Tom Pinch – Mindi Abair

Tom Pinch, also known as “The Time-Lapse Painter” due to the captivating time-lapse painting videos he makes of many of his paintings, is a professional gallery and commission artist and a native Southern Californian currently based in Temecula, CA.

Largely self-taught, Pinch has sought out and learned directly from his mentor Richard Schmid as well as with Morgan Weistling and several others – sometimes involving extensive travel from California to New York City, Washington D.C. and Putney, Vermont in order to do so.

As a representational artist, he has achieved a uniquely versatile style which he describes as “Painterly Realism.” Working in oils, he approaches each individual work of art from a fresh perspective. His paintings have been exhibited in collections throughout the world, including the United States Golf Association Museum in New Jersey. It is there where Pinch’s 40″x30″ portraits of both Tiger Woods and the late PGA Tour player Payne Stewart hang as two of only 35 carefully selected portraits in their exclusive permanent museum collection.

His impressive client list includes many corporate commissions as well as private commissions. His client list continues to grow along with the desire for his artwork. In 2006, he began creating fine art gallery works in order to reach a broader spectrum of collectors as well as to reach his full creative potential. Although still an active commission artist, his gallery paintings of subjects of his choosing has since become his main creative inspiration and focus.

The illustrated picture is available here. For more information about the artist visit this website.

Eric Darius – The Smooth Breeze

Eric Darius released his latest album and Shanachie Entertainment debut, On A Mission, in the summer of 2010. Danny Weiss, VP of Jazz A&R for Shanachie states, “If you think of jazz as a wonderful tree whose trunk is its great tradition and whose branches are the never ending innovations of its young disciples, then Eric Darius is the newest branch of that tree. He can swing like the masters and funk like a hip-hopper; truly the blossoming of tomorrow’s jazz.”

The seeds have been sown and Eric Darius unearths his talents not only as a saxophonist but equally important, as a composer and co-producer on On A Mission. The saxman ,who first started experimenting with writing at age thirteen, cites Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock as among his biggest compositional influences. Darius acknowledges that music has always been an outlet for him to express his emotions and experiences.

Hailing from a musical family (his father from Haiti and mother from Jamaica) and raised in Tampa where he still lives, Eric Darius realized his calling for music at an early age. “ I remember being nine and hearing a saxophonist play at my church. I instantly loved the sound…I remember being blown away by the soul and emotion of the instrument. It was as if I could almost hear the words and lyrics with each note being played…it was at that point that I fell in love with the instrument. The saxophone has a way of reaching people in a way that no other instrument does. It is the closest to the human voice.”

Eric Darius published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.

Smooth Jazz and Great Venues – Punta Gorda

The 7th Annual Wine & Jazz Festival will be held on February 17th. 18th and 19th 2012 with the main event on Saturday Feb 18th, 2012. The Rippingtons, Peter White and Mindi Abair are the headliners.

The name, Punta Gorda, comes from the Spanish, meaning Fat Point. This historic small town is a hidden treasure of Florida and lies as a “Fat Point”, sticking out into Charlotte Harbor – one of the US’s largest natural harbors. Centrally located between Sarasota to the North and Fort Myers tothe South, Punta Gorda is a delightful location, within a comfortable driving distance from Tampa, Orlando and Miami.

As the only incorporated city of Charlotte County, Florida, Punta Gorda is the vibrant engine of the area. It boasts wonderful restaurants, marinas and a pace of life that people from around the world come to enjoy.

Smooth Jazz and Printed Medium – Smooth Jazz Magazine

If you love listening to smooth jazz, you’ll love Smooth Jazz Magazine! This national bi-monthly publication is a complement to the hundreds of smooth jazz radio stations that have millions of daily listeners.

Every issue is packed with full-color features and profiles of popular artists, disc jockeys and other industry personalities. Plus, in-depth coverage of concerts, jazz clubs, fashion styles, restaurants, reviews of new CD releases and a directory of smooth jazz radio station listings with frequencies and online music playing capabilities. Smooth Jazz Magazine also explores travel destinations with suggestions for fun and relaxation.

Smooth Jazz Magazine’s goal is to become the first word in Smooth Jazz, covering top artists of the day such as Sade, Dave Koz, Norah Jones, George Benson, Natalie Cole, Kenny G, Diana Krall, B.B. King, Four Play, Grover Washington Jr., Enya, Down To The Bone, Phil Collins, Luther Vandross, Bob James, Celine Dion, Sting, Seal, Earth, Wind and Fire, Boney James, Anita Baker – the list goes on.

For more information about Smooth Jazz Magazine visit

Smooth Jazz and Fine Dining – Jimmy Mak’s

Jimmy Mak’s is Portland’s premier jazz venue, featuring world-class national and regional talent. Jimmy Mak’s is an undeniable palace of jazz excellence and retro style.  Go to Jimmy Mak’s and hear some great jazz while sipping the life saver cocktail. Jimmy Mak’s brings in great artists and there’s no “bad” seat in the house. The food and drinks are good as well.

A very nice jazz club that is intimate, with great acoustics, good pasta, and mico-brews. If you’ve never been to a jazz club then you should grab a date and head out to Jimmy Mak’s and let America’s classical music wash over you. It’s a dark, smoke free venue and restaurant, perfect for a retreat from rainy Portland nights.

The stage is well spaced, the dining / seating area on the main floor is comfortable and fits a lot of bodies with room for service. There is a second level where you can grab a table and look down at the stage and all of the heads swaying to the sounds of a Coltrane composition (provided by one of the many local Tenor Sax musicians) or the banging drums of Mel Brown – local hero.

Chef Antoine Golden has developed a wonderful dinner menu for you to enjoy, as you listen to the world-class music performing at Jimmy Mak’s. He has a slightly French influence to offer with his Steak au Poivre, Coq au Vin, and Braised Lamb Shank. Don’t miss out on those St. Louis Ribs, Gulf Prawn Scampi, and the other delicious items on their menu.

Smooth Jazz fans will be pleased by Peter White, Patrick Lamb and many more.

Smooth Jazz And Books – Smooth Jazz Piano: Keyboard Style Series


This comprehensive book and CD package will teach you the basic skills you need to play smooth jazz piano. From comping to soloing, you’ll learn the theory, the tools, and the tricks used by the pros. The accompanying CD features many of the examples in the book performed either solo or with a full band.

Specifically, you’ll learn: scales and chords, harmony and voicings, progressions and comping, rhythmic concepts, melodies and soloing, characteristic stylings, the history of jazz, and more. The Hal Leonard Keyboard Style Series provides focused lessons that contain valuable how-to insight, essential playing tips, and beneficial information for all players. Comprehensive treatment is given to each subject, complete with a companion CD.

Smooth Jazz Piano: Keyboard Style Series is available in all online stores.

Gerald Albright – Funky Sax

One of the biggest stars of R&B, contemporary and straight-ahead jazz, Gerald Albright has earned his reputation as a “musician’s musician.” Born in Los Angeles, he began piano lessons at an early age. Albright’s love of music picked up considerably when he was given a saxophone that had belonged to his piano teacher. By the time he enrolled at the University of Redlands, he was already a polished saxophonist. Albright decided to switch to bass guitar after he saw Louis Johnson in concert. A few months after graduating from college, he joined jazz pianist/R&B singer Patrice Rushen, who was in the process of forming her own band. Later, when the bass player left in the middle of a tour, Albright replaced him and finished the tour on bass guitar.

During the ’80s, Albright became a highly requested session musician, playing on albums by a wide variety of artists – including Anita Baker, Ray Parker, Lola Folana, Atlantic Starr, Olivia Newton-John, the Temptations and Maurice White. He also toured extensively with Les McCann, Jeff Lorber, Teena Marie, the Winans, Marlena Shaw, Quincy Jones, and Whitney Houston, among many others. Albright also went on to record numerous successful solo albums for Atlantic Records. Two albums hit the number one slot on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Chart, and were nominated for GRAMMY® Awards in 1989 and 1990. Phil Collins asked him to front a Big Band in 1998, and they toured together. The two of them also recorded one of Albright’s tunes, “Chips N’ Salsa” on Collins’ Big Band Project, entitled A Hot Night In Paris. Later that year, Albright released Pleasures of the Night with Will Downing on Verve Forecast, which hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart as well.

Albright moved to GRP in 2002 for the Groovology album, and continued to maintain his busy schedule as a session man. His second GRP album, Kickin’ It Up, followed in 2004. Two years later, he signed with Peak Records, which released the 2008 GRAMMY® nominated New Beginnings, and the 2009 GRAMMY® nominated, Sax for Stax; both in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Album.

Over the years, Albright has appeared on numerous TV shows such as A Different World, Melrose Place and BET Jazz segments, as well as piloting a show in Las Vegas with Designing Women star Meshach Taylor. Albright was selected to be one of 10 saxophonists to play at President Clinton’s inauguration ceremony. Along the way, he has sold over a million albums in the U.S. alone and has appeared on nearly 200 albums by other artists.

Pushing the Envelope is easily Gerald Albright’s most rewarding session to date. “The title reflects all the tunes on the project,” Albright says. “I didn’t want to hold anything back. I really wanted to push the envelope and give people a little more edge. I come from the era where we didn’t think of a formula – we went from the gut.”

Gerald Albright published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.

Dave Koz and Friends at Sea 2012 – Naples

Join the gentleman of Smooth Jazz Dave Koz and his friends for a week-long fun-filled trip to Europe. He will be cruising the Italian and French Riviera in September of 2012. It’s really a dream-come-true itinerary starting in Barcelona, Spain and continuing on to Naples, Rome and Florence, Italy — then on to Nice and Toulon, France! Three countries and six ports during an unforgettable seven-day cruise on board the Royal Caribbean Line’s Serenade of the Seas. This cruise is already booked out, but perhaps you have luck to catch the boat!

On the Dave Koz & Friends At Sea Cruise, every single night you will be entertained by some of the best known names in Smooth Jazz: Dave Koz, Michael Bolton, Bob James, Nathan East, Harvey Mason, Chuck Loeb, Marc Antoine, Patti Austin, Norman Brown, Rick Braun, Jonathan Butler, Brian Culbertson, Michael Lington, Paul Brown, Raul Midón are among the already booked artists.

Naples, Napoli in Italian, is the third most-populated city in Italy and the biggest city in Southern Italy. Its name comes from the Greek Neapolis meaning new city. Its close proximity to many interesting sites, such as Pompeii and the Bay of Naples, makes it a good base for exploring the area. Naples is a lively and vibrant city, full of wonderful historical and artistic treasures and narrow, winding streets with small shops, making it worth at least a few days visit.

Mount Vesuvius or Vesuvio, the volcano near Naples, is an interesting place to explore. To reach Vesuvio, get off the train at Ercolano station where you can catch a Compagnia Trasporti Vesuviani bus outside the station. Europe Travel has visiting information for Mount Vesuvius and a virtual tour.

Pompeii was a thriving wealthy city that was buried by an eruption of Vesuvio in 79AD. Excavations of the site have been ongoing for a few hundred years so there is lots to see and you’ll be doing a lot of walking. To reach the excavations, get off the train at Pompeii Scavi. You can also take a SITA bus from Piazza Esedra in Naples.

Also worth a visit is the Amalfi Coast and the  picturesque Sorento.  Sorrento makes a good base for exploring the scenic Amalfi Coast, one of Italy’s top travel destinations. Sorrento has many choices of accommodation and is easily reached on public transportation.

Smooth Jazz Festival Mallorca – Sa Coma


Sa Coma, on the east coast of Mallorca in the municipality of Sant Llorenç, is separated from the resort of Cala Millor on the peninsula by the natural area of Sa Punt de n’ Amer, the only undeveloped area along this part of the coast. Sa Coma was developed in the ’80’s to cope with the tourist demand but control has been kept on building, with few hotels and more holiday villas and apartment blocks.

There are a wide range of bars and restaurants, many owned by British people, or aimed at the British market. Other facilities include a large supermarket and tennis courts. Nightlife is on the quiet side but Cala Millor is livelier and only a 5 min car ride away.

The Smooth Jazz Festival with unique live music will take place in the exclusive ambience of the Protur Biomar Gran Hotel & Spa. The 5-star hotel is also the venue and is characterized by an elegant and modern equipment, a full-equipped spa area as well as landscaped gardens and swimming pools (indoor / outdoor).

Smooth Jazz Calendar 2012

The Original Smooth Jazz Calendar was first created by Sherry Fisher in 2005 for family & friends including artists & industry people is filled with photos of your favorite Smooth Jazz Artists from concerts throughout the year. Over the last several years calendar has been expanded a larger size and now measures 17”x22”, allowing to feature more performers than ever.

The artists this year will include all of your favorites! Peter White, Rick Braun, Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson, Richard Elliot, Mindi Abair, Jeff Golub, Michael Paulo, Spencer Day, Euge Groove, Craig Chaquico, Eric Darius, Jessy J, Norman Brown, Gerald Albright, Vincent Ingala, Trombone Shorty, Candy Dulfer, Acoustic Alchemy, Shilts, Jackiem Joyner, Keiko Matsui and more!

For more information about the calendar visit this website.

Bruni Sablan – Miles Eyes

Bruni Sablan was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil circa the mid-twentieth century. Artistry has been her heritage. Her father Joseph Parello, of Sicilian decent, a civil engineer and architect, also painted. Her mother, Clo Parello, of Lebanese decent, was an accomplished classical pianist and beloved piano instructor for many years in the Northern California bay area.

Bruni’s father introduced her to American jazz at a very early time in her life, she was five years old. She describes him as a “quiet soul” who loved the music of Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Artie Shaw, Louis Armstrong, June Christy, Sarah Vaughan, and many more. At the same time, her Sicilian grandfather, Caetano Parello, was teaching her how to “see” art… He was a sculptor/painter himself. When caught “correcting” an Italian masterpiece owned by the Parello family, the child received accolades from her father and grandfather, although she was properly reprimanded for interfering with a great work of art by the rest of the family….

Bruni grew up with art and music in her blood, and lived for a while in Los Angeles during a hazy, passionate time when the great Brazilian music masters had become prominent in the U.S.A. She sang and traveled with the likes of Joao Donato and Walter Wanderley. – But, painting is what kept her “sane” during those turbulent years. After ten years of marriage and a beautiful daughter, Kristina, -Now a singer, songwriter, and sculptor – Bruni immersed herself in the art and developed (over the last twenty-five years) what has become a legendary body of work, “The Jazz Masters Series by BRUNI.”

Today, as restless as ever, she continues her pursuit of painting “every great jazz musician who ever lived.” Some of her tributes, such as Miles Davis, encompass more than two hundred and eighty canvasses. She presently is working simultaneously on five bodies of work: the continuation of the Jazz Masters Series; a tribute to the great humanitarian Mother Teresa; a Tribute to Africa entitled “Africa: Look at Us”; a tribute to the legendary Brazilian musicians and composers, past and present; and her abstract still-life and figurative paintings.

Bruni is a highly spiritual being, and feels she connects with the souls of her subjects, which results in a tremendously fast, energetic, and sometimes aggressive venture. This can leave her in a state of complete exhaustion. But, her energy and inspiration seem to get replenished endlessly.

BRUNI Gallery is located in San Jose, California – 408-298-4700.

For more information about the artist and her works visit

Russ Harris – Floating Guitar

As a graphic designer, photographer and traditional artist Russ Harris has painted in acrylic, chalk, pen & ink, pencils and water colors and is now combining these elements to create and capture visual reality that a photographic moment does not completely capture.

As a fine-artist, Russ Harris adds the moment and expression that visually speaks a thousand words through the use of creating lights, textures traditional artist detail in brush stokes and combining fine detail with pencils, pen & ink and chalk. His artworks have been commissioned and acquired by private clients and is currently offered for sale worldwide. Russ’ lives and creates in the seaside community of La Jolla, California.

For more information about the artist and his work visit his website.

Smooth Jazz and Great Venues – The Broadmoor

GRAMMY® Award-Winning guitarist Earl Klugh annually invites jazz and music enthusiasts to a unique, luxurious getaway at the Mobil Travel Guide Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs. It’s the perfect destination to enjoy exceptional hospitality, accommodations and world-class music – all among the splendor of the Colorado Rockies.

Our community of fans, The Broadmoor and its staff, and performances from the likes of Al Jarreau, Roberta Flack, Chris Botti, Bob James, Patti Austin, Arturo Sandoval, Chuck Mangione, Ramsey Lewis, Spyro Gyra, Joe Sample and many more create this outstanding weekend experience that sells out each year. April 12-14, 2012 marks Klugh’s 9th Annual Weekend of Jazz at The Broadmoor.

The resort dates from 1891, when it began as a small hotel and casino. The current resort was built in 1918 by Spencer Penrose, a Philadelphia entrepreneur whose brother was Senator Boies Penrose. Nicknamed “Spec” for skill at speculation, Spencer Penrose amassed a fortune from mining claims at nearby Cripple Creek, and after a grand tour through Europe’s finest hostelries, decided to build one, with no expense spared. The hotel attracted a wealthy clientele in the early 20th century, drawn to the beauty of Pikes Peak, as well as to the mountain air which aided recuperation from tuberculosis. Penrose was so pleased with the Broadmoor that in 1937 he completed a monument nearby to its creator — his tomb, an 80-foot hilltop observation tower which overlooks the resort.

Smooth Jazz and Printed Medium – Jazziz

For over 25 years, Jazziz Magazine has been covering the jazz world, documenting musical innovations, charting industry trends, following the artists whose lives so colorfully inform our own.

The award-winning Jazziz Magazine gives you the lowdown, in print and online, on what’s hot (and what’s not) in the world of jazz with insightful editorial, hundreds of CD reviews, and inspired photography and design. Aside from its unparalleled look, each issue of Jazziz comes with Limited Edition Collector’s CDs so that you can listen to the music featured in the magazine.

Jazziz has been called “the voice of a new jazz culture; a culture it helped create,” and over the past 25 years has earned the undisputed authority on jazz and style. More than a magazine, Jazziz is your one-stop destination for information and entertainment in the jazz world.

For more information about Jazziz visit their website.

Smooth Jazz and Great Venues – The Osthoff Resort

The Osthoff Resort, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, is a premier AAA Four Diamond resort located on 500 ft of recreational lakefront. Offering a casual atmosphere within its’ elegant surroundings, The Osthoff Resort provides a romantic getaway for couples, while year-round indoor and outdoor activities, provide a family with many opportunities to enjoy spending time together.

Their conference center offers spacious and well-appointed ballrooms and meeting rooms to assist in the productivity of retreats and conferences for our group guests. A host of seasonal getaway packages are available providing guests varying options for a holiday vacation. Whether spring, summer, fall or winter – The Osthoff Resort is Your Place on the Lake.™

The Osthoff Resort is host of a wonderful weekend of dynamic performances by world-renowned jazz musicians including White Hot Summer Groove featuring Peter White and Euge Groove, Nick Colionne, Celebrating the Music of Grover Under the Direction of Jason Miles, Down to the Bone, Maysa, Jackiem Joyner, Matt Marshak and Marcell Guyton!

The 10th annual Jazz on the Vine, May 11-13, 2012 celebrates Smooth Jazz and gives you the opportunity to sample an array of over 100 exotic wines from international and domestic vineyards and enjoy eclectic cuisine created by our award-winning Osthoff Chefs.

Nick Colionne – The Best Dressed Man In Jazz

Red-hot guitarist and vocalist Nick Colionne continues his blazing success into 2011. BET Jazz has described him as one of the most exceptional performers to come along in a long time. His CD Feel The Heat marks his debut on the prestigious Trippin n Rhythm label, and takes his unique combination of jazz, funk, R&B, blues and soul to new heights. Long known for his dynamic, musically eclectic “live” performances, Feel The Heat  demonstrates his dynamic command of the guitar, rich baritone vocals and varied music styles, all of which make this latest CD a reflection of why he is a true force when performing in concert. His long string of Top 10 hits from his six previous CDs is a testament to his musical talent… Feel The Heat  is destined to add to that list.

Nick was honored with the prestigious 2007 International Instrumental Artist of the Year Award at the Wave Jazz Awards, succeeding 2006 winner Chris Botti. He was nominated for this award again in 2009. He was nominated as Guitarist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year by the American Smooth Jazz Awards in 2010 and received the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award for his ongoing commitment to mentoring children and his work in the community and nationally in support of breast cancer causes.Nick is frequently referred to as “the best dressed man in jazz”, and he enjoys an on-going endorsement from the men’s designer line Stacy Adams as well as longtime endorsements with Epiphone Guitars, Gibson Strings and Accessories and AKG Electronics.

The Chicago native learned to play guitar at 9 from his step-father, was a touring pro by 15 and as a teenager he honed his skills playing with R&B legends the Staples Singers, Curtis Mayfield, The Impressions, Natalie Cole and more. He worked with numerous successful groups before deciding to step out front and center and hasn’t looked back since.

Colionne has toured all over the world but his passion is mentoring children – he is in his 16th year of same at the St. Laurence K-8 School in suburban Elgin, IL. He has also developed a special music curriculum for the Florence B. Price Elementary School for the Performing Arts in Chicago. Nick’s charity work is on-going and generally quiet, but in 2009 he joined forces with Epiphone Guitars, Wine and Jazz Magazine and Tobin James Winery in a national campaign to benefit breast cancer research, and in 2010 he invited his sponsor Stacy Adams to participate in Suited Up For Success, a program with the Urban League of the Carolinas to benefit men re-entering the workforce. Stacy Adams has endowed “his” school, St. Laurence, with a music scholarship in his name to help needy students. He is the recipient of the Malcolm X College alumnus of the year award for his contributions to music and the community.

It’s no surprise that Nick Colionne’s sustained chart-topping radio history and his incredible live performances, infused with his unique and soulful styling of jazz, funk, R&B and blues along with his rich vocals and engaging stage personality, have made him a force to be reckoned with.

Nick Colionne published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.

Smooth Jazz and Printed Medium – Smooth Jazz News

Established in 1999, Smooth Jazz News is the source for everything smooth jazz. Published eight times annually (February/March, April, May, June, July, August/September, October/November and December/January), Smooth Jazz News is a contemporary jazz lifestyle magazine. Current cover stories are updated on their website each month as a sample of the type of content readers can expect to find in the print publication. Personal interviews with the finest and most popular world-renown to cutting-edge smooth jazz artists are highlighted in each edition.

They also feature CD picks, a calendar of national smooth jazz events, reviews of prime jazz festivals, concerts and cruises, “Jazz Buzz” column, horoscopes, book reviews, and stories covering a wide variety of topics ranging from travel to relationships and health thus, combining all of the elements their name implies,  Smooth Jazz News , Jazz Buzz and the Succulent Life. Smooth Jazz News is available for home delivery, and is also distributed by most smooth jazz radio stations, at selected concerts, festivals and promotional events.

More information about this publication is available at their website.

Dan Haraga – Miles Davis Live

Dan Haraga is a professional American artist, who lives and works both in Hudson County, NJ and New York City, NY; he is gaining a fast reputation among art lovers and collectors worldwide, having an increasing number of sold original artworks and prints throughout United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and numerous artworks in several commercial art galleries in New York City and beyond.

On Fine Art America he is presenting a selection of his most recent artworks consisting of oil paintings, watercolors and photographs. For more information about the artist and his work visit his website.

Smooth Jazz And Fine Dining – Marquee 15

Marquee 15 was created to provoke the emotion one can only feel when watching a live performance! Patrons are treated to our world class American fusion cuisine in a setting of chic classic rock décor, Marquee 15 has thought of everything to ensure that your dining experience is memorable and exciting.

Marquee 15 features top entertainers from all over the world performing live on our massive concert stage. Hear and see these superstar performers up close and personal. There isn’t a single bad seat in the house.

Located on the southern tip of Corona about one mile south of Dos Lagos, the venue is a bit hard to find for first timers. When you arrive, you’ll notice that this might be the only venue in the region with a line outside, as you might expect to find in Los Angeles or Orange County.

Support Smooth Jazz artists appearing in this venue like Graffiti,  Graig Vail and more.

Marquee 15, 9022 Pulsar Ct, Suite H, Corona, California 92883

Smooth Jazz and Fine Dining – Blue Dolphin

The Blue Dolphin, a longtime fixture in the downtown area, offers an excellent atmosphere for dining, dancing and sensational jazz sounds so jazz lovers can move to the groove this winter and the new year. The food is authentic Greek and the best Greek food in Southwest Michigan. The Blue Dolphin has a sense of comfort to it. When you eat there you relax and enjoy the experience.

This restaurant hosts the Ultimate Smooth Jazz Series. The Jazz Series will feature many musicians and vocalists with an extensive repertoire over the next few months to quench the thirst of the multiple and diverse jazz lovers in Kalamazoo and S.W. Michigan. The series will run every Friday in January and feature performances from different jazz artists each night.

Lansing saxophonist Phil Denny headlined the first show of the series. Denny has been playing jazz for more than 20 years, but only started performing full time two years ago after he stepped down as vice president at Lansing mortgage company US Capital. Denny was supported by keyboardist Nate Harasim. For more information about the show read this article.

The Blue Dolphin Restaurant, 502 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo

Mindi Abair – Blue Mindi

Saxophonist/vocalist/songwriter Mindi Abair has been surrounded by talented musicians her entire life. Her paternal grandmother was an opera singer, and her father was a saxophonist and B3 player in a blue-eyed soul group called The Entertainers – a gig that kept the whole family on the road for several years throughout the early ‘70s. By the time the band broke up and the Abairs put down roots in St. Petersburg, Florida, five-year-old Mindi had already demonstrated musical aspirations of her own by taking up the piano.

She made the switch to saxophone in the fourth grade, and took part in every band program available in elementary, middle and high school. After a year at the University of North Florida, she transferred to Berklee, where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in woodwind performance.

Abair recalls some wise counseling she received during her college years: “My saxophone teacher told me every week, ‘You have to start your own band. Don’t try to be someone else. Don’t practice a bunch of David Sanborn licks or Wayne Shorter licks. Go out and be your own person.’ It was the best advice anyone could have given me.”

She took the advice and ran with it, all the way to the opposite coast. She landed in Los Angeles, where she began a dues-paying process that lasted nearly a decade and included touring gigs with keyboardists John Tesh and Bobby Lyle and guitarist Jonathan Butler. When she was home from the road, she booked her own band in just about any club that would have them. And on those occasions when none would, she played on the streets of Santa Monica. “I didn’t want to wait tables when I had a degree in music,” she says. “I’d take my horn down to 3rd Street Promenade and just play. I paid my rent for quite a few months by doing that.”

Abair released her first album, the independently produced Always and Never the Same, in 1999, while touring with the Backstreet Boys. By the beginning of the new decade, the combination of a nonstop performing and the well-received indie release had helped her solidify her musical identity. “By the time I signed on with Verve in 2002,” she says, “I really knew who I was as an artist. I knew what I wanted to say, and I had a sound that was mine and no one else’s.”

It Just Happens That Way, her major-label debut in 2003, was the first in a string of solo recordings on Verve that also included I Can’t Wait for Christmas (2004), Come As You Are (2005) and Life Less Ordinary (2007). She made the move to Peak, a division of Concord, with the 2008 release of Stars, an album that showcased – more than any of her previous recordings – her attractive vocal work as an engaging counterpoint to her solid saxophone chops.

This combination of highly refined skills takes even more of the spotlight on In Hi-Fi Stereo. Co-produced by Abair and R&B mainstay Rex Rideout, her newest album was released in May 2010 on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group. In addition to Abair’s touring band, the album features a number of guest players: veteran drummer James Gadson (a frequent session player for Bill Withers, Amos Lee and Nikka Costa), bassist Reggie McBride (Aretha, Rickie Lee Jones and Keb’ Mo’), Mindi’s Berklee classmate and friend Lalah Hathaway, nominated 2010 R&B Female Vocalist of the year, Ryan Collins and David Ryan Harris.

In Hi-Fi Stereo features a more organic approach than some of her earlier releases. “We didn’t worry so much about making sure everything sounded perfect,” Abair says. “It was more about just the spirit and the vibe in the studio at the time, and getting the right takes and having fun and playing off each other. This is a really feel-good party record.

Mindi Abair – Blue Mindi published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.

George Benson – The Guitar Man

At various points along the four-decade continuum of George Benson’s career, he has been heralded as a jazz guitarist of unparalleled chops, a vocalist with great emotional range and sophistication or a combination of both. However, he regards himself as an entertainer in the broadest sense of the word – a singer of songs, a spinner of tales. That’s the essence, Songs and Stories.

“It’s a very simple equation,” the National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master says of the longevity of his career and the ten Grammy Awards that have punctuated it along the way. “In the end, it’s about the songs and the stories. That’s what keeps the music fresh for me. That’s what keeps me coming back. If you come up with a great melody and put the right lyrics to it, I’m immediately excited.”

That excitement is evident in his new release, Songs and Stories, due August 25, 2009, on Concord Records / Monster Music. The album is a collection of tunes penned by some of the most prolific and enduring songwriters of the last half-century, including James Taylor, Smokey Robinson, Lamont Dozier, Bill Withers, Donny Hathaway and several others. Some were written specifically for this new recording, while others were hand-picked by Benson for their ability to convey simple but universal truths about the human experience.

Songs and Stories was produced by Concord exec VP of A&R John Burk and renowned bassist / composer Marcus Miller. Benson, Miller, keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, guitarist Jubu and drummer John Robinson make up the core unit for the project. They were joined by special guests: guitarists Lee Ritenour, Steve Lukather, Wah Wah Watson and Norman Brown, vocalists Lalah Hathaway and Patti Austin, keyboardist David Paich, saxophonists Tom Scott and Gerald Albright along with several others. “Brother, with that team, you can do just about anything,” said Benson. “We recorded in the studio for three days straight, and everything we touched had something on it that made us all glad we were there. It was just the right mix of people and material. Once we realized that, the challenges disappeared. It just became an exercise in great joy. We were happy to jump on it, we knew we were going to get something special, and that’s what we got.” The combined talents of these writers and musicians make for a series of unforgettable tales, and Benson himself is the narrator who weaves it all together.

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Flora Bowley – Delicioso

Flora Bowley (pronounced bowl-lee) is an internationally celebrated painter, teacher, author and inspirationalist. Her vibrant paintings can be found in numerous galleries, on album covers and in public spaces around the world, as well as on a variety of unique products made in collaboration with Papaya Art.

Flora combines eighteen years of professional painting experience with her background as a yoga instructor and massage therapist to infuse her teaching and painting style with a deep connection to body, mind and spirit. By honoring intuition and celebrating the present moment, Flora encourages her students to overcome fear and welcome joyful spontaneous expression back into the creative process.

Her transformational approach to painting (and living) and has inspired thousands of people to “let go, be bold and unfold.” Flora splits her time between painting, teaching and traveling in colorful locations around the world and living among a community of artists in Portland, OR.

Flora’s new book, “Brave Intuitive Painting,” will be released by Quarry Books on May 1st, 2012 and her “Bloom True” e-course will make its debut in February, 2012.  For information about workshops and online classes, please visit:  For more information about Flora Bowley visit her website.

Flora Bowley has created the colorful album cover of Tom Grant’s Delicioso.


Smooth Jazz and Fine Cooking – Smooth Cooking

Combine smooth jazz with fine cooking. That was the idea of Sharon O’Connor.  Mark DeAnda, formerly an exec in smooth jazz radio, conceived of and produced the book. Bettie Miner illustrated it. Sharon collected the songs and delicious recipes by smooth jazz musicians and their favorite restaurant chefs.

At her website she offers 16 recipe cards and her special music collection. From Tom Scott’s Easy Chopped Salad to Smooth Jazz Burger there is something delicious to discover. Relaxing with smooth jazz and a perfect meal that is the ideal amalgamation.

Smooth Jazz And Fine Dining – Dimitrou’s Jazz Alley

For almost three decades, Dimitrou’s Jazz Alley has been a West Coast ‘must’ for all the towering figures in the world of jazz – stars such as Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Betty Carter, and Bill Evans have played there.

In its first twenty years, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley has become the West Coast’s premiere jazz club. Every week the club brings the greatest names in jazz to Seattle’s audiences. The nightclub first opened its doors in 1979 in Seattle’s University District. An intimate bistro setting, it attracted a diverse clientele. Equally popular among college students and die-hard jazz aficionados, one always found an exciting mixture of personalities and performers.

Six years later Jazz Alley relocated to the larger and more accessible club at 6th and Lenora; the perfect venue for introducing new fans to world class jazz music while still offering the exuberant atmosphere of the old establishment. Since moving to the present location the club has undergone two remodels. In July of 1990, the club completed a renovation with the expansion of the existing stage and the addition of a full mezzanine overlooking the stage.

In June of 2002 Jazz Alley was at it again. The new room includes a state of the art sound system, expanded stage, and the addition of over 100 seats, all while maintaining the original bistro ambience that makes Jazz Alley the intimate experience it is.

Jazz Alley was recently picked as both the Editor’s Choice and Audience Choice for Seattle’s Best Jazz club by Citysearch Seattle. In 2007, DownBeat Magazine voted Jazz Alley as one of the top 100 jazz clubs in the world. In years past they have also been voted “Best Jazz Club” by the Seattle Weekly.

Jazz Alley is a restaurant as well as a premier live music venue. Their menu features Northwest cuisine and they strive to support local organic farmers, fishermen, and food producers. They use non GMO ingredients as much as possible. They are also keenly aware of dietary restrictions and food allergies and therefore have included vegetarian, gluten-free, and non dairy items on their menu.

We welcome the support of smooth jazz artists like Grafitti with Special Guests Dennis Chambers and Gary Grainger on January 10th and 11th, 2012,  Jeff Lorber with Special Guest Randy Brecker 19th – 22nd January, 2012, Peter White 2nd – 5th February 2012 and Brian Culbertson 14th – 19th February 2012. In March are announced Mindi Abair and Chuck Loeb.

Smooth Jazz and Fine Dining – Scullers Jazz Club

Since 1989, the legendary Scullers Jazz Club has presented the biggest names in straight ahead, Latin and Contemporary Jazz, as well as Blues, Soul, R & B, Cabaret and World Music.

Scullers Jazz Club has hosted some of the very best musical artists in the business including; Harry Connick Jr., Chris Botti, Jamie Cullam, David Sanborn, Michael Bublé, Arturo Sandoval, Tony Bennett, Wynton Marsalis and Dave Koz to name a few.

Led by Jazz impresario Fred Taylor, the 200-seat Scullers Jazz Club has become a true Boston landmark. Offering spectacular views of the Boston skyline and the Charles River, Scullers serves as the perfect backdrop for World-Class Entertainment you won’t see anywhere else in Boston.

Smooth Jazz attractions of the New Year are

Pieces of a Dream,  Friday January 6, 2012
Jessy J, Wednesday February 8, 2012
Earl Klugh, Friday-Saturday February 17-18, 2012
Ramsey Lewis, Thursday – Friday March 8-9, 2012
Lee Ritenour, Thursday – Friday March 22-23, 2012
Marc Antoine, Tuesday March 27, 2012
Brian Culbertson and David Benoit, Wednesday March 28, 2012

and more to come.

Sweets of Smooth Jazz

Musical legend George Duke presented Sweets of Smooth Jazz for the first time on his album Dukey Treats. Dukey Treats are George’s delicious sweets, sometimes with a bitter aftertaste, but that’s life and necessary to keep watch. On the cover of the CD, George is pictured holding a chocolate miniature of his keyboard, out of which is supposed to be a box of chocolate instruments, a Dukey Treat of sorts.

You may ask, where can I buy these delicious sweets? The Chocolate Vault is specialized in selling these fine instruments on their website. If you don’t find your favorite instrument, ask for it and they will produce it.

Greg Adams – Hip Horn

The sound of Greg Adams is one of the world’s best-known musical signatures. For nearly four decades, from the time he first arrived on the San Francisco Bay Area music scene of the early ‘70s, Greg has been a driving force to define artistry that transcends musical genres

Greg has earned both GRAMMY® and Emmy nominations and an International Broadcasting Award from The Hollywood Radio and Television Society. In sync with an ever evolving musical landscape and a life’s work that has included success as an arranger, composer, producer and performer, taking him on worldwide tours and contributing to some of the most important recordings in pop culture.

His 1995 solo debut Hidden Agenda stayed at #1 for five weeks. The ground breaking album received wide critical acclaim, fueled by the world sound of “Burma Road” and a smoldering remake of Sade’s ” Smooth Operator” established him as a major architect of the emerging smooth jazz sound and at the core of creating the genre of urban jazz. Followed up in 2002 with Midnight Morning and two more records in as many years with a string of top ten hits.

Adams is a founding member of Tower of Power. Legendary for the horn arrangements that created it’s resonance and signature sound making Tower of Power one of the most enduring musical entities today. Greg’s musical compositions made the TOP horn section a sought out entity all it’s own. Beginning early with his arrangement on Santana’s “ Everything Is Everything”, Elton John’s “The Bitch Is Back” and Chaka Kahn’s “ Fool’s Paradise”. Greg has arranged, performed and recorded with countless artists as diverse as his career, including The Eurythmics, Rod Stewart, Heart, Lyle Lovett, Linda Ronstadt, Luther Vandross, Aaron Neville, Quincy Jones, Little Feat, Wilson Pickett, Huey Lewis and the News, Raphael Saadiq, The Brothers Johnson, Phish, B.B.King, Everclear, Chicago, Bonnie Raitt, Dionne Warwick, Ray Charles, Peter Frampton, Billy Preston, Terrence Trent Darby, Josh Groban, Madonna, The Rolling Stones and Celine Dion.

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Smooth Jazz And Fine Dining – Humphrey’s Backstage

Humphrey’s Backstage (the bar area) offers Happy Hour, every day of the week including weekends, from 5 to 7 p.m., with pretty damn good live music (and with no cover), and nearly all of the food and drinks are half off the normal price. Humphrey’s Backstage is almost exclusively supported by tourists because it is part of Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn but the locals are missing out on some solid music and excellent food and drink deals.

They have a dance floor open during nightly entertainment. Recommendable are their shrimp and scallop salad, calamari, shrimp quesedillas, and chicken wings! Their sandwiches are also yummy. The friendly and helpful staff, well-made entrees and appetizers, excellent libations, and, best of all, intimate club with live music and dance, make this San Diego’s best date spot.

For lovers of smooth jazz we recommend this place because it’s home of the group Fattburger. One of contemporary instrumental music’s most popular mainstays since the rise of what radio termed New Adult Contemporary in the 1980’s and Smooth Jazz in the 1990’s, the San Diego-based band’s melodic and funky, blues and Latin spiced  rhythm and jazz sound has helped both create and define the genre.  You can attend their concert on Sunday Jan. 8, 2012 – San Diego, Ca. – Humphreys – 8:00 PM.

Humphreys Backstage, 2241 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, California 92101.

Smooth Jazz and Fine Dining – La Palapa Restaurant Bar Night Club

La Palapa Restaurant Bar Night Club & Banquet Facility serving Southern California for all your dinner, party, banquet, beachfront beach wedding & reception needs located in Belmont Shore of Long Beach, California SoCal always the best food and live entertainment.

The Del Mar Banquet room is in a beautiful French Empire Style. The spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean and the City lights at night creates a timeless environment – intimate And Serene.

The banquet room can accomodate dinner parties for up to 225 guests,and cocktail parties for up to 325 guests. Our beautiful room comes with tables, chairs, linens, French Style flatware, beautiful wine rimmed dishes and crystal candlesticks.

The La Palapa presents smooth jazz artists Steve Oliver and the Art of Sax featuring Will Donato.

La Palapa Restaurant Bar, 4020 Olympic Plaza, Belmont Shore, California 90803

Bob James – Kankiyu

The career of Bob James is long, varied and continues to evolve at every turn. From his first days in Marshall, Missouri, the music of Bob James has captivated audiences throughout the world.

In September, 2011 Altair & Vega, the four-hand piano duet collaboration with Keiko Matsui, was finally released. This unique collaboration which started 10 years ago, had already resulted in several memorable live tour performances, but Bob & Keiko had long hoped that this music would eventually result in a commercially released CD. They got even better than that when E-1 agreed to the concept of including a live performance DVD from a performance at Manchester Craftsmens Guild. Bob & Keiko plan to tour in 2012 showcasing this project.

This album is a good starting point to recapitulate Bob James’ work as painter. The album reminds me of his image Kankiyu, showcasing the four-hand piano playing. During the event Dave McMurray and Friends at the Apollo Theater in London-Hammersmith I had the opportunity to attend his Art exhibition. Today’s it’s very difficult to find any information about the painting talent of the great musician. His website offers currently no information about Bob’s art work. A good reason to present this picture.

Bob James commented his passion for visual art with these words:

Through much of my life I have had an on-and-off flirtation with the visual arts, my desire to create visually more often than not being pushed to the background by my passion for music; the adventure of jazz in particular. I know there must be many similarities in what drives some people to need to create. Whether it be music, painting, ….. theater, dance. The desire to explore uncharted territory can become an obsession that only will be satisfied by creating.”

The images were created on a Macintosh laptop computer, the canvas was a digital drawing tablet, and the studio was anywhere Bob happened to be when inspiration came; frequently during spare time on his concert tours. Whether it was in the back of the tour bus, the tray table of a plane, backstage dressing room, or a hotel room, his palette came from the application software, and the subject matter ranged from his musician comrades with whom he spend a large percentage of his time, recording and performing concerts here in the U.S., Europe and in Japan, to photographs, scans of old newspaper clippings and video still frames. Once the raw material (sketches) had been assembled they were altered and manipulated, utilizing the endless variety of choices the computer makes available.

I connect the publication of this picture with the hope in Bob’s return to the visual art.