Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"In My Listening Booth" with NAJEE..."The Morning After"

I have always been a fan of Najee, and his music has really evolved over the years from what I call, "cool jazz" to just down right sexy jazz".  Since the latest release of his highly anticipated new CD "The Morning After", when I hear the name Najee and listen to his music, I picture myself in Paris at a small, but intimate jazz club, sipping on my favorite white wine, and chilling with my husband while we are romanced and entertained by the sounds of one of the most talented and influential musicians in the business.

When I hear Najee's music, past and present I think about a smooth jazz cruise, or an expensive meal at a gourmet soul food restaurant (yes I said gourmet, because with his music playing in the background, southern food is turned up a notch).  His latest CD is by far, one of his best to date.  It's sexy, soulful, romantic, upbeat, funky and emotional. You want to laugh, cry, hug someone, dance, and just sit back and chill all in one night.

Ronald Jackson, President and Chief Editor at thesmoothjazzride.com did a great interview with Najee and not only was the conversation fun, and entertaining, but you got a real sense of the man behind his music.  As I listened to him and heard samples of his music, I thought to myself, he is truly at the top of his game!  He is a veteran in the business as an established artist, so what will or could he possibly do next?  Who knows, but whatever he works on next, I am sure it will be equally as great if not better than "The Morning After", but is it possible? Sure it is, after all it's Najee!

Clink on the link below for a recent interview with Najee at the thesmoothjazzride.com blogtalkradio "smooth conversations" and hear samples of his new CD...Enjoy!

http://www.thesmoothjazzride.com/site/smooth_conversations/

http://www.thesmoothjazzride.com/site/smooth_conversations/



Saturday, December 28, 2013

"In My Listening Booth" with Me'shell Ndegeocello, India Arie, Jill Scott and more.....

Inspire, Motivate, Uplift, Prosper in 2014 and beyond!

The 70's and 80's Era produced many of the greatest and extremely talented artists and musicians of that decade.  The 90's and beyond continued to be bring about a good collection of music, and although much has changed in terms of the artists themselves, the tsunami of music videos and auto-tuning, great music is still being made;  but then you have those artists who sort of fly under the radar or stay low key while still producing great songs, so when I first heard the music of Me"Shell Ndegeocello years ago, I wondered if she would come and go as so many have done and still do, or would she soar on the music charts become mainstream, and a "household name" type of artist. Fortunately she and many others did neither.  Many artists when they become "branded" by the industry, they lose that sense of connection to their fans and eventually their own souls.

It is one thing to be in the industry, and draw a audience of people looking for party music or just something that sounds good, or be the next pretty face on a CD cover, but then there is that audience
and music lover who is looking for a message or inspiration.  Not an easy task, because it is hard to sing like a poet and get people to truly understand the message while enjoying the music.  Jill Scott, Ledisi, Alicia Keys, India Arie, and Me'Shell Ndegeocello all come to mind when I think about inspirational, motivating songs.  I consider them all very unique in their craft, because although collectively, many of their songs are upbeat, and lively, what stands out most for me, are that individually, the songs each artist perform, is speaking directly to you, me or someone you and I know, who perhaps may be, in love, dealing with a breakup, the lost of a friend or loved one, struggling with depression, or needing motivation to make some hard choices; whatever the need, there is a song for it somewhere, but not every artist can deliver that message as poetically as these ladies can. I consider them in a distinct group all their own, along with so many other poetic artists, male and female.

As the year 2013 comes to a close, think about a song that enlightened, inspired, and motivated you and put a much needed smile on your face as we enter a new year, with what I hope will be the best that is yet to come...A few songs by some of my favorite female vocal artists are below....Enjoy and Happy New Year! 

Feel free to comment about your favorite artists and songs! I may feature he or she on a future blog post!











Saturday, December 21, 2013

"In My Listening Booth" with Kristine W! "Straight Up With A Twist"

Sultry, seductive, upbeat, feisty are just a few words to describe the soulful jazzy sounds of Kristine W.  Ronald Jackson, CEO and Chief Editor at thesmoothjazzride.com told me about her and so I wanted to check her out myself and wow, this woman is just awesome! I have listened to my share of solo female jazz artists over the years, and I have to admit, I have never heard anyone quite like her.  I have what I call a "funny" ear when it comes to vocal jazz, because I much prefer the instrumentals, but when someone sounds like Kristine, I pay much closer attention. With her one and only CD of this kind titled, "Straight Up With A Twist" it is so full of romance, intrigue, love, heartache, and sophistication. This is a CD set of 2, but I prefer part one.  I always think of jazz, instrumental and vocal, as an acquired taste, such as anyone who enjoys Sushi. This CD would make for great music at a intimate dinner party.  Enjoy!

Check out a full, more in depth review with samples of her music at 

http://www.thesmoothjazzride.com/site/kristine-w-straight-up-with-a-twist


One of my favorites


Sunday, December 15, 2013

"In My Listening Booth" with JAREZ "On Top Of The World"

Every now and then a musician or vocalist that is unknown to me, will come along and grab my attention. I was checking out a few CD reviews at www.thesmoothjazzride.com, when I stumbled across Saxophonist Jarez.  To be so young, his music sounds like he has been around for quite some time. Not everyone is a fan of smooth or contemporary jazz and I can respect that considering how long traditional jazz has been a part of our musical existence, with the likes of John Coltrane and Miles Davis, but if Jarez keeps playing like this, he will surely make a great name for himself as the other jazz legends have. He certainly is on Top of the World! 

Check out a full review of his latest project "On Top of the World" and a sample of his music below, you will not be disappointed....ENJOY!

http://www.thesmoothjazzride.com/site/jarez-on-top-of-the-world/#more-10504


YouTube Clip 




Sunday, December 1, 2013

"In My Listening Booth with the late Luther Vandross"

What better way to start off the month of December than with some nice warm, cozy music.  I have to admit, I am not a fan of Christmas music, well at least not all Christmas music. I am really not as big a fan of the Christmas season anymore either..When I was a kid, through my teens and as a young adult, between Thanksgiving and New Years, our house was filled with family, food and lots of fun! At times we would travel from one relative house to another, and each house was always filled with the same, food, family, friends and fun!  The toys were nice, but the best part was seeing my cousins, aunts and uncles, and listening to stories from the elders about what Christmas really means....

A Charlie Brown Christmas is another classic that my cousins and I would faithfully watch every season; Sadly, so much of that has been lost and forgotten, that listening to and watching classic songs and shows, brings it all back!  Even now as an adult, I will still watch Charlie Brown Christmas, yes, you read that right, and I can't wait to watch it with my grand-kids when my Son and his wife start their family!  

I feel the same about holiday songs; So many popular songs have been done over and over again, that I feel a little nostalgia is needed from time to time. I am not knocking the artists who've added their personal touches to already classic holiday tunes, but every now and then, I have to listen to some of the best holiday tunes I have had the pleasure of enjoying over the years.   There is something about the older songs evokes the best memories! Luther Vandross may have left us much too soon, but he also left us with some amazing music and classic holiday tunes!

Luther Vandross classic "Every Year, Every Christmas", This is one of my all time favorites holiday songs by him. He sings it so beautifully, if your not in the mood, you will be....ENJOY!

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?  
Do you prefer the classic version, or a newer version of the same song? 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73oZyC6Jc30


Monday, November 25, 2013

Songs and Conversation with India Arie.....

I have been to many concerts over the years, and there is not one, that I can think of that has inspired me more, than the amazing concert I experienced on Nov 23rd, at the Keswick Theater, with the beautiful and talented India Arie.

As we waited for her to grace the stage, a young man named Gramps Morgan (solo reggae singer) who opened up the show, was quite good.  He is the son of reggae artist, Denroy Morgan. He sang a few songs, and entertained the audience. I also looked around at the crowd, and I was very delighted to see such a mixture of people; young and older, different races, and more surprisingly, a great deal of men. Many of them were not alone, with their wife or significant other, but it was nice to see.

Her "Songversation" Tour is just that, songs and conversation collectively that made for a very spiritual and emotional evening.  From my perspective, you have to be in a certain state of mind for a India Arie concert.  If you are expecting some booty shaking, an entourage of dancers, special effects, stage props etc, you will not get that here, but that's a good thing, because her show is so much more than that. It is all about India, her audience, and what she wants you to feel and experience as she takes you on a spiritual journey with her music and conversation.


I particularly liked how she opened with her message to us, about what she hoped we would take away from her show. Not many artists do this, (at least none that I have seen in recent memory) and she did it with such grace and class.  She literally prepared your mind and body for what she was about to do. When she walked out on the stage, she appeared a bit shy at first, but as she began to speak and talk a little about her life's challenges prior to creating "Songversation" I knew I was about to witness something special from her, and she delivered.

Because she is on tour, I am going to leave some details out (I don't want to spoil too much, in case you are planning to see her), because she did some amazing things at this show. A special moment for me was, when she began doing what I like to call "spiritual dancing" during some of her songs. It was so on point, considering the type of show it was.
 

Of course she did some of  her new with a mix of her old songs, opening with, "I Am Light", followed by,

"This Little Light of Mine"
"Video" Classic!
"I Am Not My Hair" (The audience went wild when she sang this, because she did something really incredible that took everyone by surprise),  that is all I will tell!
"Flowers" (from her new CD) I love this song, and she related this tune to family, whether it be blood relatives, friends, co-workers etc.
'The Morning After" - heartbreak and healing; she was so eloquent when she spoke about this
"The Truth" - one of my favorites, and she along with her back up singers performed this with a twist, so it took me by surprise, because at first I did not recognize it, but I loved how they changed it up.
"Brown Skin" - audience went wild
and then she left the stage, audience went wild again, asking for an encore, and she returned singing,
what I thought was the most beautiful song she sang all night (and she did a super job with all her songs)

"Ready For Love" from her Acoustic Soul CD, the way she performed this, literally brought me to tears!

Another notable thing she did,  was tell us about the projection screen behind her that she had been waiting and hoping for. The images on the screen were reflections of her music and conversation.  She loves the outdoors, nature, the sea, etc, and she wanted to present that to her audience as she performed. In addition to the images, there were spiritual quotes displayed as well. Very nice addition to the show!

Towards the very end of the evening, the crowd was starting to thin out, so I eased my way up closer to get the best pics I could. Not an easy task, when there are other fans trying to do the same, but there was a lady standing in front of me who saw what I was trying to do, so she leaned slightly to the left, which allowed me to get some really good shots, without the flash! 






 "SoulBird", so fitting for such an incredibly talented young lady.  She lit up the Keswick theater with her musical gift. The messages in her songs are all a reflection of many aspects of my own life and I am sure for others. Not taking anything away from other female artists, but India Arie, brings a whole new meaning to performing live in front of an audience. She was gentle, laid back, but often times expressed energy when she sang. She was also very poised and confident when speaking about her musical journey.  Speaking from a woman's perspective, we all still have that "little girl" in us no matter how old we get, and a few times you would see that in her when she spoke, but that only illuminated her true inner beauty.  Many artists will talk to their audience before and during a performance, but she adds a whole new dimension to reaching out and pulling her fans in to her music and who she is as a woman. I loved every minute of this show, and if she were here for another night, I would have been there for sure.  I have only been to the same concert twice in one weekend in my entire life, and that was to see the late Michael Jackson, and I would have done the same for India Arie.

I am very much looking forward to seeing her again in the future, and I hope I get to meet her and express to her how life changing her show was for me. She will forever be my"spiritual sister"...


 
Do you have a favorite India Arie Song?  Have you ever seen her live?  Your thoughts and comments are welcome!

.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I AM GOING WITH THE BEST PERSON I KNOW - ME!

I contemplated this for weeks, and decided a few days ago, if I really want to go to a concert to see one of my favorite acoustic soul artists, who better to go with than me?  My husband and I don't like all of the same things; that includes, movies, food, and music.  But isn't that the beauty in relationships and marriages?, you don't always have to like the same things. 


Case in point, I have been wanting to see artist, #India Arie since her 1st CD release in 2001 (Acoustic Soul)...since that time she has been a force to be reckoned with. There is just something about her music that feeds my soul when I hear it.  So when I read that she was going to be here at the Keswick Theater the week before Thanksgiving, it was music to my ears.  However, one of the first thoughts that came to mind, who will I go with?  I didn't really want to ask the hubby, because as I said before, our interest in music differs (with the exception of Jazz, which we definitely agree on), so I thought about asking my sister, or one of my girlfriends.  

I went back and forth about this for days, all the while continuing to check the Keswick Theater website to see what seats were left. Since the show is in two weeks, I did not want to impose on anyone at pretty much the last minute, and just when I was about to give up and not go at all, I thought to myself, why I am struggling with who to ask at the last minute, when the one person who is available to go is ME?

So there you have it, I purchased my ticket and now just counting the days with excitement.  I don't know what I am more excited about; seeing India Arie in concert for the first time, or going alone to see India Arie in concert for the first time! sorry for the repeat, but it just seemed to fit.

My point is, doing fun things with family, friends, husbands, or boyfriends is great, but you can also do, fun and amazing things by yourself! The choice is yours. Never let a person or thing stand in your way of doing what feeds your soul!

Stay tuned, November 23rd is fast approaching, and I will be singing, one of my favorite songs by India, "Strength, Courage and Wisdom", all the way to the Keswick Theater!

"A man who procrastinates in his choosing, will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance" - Hunter S. Thompson

I love this quote, because it made me realize, had I procrastinated about going to this show, all because I did not want to go alone, or burden anyone with a last minute decision, ultimately my choice would have been made for me, by the circumstance of the show being SOLD OUT!  Yikes! just the thought of that gives me chills.  Ahhhhh, life is good! 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

I WILL ALWAYS BE HIS #1 FAN!


What better way to spend my Saturday morning, after eating a bowl of cereal, sipping a cup of hot Chai and watching my husband practice his online guitar lessons!  Just when you think you know someone, they go and do something totally out of the box. 21 years together and I never knew he wanted to learn to play the guitar. Seriously, I didn't! 


Is it a hidden dream of his, to one day play at a gig, in some small, back alley club, where locals go after a hard days work, for a drink, good conversation and good music?   It could be his dream, (he has not confessed that yet) but it suddenly occurred to me, that when we were at the Rehoboth Beach Jazz Fest a few weeks ago, I saw how mesmerized he was by anyone who was playing a guitar.

When we were at the Delaware Distillery jazz fest after party, listening to Four80East and Matt Marshak kick out some awesome tunes, we had the perfect seats, right next to the band.  James never left his seat, and Matt was standing directly next to him, pounding away on his guitar, and his eyes were fixated on the guitar and how Matt was playing.  I then thought to myself, wow, it is not only about the great music we are hearing, but for James, in his mind, he's probably thinking how he would love to one day play 1/2 as good.

Whether he will ever reach his full potential at playing in front of an audience is really not the point; The point of it all is the journey he is on doing something for himself; something that motivates him, inspires him and gives him joy. Myself, his children and his extended family & friends, can be his audience, his fans and I think he would be just fine with that..Are you doing something, an activity, that tugs at your soul, that gives you joy?

"Focus on the journey, not the destination.
 Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it"...Greg Anderson



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A GIRL CAN DREAM.......

So now that I've come down off my jazz festival high, it got me to thinking about how great it would be if I could turn my love of music and travel into my dream job.....hey a girl can dream right?  Well if not my dream job at least afford myself the opportunity to attend as many jazz fest, concerts and events, all while exploring the town that we happen to be in, as time would allow, of course with my hubby in tow and share it all with my readers!  Sounds exhausting doesn't it? but hey, exhausting fun it is!

It's about living life on your terms (within reason) and doing what you love. I love to write and travel. I also love music, and travel doesn't necessarily mean exotic places, it could be a 2 hr car ride away from home, it's all about what you make it.. Combining the two just made sense and so here I am. But who knew I would add smooth jazz to the mix. I did so because we attended quite a bit of events this past year,  I thought to myself why not write about that too. I love telling a story.


Some people just go to these events and then go home, and that is okay, especially if it is in your hometown, but on our last trip to Rehoboth Beach,  we merged our vacation plans with the jazz fest, and it worked out great, especially since neither of  us had been back to RB since the 90's; we got to explore the town and party at the same time!

One of our goals is to attend a jazz event in San Diego in the future, and since neither of us have ever visited SD, this will make for a great theme vacation destination!  Until then, we will go where our wallet tells us, Lol!

People will ask me, "are you a music or travel expert"? and I reply, Heck no, but we are music and travel lovers. I am not writing about jazz or travel from a "technical" perspective, but more so sharing our experiences.


Travel doesn't always mean exotic places, or far away destinations. A person can spend their vacations at a bed and breakfast, relaxing and reading, and enjoy that more than a person who just returned from a trip around the world. "It is never about the destination, but always the journey"..It took me years to understand that, and now I do..

Not everyone is going to agree with what I write, but that is the beauty of sharing your world with others, you take the bitter with the sweet, and if what I share interests other to follow me on this journey, great! if not, such is life!
I should have started this blog a long time ago because hubby and I have been to some really cool places in our 21 years together, but timing is everything and maybe this is my time.  stay tuned......

Are you doing something right now that gives you joy, feeds your soul!

"If you want your life to be a magnificant story, then begin by realizing that you are the author"...Anonymous


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jazz Fest closing party in Rehoboth went out with a BANG!

There is nothing quite like a jam session, and when it is with some of the best artists in the business you know it's party time and party we did! 

We cut out of the grand finale event at the convention center and made our way to the Delaware Distilling Co (formely Old Bay) for more music and a chance to meet and greet with the artists. 

This was the final closing party and the "unofficial" end of the jazz fest!

That is what we love about these events. If your lucky enough to get after party/ jam session tickets you have a greater chance of being up close and personal with the artists, but it also depends on the venue size and the amount of people. Fortunately this place is really not that big but just the right size where you do have a chance to meet and greet.

They are not shy or un-approachable and will mingle with the crowd of party goers! Saxophonist-Elan Trotman and Trumpeter-Joey Sommerville did a great job getting the crowd off their feet and grooving to the music. 

These guys may have been tired from earlier at the grand finale concert but, you couldn't tell by the energy they had. Alex Bugnon and Marion Meadows got in on a piece of the action and partied with us with their smooth and electrifying sounds. 

Four80east (noodle soup) are an awesome band and together with guitarist Matt Marshak, and drummer Carl C-man Anderson the place was on fire! If you don't know who they are, do yourself a favor and Google them, you'll be so glad you did. 

A few hours into the night, people were out of their seats. The music was loud and good. I actually felt like I was part of the band, Lol!. Our seats were directly next to the them and I was standing, bouncing and clapping along with the crowd. I was literally next to the drum/percussion player grooving right along with him. It was so much fun. 

As much as we hated to leave we were exhausted and were leaving for home the next day, so we needed to pack. What a grand way to end our evening and long weekend. 

Stay tuned for more on the local entertainment highlights as well.  Have you ever attended a jam session? If so, who did you see? 





ELAN TROTMAN, MARION MEADOWS
DELAWARE DISTILLING CO - CLOSING PARTY
ME AND STEVE COLE!
I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYONE WORK NSTRUMENTS THE WAY HE DID!
THE WILLIAMS (center),  A NICE COUPLE WE MET AT THE JAZZ FEST, GETTING THEIR GROOVE ON



ALEX BUGNON 

MATT MARSHAK, FOUR80EAST, ELAN TROTMAN ON SAX, 
JOEY SOMMERVILLE ON TRUMPET



FOUR80EAST



REHOBOTH BEACH - A TOWN WITH CLASS & COOLNESS, WITH OR WITHOUT JAZZ!

The 24th annual Jazz Fest may have had the biggest influence on our trip to Rehoboth Beach, but this town  is pretty cool, with or without smooth jazz, and that is a great thing!  We arrived the day before our scheduled shows, and that was a good decision, because it allowed us to explore downtown Rehoboth before we got busy with the events.

Not everyone puts a great deal of thought into where they will stay on vacation (we skipped summer vacation for this event, so this was, as I like to call it "our jazzy fall vacation") so picking the right place to stay was equally important to us, as it was choosing what shows to attend.

We chose the Avenue Inn and Spa on Rehoboth avenue because of its excellent location to shops, restaurants, bars, free parking, and proximity to the jazz events. Great choice because, not only did the hotel meet all of our needs, but we really enjoyed our stay here. Customer service is everything, no matter the industry, and in the hospitality industry you can book a stay at a budget, no frills motel, but if the service is top notch, you can feel like your staying in a 5 star hotel.  I put no stock in 5 star hotels, because not all of them give 5 star service, unless of course you are super rich, but the Avenue Inn is a very nice hotel, that not only offers exceptional service but is one of the cleanest hotels we have ever stayed in. One thing I did notice in our room, there was no coffeemaker.  I can't remember the last time we stayed at a hotel where there was none, even if they offered continental breakfast as this place does...Odd, but I guess not unusual.

From our nicely appointed room, to the indoor pool, dining area, lounge areas and bathrooms, they do a great job keeping this place spotless. The rooms may be not as new as the lobby and other areas, but it suited us just fine. Breakfast was a hit or miss depending on your wants and needs. My husband did not think much of it, but it was nice to be able to get coffee, juice, cereal, bagels, muffins, if that is all you wanted.  However, Sammy's Kitchen was across the street, and they offered an affordable mix of more hearty breakfast choices.  My pancakes were yummy!


LOBBY @ AVENUE INN
NICE AND COZY SITTING AREA AT AVENUE INN

We were here pre-renovations to the main lobby and other common areas, so we were equally impressed with the  improvements. We did not stay here on our last visit in April (we were in town for a CD release party for Brian Simpson at the Delaware Distilling Co) but we stopped in the hotel for a brochure, and to ask about our upcoming trip for the jazz fest, so we got see all the construction that was going on. Fast forward 6 months and WOW, what an amazing job that was done.  Very warm and inviting colors, the new bar and lounge is a very nice addition, especially if you wanted a nightcap before bed, but one of the top features of this place, is its location, superb!  It was so nice to wake up in the morning, and walk out your door, take a brief walk up the street to the beach and boardwalk for a stroll, and having the option of stopping along the way for coffee, newspaper, all right outside your door. Sweet!   We definitely plan to stay here again for the next Jazz fest if not sooner for a quick beach getaway.


NEW OUTDOOR LOUNGE AREA AT AVENUE INN


DOWNTOWN REHOBOTH & THE BOARDWALK, COOL, CUTE & QUAINT

One day we were a little adventurous and decided instead of driving the car to the nearby outlets, we would ride the town (Dart) bus.  Not the best thing to do in off-season, because the schedules are much slower, but it saved on gas, and killed some down time we had that day before our 8pm show. The weather was exceptional, better yet, it was fabulous! we could not have asked for more perfect weather for the fall season, and especially at the beach.

Parking is at a premium, even in the fall.  There is downtown parking, but depending on your arrival time, you may be playing musical chairs with your car,  before you find a spot. Fortunately our hotel offered free parking!

One day it rained for a few hours, but that did not stop anyone from going about their evening.  Some of our highlights were stopping into the local bars/restaurants for cocktails and free live entertainment. It almost seemed as if every bar/restaurant had live music, especially since this was the big jazz fest weekend.
 
 Some of our pit stops for drinks and music were - Dos Locos,  Purple Parrot, The Pond, the Back Porch Cafe, Nicola Pizza and Cinco De Mayo Mexican restaurant. 


There are an abundance of places you can eat here, for every budget, and one of the best places we dined at was Zoggs Raw Bar and Grill!  The fish tacos were simply amazing!  We have eaten many tacos in our day, but we both agreed, this place was by far the absolute best! fresh fish, on hard or soft shell tacos, the salsa dressing on the atlantic cod taco was delicious! and most importantly, the prices were very good.  For the size, you get more than you pay for.  We are not big on 5 star dining, but every now and then we will splurge, however, on this trip it was not high on our list.  Good, affordable eating was a priority.  Jakes Seafood restaurant was recommended to us, and although hubby and I both agreed we've had better seafood, it was good. The service here was exceptional and atmosphere cozy.  We will dine here again, and order something different.
 
A BEAUTIFUL FALL DAY AT THE BEACH!


ZOGGS BAR & GRILL
MAHI TACO












One of the best things about travel, is meeting people! It's not for everyone, some people would much rather be left alone when on vacation, and I can certainly understand that, but no matter where we go, we always meet nice people! We may never see these people again, but if the conversations were good, and we enjoyed each others company, the memories are forever. That is the beauty of socializing on vacation. It can enhance your stay and you may even discover new places to eat, where to have the best cocktail, or find a good bargain when shopping, or perhaps even become good friends.  We did meets several people while we were here, 4 of them being couples, Andy and his wife Joy, Rudy and his wife Deborah.  Both nice couples and we hope to see them again next again during the 25th annual jazz fest!  

BEAUTIFUL FALL MORNING ON THE BOARDWALK
QUAINT AND CUTE SHOPPING STRIP
ALWAYS GREAT MEETING PEOPLE - JOY & ANDY, NICE COUPLE

RUDY AND DEBORAH, GETTING THEIR GROOVE ON AT THE JAZZ FEST AFTER PARTY



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Grand Finale jam session in Rehoboth went out smoking hot!!

Sunday, October 20

Grand finale jam session was GRAND indeed!

The jam packed jam session at the convention center in Rehoboth was nothing short of spectacular! A room full of energized fans together with a stage exploding with some of the best musicians in the business and you have a grand party at the beach!

With each artist showcasing their skills and playing popular tunes it was a blast. Nick Colionne's rendition of a Frankly Beverly and Maze song was outstanding! This man is a beast with a guitar but smooth on appearance. He brings his GQ style to every show but gets funky and loose on a guitar. Steve Cole's rendition of Luther Vandross "going in circles" on saxophone, almost brought me to tears! It was stunning.
NICK COLIONNE
STEVE COLE



















Love Mindi Abair! She's gorgeous and got skills with a saxophone. She performed a Rolling Stones classic and weaved her way into the audience and wowed the crowd. The men were loving it including my hubby!

Another awesome highlight was Sheila E. and her Dad, Pete Escovedo! Sheila got the crowd on their feet singing while papa Pete got his groove on! To have been in the business as long as he has traveling and performing, this man looks fantastic!

This was our first time seeing Matt Marshak and Four80East and they did not disappoint. They were also at the after show parties, so we got a triple dose of their unique talent.

So much fun so little time! We had to cut out a few minutes early to make it on time for the closing party at the Delaware Distillery but we definitely left energized and ready for more. Stay tuned.....The pics above and below will give you an idea of how awesome this grand finale event was!

Your comments and thoughts about the artists are welcome....

MATT MARSHAK
MARION MEADOWS & STEVE COLE
MINDI ABAIR




Monday, October 21, 2013

Jazz meets the late James Brown in Rehoboth!



Saturday, October 19

The late god-father of soul, James Brown spirit was at the beach in Delaware!

Guitarist Nick Colionne hosted a fun filled, sold out event Saturday afternoon at the convention center. With artist such as Alex Bugnon, Marion Meadows, Joey Sommerville, Eric Darius, Matt Marshak, Art Sherrod,  just to name a few, this venue was HOT! Jazz certainly met James with songs like "I got the feeling"; there rendition of this was outstanding and with It's a man's world" the audience were on their feet.

It was a pleasure to see Sheila E, she looked fantastic and she still got plenty of fire. 

Eric Darius, not only is he hot, but in my opinion brings a unique twist when playing his Sax. A little bit of funk, rock & roll, soul and jazz and plenty of energy! Not an easy task but he's got IT and some.

Nick Colionne sure knows how to work a crowd! Each time he came into the audience he got people out of their seats and shaking to the beats. For a very short period, some power was lost and the musicians just came into the audience!  They kept the party going despite the power issue. That's class.

James Brown has passed on but his spirit was surely at this event and I know he would have been proud. Great job Nick!  Maybe next year you can do a Jazz meets Rock and Roll and/or Latin and bring the Escovedo family with you?  That would work! 

Do you have a favorite James Brown song?  your comments are welcome! 


SHEILA E. AND NICK COLIONNE
ERIC DARIUS
GERALD ALBRIGHT!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Keiko Matsui, Najee & Alex Bugnon, Oh What a Night It Was!

Oct 18th
Amazing is an understatement describing day two of the festivities at this years jazz fest. From the awesome show featuring Keiko Matsui, Najee and Alex Bugnon and then the after show party at the Delaware Distillery (formely Old Bay Restaurant) Jazz at the beach was rocking!!

Keiko Matsui is a magnificant performer!  She just sends chills throughout your body as she plays her instruments. There were people there who were seeing her for the first time and there was one couple sitting behind us who were mesmerized by her beauty and talent. She received an emotional standing ovation and I could see the tears forming in eyes. She was so moved by the crowds love for her she came off stage into the audience with her keyboard, awesome!

Najee, what can I say, this man has skills beyond your imagination with a saxophone. Teaming up with Alex Bugnon just added more magic to the music they entertained the audience with. From Najee entering the auditorium and playing in the audience and then being literally steps from our seats,  I knew we were in for a treat.

Najee has a fantastic band and his base player Odell is full of fire and energy.  What this young man can do as a bassist is nothing short of electrifying!  He truly feels every beat and sound and knows how to entertain his audience and I say "his audience" because he owned it. Najee performed a special tribute to the late great George Duke that was to beautiful and fitting for such a legend in music. 

Unfortunately we had to leave towards the end of this show because we had another after show gig to attend at the Delaware Distillery featuring Marion Meadows and Joey Somerville. We didn't want to be too late because although our seats were reserved at a table for 7 we wanted a good view. About 90 minutes into the show when we thought things were about to wrap up, in walks Najee and a few of his band members!! I was beyond excited especially after leaving his show earlier. The highlight for us was a brief chat with him, Marion Meadows and of course a photo op. I will post that later. Overall it was an awesome night. Stay tuned for day 3 highlights.  Your comments are always welcome.

KEIKO MATSUI
NAJEE AND HIS GUITARIST
ODELL - BASSIST, AMAZING YOUNG MAN!
NAJEE AND ALEX BUGNON
NAJEE PERFORMING IN THE AUDIENCE




Monday, October 14, 2013

Counting down to the big party by the SEA!


Like vacations, you get excited, pack and unpack only to re-pack again, counting down the days until you are basking in the sun on a gorgeous beach, sailing the blue waters on a caribbean cruise, or in our case getting ready to party with some of the best jazz musicians in the business!

That would be the 24th annual Jazz Festival in #Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. We are leaving a day early so we can relax, unwind, explore the town, stroll on the beach (yes it is the fall season, but who cares) and maybe dibble dabble in a little shopping, before it officially begins for us on Friday, starting with Najee, Alex Bugnon and Keiko Matsui, and ending with a big bang on Sunday, at the Final Grand Jam!

We got our tickets early, scored some great seats, and are ready to roll!  stay tuned, I will be blogging live from this event as we go along. My first time at this since starting my blog, so I am bursting with excitement to do it. Stay tuned!



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Rehoboth Beach Heats up for Jazz!

Yesterday was a long fun filled day of great food, conversation and local jazz music as we gear up for the 24 annual jazz festival.

Some of our highlights were a late afternoon dinner at Zoggs Raw Bar and Grill for fish tacos. Hubby and I both agreed these were some of the best tacos we've ever had. This place ROCKS!   After filling our bellies we went back to our hotel for their wine and cheese hour and engaged in great conversation with other hotel guests and then we set off to explore some local entertainment.

Although there are main events scheduled throughout the weekend the local bars also feature jazz musicians and singers as well. Two places we stopped at for drinks and music were Dos Locos where the Van Williamson Trio performed and The Back Porch Cafe with saxophonist Peter Fraize who my hubby found out is the director of jazz studies at George Washington university.

Overall we had a great evening. Tonight it's Najee, Keiko Matsui and Alex Bugnon. Stay tuned..

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Jazzing it up Motown Style at the Museum


Who knew Jazz could sound so good when playing the sounds of Motown? Well it sure did at the
#African American Museum in Philadelphia, this past spring. Hubby and I had the pleasure of grooving to the sounds of the Supremes and other great Motown artists, and it was a great time, with an awesome band.

The Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble have been around for many years, but we never got a chance to see them live until now! They were at the Museum during the Mary Wilson Supreme Collections exhibit which was also something to see. All the beautiful gowns and outfits that the singers wore during their hey day made the show even more special for us.

The band was superb in their jazzy renditions of some of Motown's most popular songs. With Roy Richardson and Patricia Scott singing vocals to the many tunes, just added more pizazz to the bands already great sound.  We are looking forward to seeing this group again soon. We have been to several jazz events at the AA museum, and we are hoping there will be more to come as this is a great place for entertainment as well as the option of visiting the many museum exhibits that are showcased throughout the year.

As always, your comments are welcome!


African American Museum - Philadelphia, PA

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rehoboth Beach hosts a jazzy good time!

April 2013

So I am googling around on the Internet for jazz fest information and stumbled onto news of a CD Release Party in Rehoboth Beach Delaware for jazz musician #Brian Simpson, also featuring musician Art Sherrod Jr.  I also read that if we attended this party we would be able to purchase advance tickets for the October Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival! That was music to my ears, so I told the hubby and much to my surprise he said "buy the tickets for the party and book a hotel"!  I was elated and that is exactly what I did.  I was also surprised that the CD release party was only $10.00 which was easy on the wallet considering we had to book and pay for our overnight hotel stay and budget for spending money, so this was a nice treat as well.

Brian Simpson
Neither one of us knew much about Brian Simpson, and we had never heard of Art Sherrod Jr.  Brian is keyboard and sax, and Art Sherrod is also a sax player.  The venue where this event was held was at Old Bay Restaurant (now called Delaware Distilling Company), and when we first entered, I never would have guessed that this was a place for jazz. I say that because most venues such as restaurants or clubs, we have been to for jazz events were more neutral in color, and the decor fit the style of music.  This place had more of country/western ambiance but surprisingly it all fit together.  What we liked most about it was the size. Not compact but the right size where you really felt like you were at a private event.

What we liked least about this venue (and now that we know what the seating looks like, we will choose a different table when we return), if you pick the booth seats for a show, you are kind of forced to sit with strangers, not that its terribly wrong because meeting new people can make for some of the best times when traveling, however, it's not the best arrangement at a restaurant and you are planning to have dinner during the show; with that being said, it worked out in the end, and for our next visit in October for the annual jazz fest, we choose better seats for the after party shows.

The show was awesome.  Both musicians were amazing, and the up close and personal experience made it even more enjoyable. Brian Simpson literally walked out into the crowds playing his keyboard and this little girl about 10 years old, was really enjoying herself..(great to see someone so young so into his music).

That is what I like most about the smaller venues such as this, the up close and personal experience you get with the musicians and better your chances are (depending on the venue I suppose) to meet and chat with the artists.

Brian Simpson has been around  for many many years. He has toured with well known vocal artists such as Janet Jackson and Sheena Easton, and Jazz artists such as the late great George Duke and Jonathan Butler.

Brian's music is versatile, smooth and often romantic.  He plays the hell out of a keyboard! He goes from a very calm and mellow sound to eccentric and funky without breaking a sweat.

Art Sherrod Jr is also versatile, energetic and fun to watch as he pulls in the crowd.  Although this event was to promote Brian Simpson's CD, Art Sherrod Jr entertained the audience quite well and we look forward to seeing him again at Rehoboth Beach Jazz Fest in October.

Art Sherrod Jr


Brian and Art put on a fantastic show and when it all ended, they both hung around to chat & mingle with guests!  Your thoughts and comments are welcome...and thanks for reading my blog!