This annual jazz extravaganza will feature more than 50 of the world’s top jazz musicians, playing four-days of concerts, mornings, afternoons and evenings. Fans come from throughout the world. Many stay in the hotel, better to submerge themselves in the music.
Attendees will indeed, get a chance to immerse themselves in jazz. Groups play in a variety of settings brunches, pool side, cocktail lounge and in the Marriott’s Grand Ballroom. Players include Scott Hamilton, Carl Saunders, David Hazeltine, Chuck Berghofer, Joe LaBarbera, Ken Peplowski, Harry Allen, Wycliffe Gordon and the list goes on and on.
Along with hearing artists with their regular groups, the really special thing about these annual parties is the chance to see and hear them get together with fellow musicians in unfamiliar contexts. As they perform, they immediately communicate, anticipating each other, blending sounds in their common language. This aspect gives jazz its special niche.
Kicking off the festivities in the Grand Ballroom, Thursday, 7 p.m., will be the stage show "Louis & Keely Live At The Sahara," which recently closed in Los Angeles after a sell-out engagement. Starring Jake Broder and Vanessa Claire Smith as Louis Prima and Keely Smith, the production, as the L.A. Times put it , " ...is a simple biographical story told with infectious retro pizazz. It’s also one of the best musicals playing in town." Closing the evening , the famed Gerald Wilson Orchestra will perform its leader's classic arrangements.
Highlighting Friday are appearances of singer Dena DaRose with the Scott Hamilton Quartet. Rounding out the night is Harry Allen and his Four Others, with Allen, Ken Peplowski, Rickey Woodard and Adam Schroder on saxes re-creating Woody Herman’s legendary Four Brothers saxophone lineup.
Saturday morning there will be a Special Valentine’s Day Brunch, bringing on veteran blues singer Bill Henderson to head the lineup. The schedule around the pool in the afternoon features Cal State Long Beach jazz groups with students appearing with jazz pros, such as trombonist Gordon and vocalist DaRose. Saturday night’s schedule is highlighted by singer Kevin Mahogany who will lead a salute to singer Johnny Hartman. This is followed by the Holly Hofmann-Bill Cunliffe Duo and a "Heavy Juice" set with saxists Hamilton and Allen.
Sunday’s brunch is led off by, appropriately, gospel singer Niki Haris. Later in the afternoon there will be a "Tribute to Nat ‘King Cole,’" with Luther Hughes, John Proulx and Barry Zweig.
Closing out the long weekend, Sunday Night, will be the celebrated Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Preceding them is the Father/Son/Godfather Trio, gathering together two generations father/son John and Gerald Clayton, along with drummer Jeff Hamilton.
Call (949) 759-5003 for ticket information and hotel reservations.