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