7:15 p.m.: A singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer, Butler is a lot like his music-a combination of Africa and the Western World. Born and raised under the discrimination of apartheid in Cape Town, Butler escaped with his music, touring South Africa in a traveling variety show before he was a teenager.
At 13, he caught the attention of Clive Caulder, a British producer with Jive Records. Under Jive, Butler’s first single won a Sarie award and was played on white radio stations in South Africa-a first for a black artist.
His self-titled debut introduced him internationally, and the diverse albums to follow crossed age and color boundaries. The instrumental hit Going Home and the pop hit Lies earned him two Grammy nominations in 1987. The 1990 album More Than Friends contained the popular ballad, Sarah, Sarah. Albums Do You Love Me? (1997), Story of Life (1999), Source (2000), and Surrender (2002) followed, as well as two collections of hits.
The Worship Project, released in 2004, features soulful Christian music. "I came to the West seeking artistic freedom to express myself," Butler recalled. "For me it was never about creating music for a particular format or type of audience. That’s too narrow and restrictive."
In 2005 came what is considered Butler’s most inspired album, Jonathan, under the Rendezvous Entertainment label. Lori Lewis from WSMJ in Baltimore said of the Fire and Rain remake on Jonathan, "It literally gave me a lump in my throat Vocals this great are really rare."
Rick Braun 9:15 p.m.: "The entertainer on stage is full of fire and vigor, while the guy behind the trumpet is quietly reflective," said Cheryl Hughey, an interviewer with jazzreview.com, of Pennsylvania-born jazz artist Braun. His style of jazz ranges from soul to Latin to romance, as he takes new directions, yet stays true to his individuality.
Braun’s first solo album, Intimate Secrets, was released under the Mesa/Bluemoon label in 1993. Then came Night Walk, Christmas Present, Beat Street, Body and Soul, with the No. 1 hit single Notorious, and Full Stride under the Atlantic/Wea label. In 2001, Kisses in the Rain was released, followed in 2003 by Esperanto, both under the Warner Brothers label. His 2005 album, Yours Truly, was released under the Artizen label.
Braun broke records on contemporary jazz charts and won the Gavin Artist of the Year Award twice (1996 and 1997), as well as Gavin’s Album of the Year (1996). He also set a record at the 2002 National Smooth Jazz Awards by winning five Smoothies.
Braun has toured with such rock and pop stars as Vonda Shepard, Rickie Lee Jones, Sade, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Glenn Frey, Natalie Cole, Tom Petty, Crowded House, Phoebe Snow, and War. He has also been involved as a producer with Peppino D’Agostino, Willie and Lobo, Avenue Blue, saxophonist Bryan Savage, keyboardist David Benoit, and guitarist Marc Antoine.
Saturday, September 9
Steve Oliver 1:30 p.m.: "Talking to Steve Oliver is like polishing off a Red Bull/Mountain Dew cocktail with an espresso chaser. Seeing him is even better," said SmoothViews.com. "His musicianship, personality, and electrifying performances have caught the eyes and ears of everyone."
First View, Oliver’s 1999 debut solo album, scored three hit radio singles, made the Top 20 on the Gavin and Radio & Records airplay charts, and earned him the distinction of "Debut Artist of the Year" from Smooth Jazz News.
It was Oliver’s second album, 2002’s Positive Energy, which really made him a star. With the strength of one of the most played songs of the year, High Noon, the album hit the Billboard Top 20 that year and earned him two Smooth Jazz Awards nominations.
His 2004 Koch Records release, 3-D, added multiple dimensions to Oliver’s already inspired sound, featuring all-star performers like Harvey Mason (drums), Eric Marienthal (sax), Will Donato (sax), Larry Antonino (bass), and co-producer Tom Schuman (keyboard). On his 2005 holiday album, Snowfall, he added new inspiration to holiday classics (and created a couple of his own).
In 2006, Oliver surprised and wowed the crowd on the Warren Hill Smooth Jazz Cruise with his unique skill at guitar and vocals. In April, he performed at the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards where he was nominated for International Artist of the Year. Radiant, Oliver’s recently released and eagerly anticipated new album, features a warm, organic mix that puts the focus squarely on him and his guitar.
Yellowjackets 3:45 p.m.: The critical and commercial success of Yellowjackets-with more than 20 releases in 25 years, two Grammy’s and six nominations-is unparalleled. Anchored by keyboardist Russell Ferrante and bassist Jimmy Haslip, the group has had a few band member changes over the years. This year celebrates the 25th anniversary of the 1981 self-titled debut album, which featured drummer Ricky Lawson and guitarist Robben Ford with Ferrante and Haslip.
Each of the group’s many albums has been unique, from 1989’s acoustic The Spin to 1990’s spicy Samurai Samba, from 1995’s relaxing Dreamland to the 2001 Grammy nominated live album, Mint Jam. The group released a holiday album, Peace Round: A Christmas Celebration, which jazzreview.com calls, "reverential without being literal; clever without being coy. This is an album that can be listened to all year long, and deserves an equal place among the rest of the Yellowjackets’ recorded work."
The 2005 album, Altered State, features great soloing, unusual time signatures, and the classic Yellowjackets sound that has kept them at the forefront for more than two decades. In celebration of the group’s 25th anniversary, a combination CD/bonus DVD package will be released in May of 2006 offering an array of behind-the-scenes material including interviews with current and past band members and two live performances from the 2005 European tour. Today’s band members are Haslip, Ferrante, Bob Mintzer (sax) and Marcus Baylor (drums).
Bobby Caldwell 6:00 p.m.: "Chicks dig him. Rappers record his songs. And, if a romantic mood is what you're after, then the dapper, blue-eyed Bobby Caldwell is your man," wrote Melanie Maxwell in the June 2000 Smooth Jazz News cover story, Bobby Caldwell Croons His Way Into the Hearts of All Ages.
Caldwell has a 25-year history as an acclaimed soul stylist and in-demand pop and R&B songwriter, with especially intense popularity in Japan and Asia. He has done numerous guest vocals (including work on the Grammy-award-winning Songs from the Neighborhood album), toured extensively, and starred as Frank Sinatra in the Las Vegas theatrical production The Rat Pack is Back.
He has written hit songs for artists like Peter Cetera and Amy Grant, Chicago, Boz Scaggs, Neil Diamond, and Al Jarreau. Caldwell’s classic song, "What You Won’t Do For Love," has been recorded and sampled by more than 100 artists, reaching number one on the Adult Contemporary chart for the cover by Go West and number one on the rap charts when Tupac Shakur sampled the lyric in his song "Do For Love," which was on the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s movie Bamboozled.
With two greatest hits collections already behind him (Timeline and Time & Again), Caldwell’s most recent album, Perfect Island Nights, was released in 2005. Jonathan Widran from All Music Guide said of Perfect Island Nights, "Caldwell is at the top of his charming game on this modern adult contemporary classic wringing every last emotion out of his originals and a handful of well-chosen covers."
The Sax Pack 8:15 p.m.: Three signature saxophonists unite to share the stage and the excitement, spontaneity, and creative energy of the jazz music they love. Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole, and Marion Meadows each bring to the group their own backgrounds and styles-as well as their own signature hits. From one venue to another, the players also rotate in saxophonist Kim Waters.
The Sax Pack first toured in 2004. "Each artist connected with the audience in his own unique way, with his own unique style of performing and individual musicianship," said Lisa Elder, a music reviewer with BackstageStories.com. "The harmonies between the sax sounds were jaw dropping. I’m not sure who had more fun during the show - the artists or the audience."
After 10 years with the Rippingtons, Kashiwa went solo in 1999. Now five albums and a number one hit song (Hyde Park, also known as the Aah Ooh song) precede him. The driving force behind the Sax Pack, Kashiwa wanted to combine the talent of multiple leading sax players for a dynamic tour. His most recent solo album is due for release later this year.
Cole’s first three albums, Stay Awhile, Between Us, and NY LA, infuse smooth jazz with an urban sound. Cole went in a new direction on his fourth album and 2005 Narada debut, Spin, by taking inspiration from the singer-songwriters on the pop charts and teaching himself the guitar. Chris Botti said, "Spin is a truly amazing combination of Steve Cole’s classic organic saxophone sound and a fresh, modern approach to music." The album’s first single, Thursday, was one of the most popular smooth jazz tracks for 2005 as charted by Radio & Records.
Since his 1990 debut, For Lover’s Only, Meadows has released eight albums to the praise of critics and smooth jazz fans alike. JazzReview.com calls Meadows, "One of the freshest sounding players on the contemporary jazz scene." Meadows has been described as eclectic, exotic, commanding, and mesmerizing. Players Club, the most recent addition to his collection of well-received albums, is dedicated to his musical colleagues.
Festival tickets are available at "early-bird" prices of $80 for two-day tickets and $50 for one-day tickets through Monday, June 12. Two-day tickets will be sold for $90 and one-day tickets for $55 from June 13 September 7. If available, tickets will be sold at the gate at $100 for both days and $60 for one day.
Tickets can be purchased in a secure online environment at www.kmjazz.com or by calling the festival’s toll-free information line at 1-877-271-6903. Consumers can also send a completed ticket order form available from the festival office or the event Web site with a check, money order, or credit card number (MasterCard or Visa) to the West Bend Sunrise Rotary Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 1087, West Bend, WI 53095. Starting May 8, consumers will be able to purchase tickets in person at The Ziegler Company’s offices in Milwaukee (Downtown and Mayfair Road), Mequon, Madison, and West Bend.
The festival is expected to draw more than 5,500 jazz lovers from all over the Midwest, particularly from southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois. Proceeds from the event benefit area charitable organizations through the West Bend Sunrise Rotary Foundation.
In its history, the festival has contributed more than $270,000 to charitable groups in southeastern Wisconsin through the West Bend Sunrise Rotary Foundation. The Foundation has supported:
- The Albrecht Free Clinic support free medical clinics
- Columns, Inc. scholarship programs to local high school graduates
- West Bend Library building construction
- West Bend Parks and Recreation Department maintenance and expansion
- West Bend Fire Department fire safety trailer
- Kettle Moraine YMCA acquired equipment for a West Bend skate park
- SafeZone Community Art Center provides an environment for children to develop their musical ability, including small group lessons, private tutoring lessons, and full band rehearsals each week, with periodic performances.
- Hurricane Katrina Relief through the national Rotary Fund.
For more information, call the Ziegler Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival’s toll-free information line at 877-271-6903 or visit website.