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Big Year For Jazz in Orange County, CA

Labor Day heralds the beginning of an eventful season of jazz for Orange County fans.

Kicking things off, the 11th Annual West Coast Jazz Party is slated September 1 through 4, during the holiday weekend at the Irvine Marriott Hotel. A Tribute to Lionel Hampton and an All Star Boss Nova Spectacular head the list of the party’s attractions, along with a group of the world’s top musicians, scheduled to play afternoon and evening concerts. As well, players will be on board the Hornblower yacht Sunday morning to entertain passengers at sea on the always popular brunch cruise.

Concerts begin Thursday at 8 p.m. when the Ken Peplowski (shown in photo)/Dan Barrett Sextet and singer Rebecca Kilgore will be seen and heard in the Grand Ballroom.Evening concerts are in the ballroom, while afternoon shows are pool side.

Friday lineup will be highlighted by trumpeter and vocalist Byron Stripling as well as singer Carol Welsman and the Harry Allen Quartet. On Saturday, along with the Bossa Nova set, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band head up a lineup of stars.

Sunday’s cruise gets underway at 10 a.m. with 20 all-star musicians on board. The weekend party closes out Sunday evening with a "Basie Swing" set and the Hampton tribute, led by vibraphonists Terry Gibbs and Peter Appleyard.

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

Two weeks later, the Orange County Performing Arts Center opens its Jazz Club at Founder’s Hall with the highly anticipated appearance, September 6-17, of Eldar Djangirov and his trio. Young Djangirov is from Kyrgystan and is creating a critical sensation on his current tour of the United States.

Following, on October 7-8, singer Dee Dee Bridgewater joins violinist Regina Carter on a double bill. Next, legendary saxophonist Plas Johnson comes to the center, November 25-26. Fast-rising vocalist Jane Monheit is scheduled Dececember 16-17. Her last appearance at the club was sold out, so fans are urged to get tickets early.

On Jan. 13-14, Orange County will get a chance to hear the impeccable guitar stylings of Russell Malone and his quartet. Celebrated saxophonist James Carter will come to town, February 24-25.

Moving the program to the large Segerstrom Center, March 17, the center will feature Wynton Marsalis and his septet. The eight-time Grammy winner has come to be recognized as one of the leading forces in modern jazz.

Singer Kurt Elling brings the program back to Founder’s Hall for the season finale concerts, April 7-8.

Call OCPAC at (714) 556- 2787 for information.

Nearby, Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts will inaugurate its jazz season September 9 with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, featuring Paquito D’Rivera. This hard-charging band, under the direction of Artruro O’Farill, is a resident ensemble for New York’s Lincoln center and will feature music by Latin masters such as Tito Puente and Machito. Rivera, on clarinet and sax, will take the solo spotlight.

The year’s jazz highlight at Cerritos will be the appearance of tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, April 8, who stands alongside such as Miles Davis and Charlie Parker as a primary influence on modern jazz. He has been labeled "the last jazz immortal" and a musician still at the top of his game.

Smooth jazz dominates the rest of Cerritos’ season: Craig Caquico and David Sanborn, August 26; Ronnie Laws and Earl Klugh, September 17; Pieces of A Dream and Kirk Whalum, October 28; and the Braxton Brothers and Norman Brown, November 19.

Beginning the new year will be Joyce Cooling, featuring Russ Freeman, January 14; singer Al Jarreau, February 17; Boney James, March 10-11. Winding up the season will be Hiroshima, May 19.

For tickets and information, call (800) 300-4545.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Over 50 Jazz Musicians Set to appearvet
  • Subtitle: Season Starts Labor Day Weekend
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