Dave Koz & Friends At Sea 2012 – Florence

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.

On Sunday, September 30, the ship will arrive Florence. Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area.

Located on the banks of the River Arno, Florence is famous for its history and especially its importance in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, its art and architecture and, more generally, for its cultural heritage. A center of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages.

The best-known site of Florence is the domed cathedral of the city, Santa Maria del Fiore, known as The Duomo, whose dome was built by Filippo Brunelleschi. The nearby Campanile and the Baptistery buildings are also highlights. The dome, 600 years after its completion, is still the largest dome built in brick and mortar in the world. In 1982, the historic centre of Florence was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. The center of the city is contained in medieval walls that were built in the 14th century to defend the city. At the heart of the city, in Piazza della Signoria, is Bartolomeo Ammanati’s Fountain of Neptune, which is a masterpiece of marble sculpture at the terminus of a still-functioning Roman aqueduct.

One of the bridges in particular stands out – the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), whose most striking feature is the multitude of shops built upon its edges, held up by stilts. The bridge also carries Vasari’s elevated corridor linking the Uffizi to the Medici residence (Palazzo Pitti).

Smooth Jazz And Great Venues – Hawaii

When gifted jazz legends are playing their hearts out, then this will be certainly on one of the Hawaiian Islands. Some of you might remember the fantastic Maui Festival at the Kaanapali Beach Resort. Jazz entrepreneurs John and Rebecca Rozenberg set a stage for artists like Nestor Torres, Norman Brown, David Benoit, Peter White, Scott Wilkie, Acoustic Alchemy, Dave Koz and Jeffrey Osborne.

Todays Michael Paulo is the  driving force on the neighboring island Hawaii.  The Pacific Rim Jazz Festival at The Hawai’i Convention Center was  the first major festival event ever held there.  It was also the intent of the festival to highlight and feature many of Hawaii’s own talented artists and musicians and in the process allowing them the opportunity to share the stage with world class artists.

Michael Paulo invited the smooth jazz aficionados in February to an evening with the incredible guitarist Peter White featuring an All star La Band with Nate Philipps on bass, Eric Valentine on drums, Gregg Karukas on keyboards and Michael Paulo on sax.  So we can await a constant contribution at this place.

Hawaii, always called the Big Island to avoid confusion, is the largest of the islands and home to Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa (the largest and one of the most active volcanoes on Earth), Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, coffee and macadamia nut plantations, working ranches, and even green sand beaches. Kailua-Kona is the busiest part of the island on the dry, leeward side, and near the mega-resort Kohala Coast area with nearly zero annual precipitation.

All but two of the world’s climate zones generate everything from lush rain forests to volcanic deserts, snow-capped mountaintops to beautiful black sand beaches. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a journey off the beaten path, you’ll discover it all on Hawaii, the Big Island.

Smooth Jazz And Books – Bob Baldwin – You Better Ask Somebody

Staying On Top Of Your Career in the “Friggin’” Music Business is a music handbook that primarily helps prepare aspiring musicians to create a successful career in the music industry.

The handbook, created for high school and college level students, explains how aspiring musicians can create a successful career path and make a name in the industry while maintaining their integrity. It’s also a refresher course for veteran artists and a manager’s reference guide to improve their own work ethic.

Excerpt:
After 25 short years of being in the music game, only to watch the industry fall so quickly, gone are the label-funded recording studios with their 20-foot sound boards, coffee runners and all night physical tape edits. Over the years, I studied the business and observed those very few Execs sitting at the top of the pyramid scheme, who built their mansions on your shoulders and the sweat of your backbone, blinged you down to your Mercedes feet while pushing their subliminal messages up on the big video screen and at the end of the day, all you were left was a quarterly bill written in red negatives. Believe it or not, back in the day, it was worse! They used to buy your copyright for a dollar and fed their grandchildren off the heels of your ignorance. At least you got the 12 – carat gold necklace. –Bob Baldwin | Author/Musician

For more information, visit Baldwin’s website at www.bobbaldwin.com. Buy the book at Amazon.

Brad Cooper – Add Ice

Brad Cooper is a Phoenix based painter and illustrator. His passion for multi-cultural, traditional and folk art drives him to immerse himself into the roots of a variety of International artistic mediums and styles.

His most recent discoveries have focused him on the early nineteen hundreds jazz scene that birthed out of the sub-culture night life of New Orleans and parts of the Caribbean. After several ventures to the Gulf Coast, Brad began painting and illustrating passionately. His modern take, bright colors and vintage subject matter come together complimenting each element while maintaining longstanding traditions.

Brad’s choice of medium varies, depending on the subject matter and desired mood. Pattern and texture, intricate detail, and his affinity for craftsmanship pushes him to forge the best. For more information about this artist and his works visit http://cooperdesignstudio.com.

Smooth Jazz And Fine Dining – Smooth Cruise on the Spirit of Baltimore

The Spirit of Baltimore delivers Baltimore’s most vibrant and unique combination of dining, dancing, entertainment and breathtaking views. Cruising year-round from Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor, Spirit Cruises offers Lunch, Brunch, Dinner, Cocktail, Moonlight Cruises and much more!

Grand buffets. Breathtaking views of the Inner Harbor and the Baltimore waterfront. DJs playing Top 40 hits. And an amazing wait staff singing show-stopping favorites. All included for one price. For your next special occasion or just an engaging way to see Baltimore, come aboard today!

The ships cruise past many historic and along the Patapsco River including the USS Constellation, Federal Hill, Ft. Mc Henry, Light Ship Chesapeake, The Sanctuary, The John W. Brown and Fells Point.

The ships are docked at the Inner Harbor along the west wall. They are located between the Maryland Science and the Baltimore Visitors Center. Conveniently located near the Metro and Light Rail as well. Discount parking is available at the Intercontinental Harbor Court Hotel at the corner of Light and Lee Street.

Popular smooth jazz concerts are promoted by Charm City Jazz.

Rick Braun – Midnight Caller

Rick Braun’s been playing trumpet since he was a kid. No news there for the legions of fans his richly melodic playing style has attracted since the release of his first album, Intimate Secrets in 1993. Less known is the fact that he’s been a singer, and a good one (backing Rod Stewart and Sade among others, with vocals as well as his stellar trumpet) for most of his life, as well.

Rick Braun Sings With Strings brings both those skills front and center. And it does so in a way that dips back into the music he’s been captivated by since he first picked up a horn.

“This album,” says Rick, “feels a lot like coming home. I grew up hearing this music all around the house. Singing it, playing it. Listening to my mom, who was a singer and piano player. She was one of those people who knew every part of a song – the verse, the chorus, the refrain, all the lyrics.”

The album will no doubt produce similar comfort feelings for anyone with a love for song. And not just Great American Song. Because what Braun and producer/arranger Philippe Saisse have put together in this eminently listenable recording is a gathering of tunes unlimited by boundaries of origin or style. Some are familiar. Songs such as “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” “I Thought About You” and “The Things We Did Last Summer” have been memorable themes from the soundtrack of American love life for decades. Rick also especially recalls, “I’ve Never Been In Love Before” and “Time After Time” as “tunes I’ve known since I was a kid.”

Others are less familiar, but no less memorable. “Once Upon A Summertime” is an English version of Michel Legrand’s gorgeous French song, “La Valse des Lilas”; “It’s Love” is from the musical Wonderful Town by the brilliant songwriting team of Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Leonard Bernstein; and “Say It (Over and Over Again)” was written by Loesser and Jimmy McHugh for a 1940 Jack Benny film titled Buck Benny Rides Again. Continue reading

Smooth Jazz And Wine – The Thornton Winery

The Thornton Winery will celebrate their 23rd Anniversary Champagne Jazz Series. The intimate and acoustically superb Mediterranean fountain terrace, overlooking the beautiful Temecula Wine Country, offers a memorable and unique concert experience unmatched in Southern California. Tickets for the entire 2012 Champagne Jazz Concert Series will go on sale in March 2012. Mark your Saturday evenings and Sunday Afternoons in May through October, 2012.

Nestled in the heart of the Temecula Valley Wine Country, The Thornton Winery opened in 1988. The winery combines old world style with new world taste to create award-winning and premium varietal wine. The Méthode Champenoise process is used because it has proven to be the best for producing fine quality Sparkling Wine/Champagne.

From the beginning, The Thornton Winery has utilized skills perfected in blending Méthode Champenoise Sparkling Wine/Champagne and then applied them to the new premium varietal still wines in 1993. The result: more awards and medals. Over the years, some very unique premium varietal wines have been added to the product line. These varietals emulate classic wine styles of the Mediterranean and Rhône regions.

Temecula Valley is Southern California’s Wine Country. With award winning wines, great restaurants and beautiful gift shops, Temecula Valley Wineries have something for everyone.

Smooth Jazz And Fine Dining – Dining With Jazz

A unique collection of mellow easy listening jazz elegantly performed by world-class musicians. These tunes add just the right mood to enhance your dining experience with an aura of sophistication and taste. You and your guests will enjoy soothing, instrumental jazz that is the ideal complement to any occasion from intimate dinner parties to festive receptions.

A perfect CD for someone who is not real familiar with the jazz idiom but would like a sample of jazz in their collection. Actually, people who are familiar with the jazz idiom will enjoy it also. Dining With Jazz is available at CDBaby.

Smooth Jazz And Books – Smooth Jazz: Jazz Play-Along Series Volume 65

For use with all Bb, Eb and C instruments, the Jazz Play-Along Series is the ultimate learning tool for all jazz musicians. With musician-friendly lead sheets, melody cues and other split-track choices on the included CD, this first-of-its-kind package makes learning to play jazz easier than ever before.

For study, each tune includes a split track with: * Melody cue with proper style and inflection * Professional rhythm tracks * Choruses for soloing * Removable bass part * Removable piano part.

For performance, each tune also has: * An additional full stereo accompaniment track (no melody) * Additional choruses for soloing. 10 songs: Angela * Cast Your Fate to the Wind * Feels So Good * Give Me the Night * Just the Two of Us * Minute by Minute * Morning Dance * Songbird * Street Life * This Masquerade.

Smooth Jazz: Jazz Play-Along Series Volume 65 is available at Amazon.com.

The SuperCruise VI – Antigua

The SuperCruise is the jazz cruise with soul! Plus a touch of comedy, gospel, and funk! And we’re back for our sixth consecutive year, with a new ship, new itinerary, new talent lineup, and new onboard activities! The talent lineup includes Will Downing, Boney James, The Brand New Heavies, Gerald Albright, Chrisette Michele, Earl Klugh, Peabo Bryson, and many more artists from the world of jazz and soul, plus a special appearance by funk legend George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic and a special gospel show featuring Yolanda Adams.

The Carnival Freedom is cruising from Ft. Lauderdale to St. Lucia • Antigua • St. Maarten/St. Martin. Tuesday, Oct 23, 2012 Arrive Antigua at 8:00am. Antigua is an island in the West Indies, in the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean region, the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua means “ancient” in Spanish and was named by Christopher Columbus after an icon in Seville Cathedral, Santa Maria de la Antigua — St. Mary of the Old Cathedral.

Temperatures generally range from the mid-seventies in the winter to the mid-eighties in the summer. Annual rainfall averages only 45 inches, making it the sunniest of the Eastern Caribbean Islands, and the northeast trade winds are nearly constant, flagging only in September. Low humidity year-round.

The rambling array of gun emplacements and military buildings  Shirley Heights  of  is best known today for the absolutely breathtaking prospect that it offers. From the Heights one can look far out over English Harbor, and on Sunday afternoons the view is accompanied by barbecue, rum punch, and the plangent strains of steel band and reggae music. The site is named for General Shirley, Governor of the Leeward Islands when the area was fortified in the late eighteenth century. Close by is the cemetery, in which stands an obelisk erected in honor of the soldiers of the 54th regiment.

Smooth Jazz And Fine Dining – Blue Note New York

Since its inception in 1981, Blue Note has become one of the premier jazz clubs in the world and a cultural institution in Greenwich Village. Owner and founder Danny Bensusan had a vision to create a jazz club in Greenwich Village that would treat deserving artists with respect, while allowing patrons to see the world’s finest jazz musicians in a close, comfortable setting. Artists who had stopped playing in jazz clubs decades before, such as Sarah Vaughn, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Turrentine, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, and Tito Puente, soon called Blue Note home.

Jazz is undoubtedly America’s music, and while Blue Note strives to preserve the history of jazz, the club is a place where progression and innovation – the foundations of jazz – are encouraged and practiced on a nightly basis. In addition to the main acts that feature the likes of Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, and Chris Botti, Blue Note has introduced the Monday Night Series and the bi-weekly Late Night Groove Series to showcase New York’s up-and-coming jazz, soul, hip-hop, R&B and funk artists. Blue Note has been instrumental in encouraging the development of Greenwich Village’s local musicians by giving them a chance to perform in one of the world’s finest venues. Currently, there are four Blue Notes located in Japan and one in Milan, Italy.

Over the years, Blue Note has been an economic engine for Greenwich Village, bringing in jazz fans from all over the world. The club receives rave reviews on a weekly basis in New York’s daily newspapers such as The New York Times and in international travel guides and magazines. What makes Blue Note so special is that on a given night, anything can happen. It is not uncommon to see the likes of Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, Liza Minelli, and Quincy Jones get called up on stage from the audience to sit in. Blue Note gives artists the musical freedom they deserve, and jazz fans get a chance to see the most unlikely combination of stars night after night on the Blue Note stage.

After twenty-five years of success, Blue Note continues to carry the torch for jazz into the 21st century in the cultural heart of New York, Greenwich Village. And don’t forget the wonderful menu.

Located between 6th and McDougal St., Blue Note offers music every night at 8pm and 10:30pm. On Friday and Saturday nights, Blue Note has a Late Night Groove Series at 12:30am and offers a Sunday Brunch for $24.50 a person at 12:30pm and 2:30pm weekly.

Marc Antoine – Marc & Rebeca

Guitarist, composer and producer, Marc Antoine, was born in Paris (France) on the 28th of May 1963. His parents bought him his first guitar when he was 11 years old which quickly became his third arm. Marc has had a guitar in his hands ever since.

At age 13, his father saw such rapid progress that he sent him to the conservatory where he would study classical music. By then his mentors were Andres Segovia and John Williams.

At 17 he’d already won many prizes and started showing an interest in a variety of music genres including jazz, rock, Afro, pop, and more. At the same time he was playing in local bands in Britany (France).

Tragedy struck in the summer of 1981 when his debut career got cut short by a devastating accident to his left hand. The surgeon told him that his chances of playing guitar again were very slim and next to nothing. However, through the adversity, his love and passion for music helped him overcome this tragedy and in 1984 he was back on the scene in Paris, performing in clubs and recording for artists like Philippe Petit, Charlelie Couture, Jill Kaplan, France Gall, and Ray Lema.

In 1988 he moved to London where he joined Basia’s band and worked with The Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra, Soul to Soul, Pato Banton, and General Public. He was also part of the London Acid Jazz scene. His world tour travelling lead him to spend time in Tokyo where he became an acclaimed session player.

As a true citizen of the world, Marc kept moving, this time to Los Angeles in the late 90’s. He stayed there for 12 years playing for music royalty such as Sting, Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Cher, Selena, Queen Latifah, George Benson, Guru Jazzmatazz, Take 6 and others. He composed and performed for major movie soundtracks: “Get Shorty”; “The Fan”; “Patch Adams”; “Midnight In The Garden Of Good and Evil”; “Demolition Man”; and “Celtic Pride”. He also worked with producers of the likes of Tommy LiPuma, Philippe Saisse, Marcus Miller, Mike Pela, Guy Roche and Stoker.

Most importantly, however, Marc began his successful solo career. His first album was “Classical Soul” NYC records 1994. Then came “Urban Gypsy” NYC 1995, “Madrid” GRP 1998, “Universal Language” GRP 2000, “Cruisin'” GRP 2001, “The Very Best of Marc Antoine” GRP 2002, “Mediterraneo” Rendezvous Entertainment 2003 and “Modern Times” Rendezvous Entertainment 2005. “Hi-Lo Split” Peak Records 2007 (Latin Billboard Nominated as Jazz Album of the Year) and “Foreign Xchange” Peak Records 2009

Marc’s career boasts many #1 hits on the R&R contemporary jazz charts, as well as topping the Billboard charts. In 1995, R&R elected him Best New Artist of The Year, which was followed by his Gavin Award in 1998. He has also received numerous nominations for jazz awards in the US and Canada.

Regularly touring with contemporary jazz artists like Dave Koz, Chris Botti, Jeff Lorber, Jeffrey Osborne, David Benoit, Larry Carlton and others, he also performs or records with Jazz Legends such as Peter Erskine, Jimmy Haslip, Mike Mainieri, Dave Valentin, Christian McBride, and Mark Egan to name a few. Marc was honoured when George Benson mentioned him as one of his favorite guitarists.

Marc currently resides in Madrid (Spain) where he writes and produces in his studio when he´s not giving concerts.

Marc & Rebeca published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.

Smooth Jazz And Great Venues – Balboa Park

It isn’t difficult to admit, San Diego trumps most cities in nearly every way. Forget the passé banter about the “best weather in the world,” San Diego delivers so much more than a deep sun tan. From countless hours of whale watching off the Pacific coasts to strolling through shores of endless beaches, San Diego’s tranquility is matched only by the murmurs of a cosmopolitan awakening.

And it’s happening: a walking tour through San Diego’s historic Gaslamp District will have you wining, dining and spa-treating your way through a day of refined urban indulgence. Balboa Park is its bustling cultural epicenter—and the second oldest urban park in the United States. What else is San Diego hiding behind its sunscreen? With a trip advisor, and pair of sunglasses, you’re about to discover all the best things to do in San Diego.

Welcome to Balboa Park: the nation’s largest urban cultural park. Home to 15 major museums, renowned performing arts venues, beautiful gardens and the San Diego Zoo, the Park has an ever-changing calendar of museum exhibitions, plays, musicals, concerts, and classes—all in the beautiful and timeless setting of this must-see San Diego attraction.

The best way to start your time in Balboa Park is with a stop at the Balboa Park Visitors Center. Located across from The Prado Restaurant in the House of Hospitality, the Visitors Center has the most current and comprehensive information about the Park’s activities and attractions. Open from 9:30am-4:30pm daily, the Visitors Center offers brochures, maps, audio tours, free guided tours of the Park, transportation information, dining advice, and more.

Barry Aiken has celebrated this park in his album.  At the late night Happy Hour in Balboa Park’s ‘Prado’ restaurant, Elliott Lawrence plays smooth jazz and you find more music in the Park.

Corey Barksdale – Dance Of Our Lives

Corey Barksdale was born in Nashville, Tennessee into a family of Artists. He was exposed to color and form at an early age by his grandmother a quilt artist, and his mother who was gifted with an intuitive feeling for design and a fastidiousness for detail which she expressed in all aspects of her daily life. This rich beginning is the root of Barksdale’s creative expression.

Barksdale earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at the prestigious Atlanta College of Art in 1994. During this period he was heavily influenced by the abstract expressionists and admired such mainstream artists as Jasper Johns, Clifford Still, William deKooning. The African-American masters Aaron Douglas, John Biggers, Romere Bearden, and William Tolliver instilled in him a appreciation of African/American artistic heritage.

A prolific artist, his fine art subject matter ranges from human figures to non-objective abstracts. In recent years he has concentrated his talents on themes that portray the love and strength that exists within the African American community. His paintings grace the covers of books, magazines, CD covers, and posters. Among his convictions, is to give back to his community through art education.

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

Dave Koz And Friends At Sea 2012 – Rome

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.

Saturday, September 29th, 2012 the cruise will embark Rome.  Rome is the capital of Italy and the country’s largest and most populated city and commune, with over 2.7 million residents in 1,285.3 km2 (496.3 sq mi). Rome today is one of the most important tourist destinations of the world, due to the incalculable immensity of its archaeological and artistic treasures, as well as for the charm of its unique traditions, the beauty of its panoramic views, and the majesty of its magnificent “villas” (parks).

Among the most significant resources are the many museums – (Musei Capitolini, the Vatican Museums, Galleria Borghese, including those dedicated to modern and contemporary art and great many others) – aqueducts, fountains, churches, palaces, historical buildings, the monuments and ruins of the Roman Forum, and the Catacombs. Rome is the 3rd most visited city in the EU, after London and Paris, and receives an average of 7–10 million tourists a year, which sometimes doubles on holy years. The Colosseum (4 million tourists) and the Vatican Museums (4.2 million tourists) are the 39th and 37th (respectively) most visited places in the world, according to a recent study.

Rome contains a vast and impressive collection of art, sculpture, fountains, mosaics, frescos, and paintings, from all different periods. Rome first became a major artistic centre during ancient Rome, with forms of important Roman art such as architecture, painting, sculpture and mosaic work. Metal-work, coin die and gem engraving, ivory carvings, figurine glass, pottery, and book illustrations are considered to be ‘minor’ forms of Roman artwork.

Smooth Jazz And Books – Smooth Jazz Guitarists

Hephaestus Books represents a new publishing paradigm, allowing disparate content sources to be curated into cohesive, relevant, and informative books. To date, this content has been curated from Wikipedia articles and images under Creative Commons licensing, although as Hephaestus Books continues to increase in scope and dimension, more licensed and public domain content is being added. We believe books such as this represent a new and exciting lexicon in the sharing of human knowledge. This particular book is a collaboration focused on Smooth jazz guitarists.

Smooth Jazz Guitarists is about George Benson, Bernie Williams, Chieli Minucci, Greg Carmichael, Patrick Yandall, Joyce Cooling, Larry Carlton, Earl Klugh, Nick Webb, Jonathan Butler and many more. For more information about this book follow this link.

Laurie Maves – Love for Jonathan Butler

Laurie Maves is a visual artist and live painter/performing artist based in Denver, Colorado.  She works as ‘green’ as she possibly can, by recycling canvases, paint, collage materials and whatever else she can get her hands on. She also provide various artist services such as portrait commissions, mural work and most recently table and bar tops. Her work historically has been influenced by Picasso and Gauguin and most definitely Modigliani, but more recently by Frida Kahlo and Basquiat.

Most of her work is figurative in nature, but her deepest focus has always been on color and texture. She uses materials that build up the surface of her canvases so that the color can jump out at the viewer. She paints figures, faces, eyes, orbs, moons, landscapes and poppies.  Her newest endeavor has been in the ‘fashion’ industry, by creating and selling one-of-a-kind hand-painted recycled handbags. These are great little art items which she aims to make affordable for everyone.

Please stop by her rockin’ studio located in Denver’s bustling Santa Fe Arts District, at Studio Shakta, 773 Santa Fe. Drive, Denver, CO 80204, USA or visit her website. Also read her interesting blog about this picture and the story behind it.

Smooth Jazz And Great Venues – Pier Park in Panama City Beach

The Seabreeze Jazz Festival showcases the top names in smooth contemporary jazz — all just steps away from the World’s Most Beautiful Beaches and exciting shopping, dining, and nightlife. Named a “Top 100 Event in North America” by the North American Tour Bus Association, the Seabreeze Jazz Festival combines top talent and white sand beaches for a jazz experience unlike any other.

This year’s venue brings smooth jazz to the steps of exciting shopping and dining! Located in the heart of town across from the City Pier, the new Pier Park spans roughly 1.1 million square feet, making it Northwest Florida’s largest shopping/dining/ entertainment venue. This open-air complex houses restaurants and stores comprising a colorful mix of popular national chains and favorite local boutiques and eateries.

The Pier Park lineup includes: Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Dillard’s, Borders, JCPenney, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Candymaker Candy Stores, Massage Envy, Panera Bread, The Back Porch restaurant, Hofbrau Beer Garden, Ann Taylor Loft, Chico’s, ULTA Beauty and more. Plus, the Grand 16 Theatre — a 16-screen, 3,000-seat movie theater complex – shows the latest blockbusters. Pier Park is a Simon “Signature Project” serving as the premier shopping destination for the Panama City market and the entire Emerald Coast.

Located on Front Beach Road in the heart of Panama City Beach, Pier Park is ideally located to serve the area’s growing residential community, exploding condo market, and over 7 million tourists that visit each year.

Smooth Jazz And Wine – The Flo…For the love of Wine

Marcus Johnson will present his new wine brand, that is launching March 1, nationwide. The wine is from California and is under the Flo…For the love of™ banner. Please like it, so that Marcus can let you know when they are going to have their Flo Wine “Sip and Sounds™” launch events.

In 2008, Johnson introduced the jazz world to the groundbreaking Billboard Top 15 Contemporary Jazz FLO series – FLO: Chill (#7), FLO: Romance (#7) and FLO: Standards (#2).

With an MBA and JD from Georgetown University, Johnson’s educational background compliments his career success story as both an artist and entrepreneur which led him to establish Marimelj Entertainment Group comprising Three Keys Music and Studio 8121. Johnson recently teamed up with Tarara Winery to create the FLO…™ Wines Series, a private wine label under his new company, FLO…™ Brands, LLC.

Tarara creates an experience that sets apart the visitor from the pretension and attitude that is commonly associated with wine to present some of Virginia’s finest blends available. Their wines are to be enjoyed with great friends while visiting Tarara Winery’s beautifully manicured 475 acre farm which surrounds Shadow Lake and stretches along the Potomac River. The tasting room is open daily from 11-5, and 11-6 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy a tasting and discover your favorite wine.

Tarara Winery, 13648 Tarara Lane, Leesburg, VA 20176

Smooth Jazz and Fine Dining – Rams Head Tavern

Since 1989, the Rams Head has served the freshest food possible, preparing each menu item from scratch, daily. Their steaks are aged Black Angus beef and they use fresh (never frozen) chicken, fish and crab. They’re proud of quality of their food and their team philosophy- to provide you with the best service possible.

They’re certain you’ll agree that what makes Rams Head unique is their commitment to great food, great beer in a casual environment perfect for an afternoon with friends or a special affair. Their exceptional atmosphere is open 7 days a week, serving appetizers, lunch, dinner and a full bar as well as Sunday brunch. Plus, the entire menu is available for take-out.

The menu is pretty long, with lots of variety, mostly consisting of American grill/bar food. Being in Annapolis, they have some regional influences on their food such as crab mac and cheese or crab dip. They are affiliated with Fordham Brewery, so they have many of those beers as well as others available.  The atmosphere inside is fun and lively, with a beautiful patio out back for warm weather, and some sidewalk tables for people watching.

Support the Smooth Jazz in Rams Head Tavern featuring such artists like Walter Beasley, The Dazz Band, Russ Freeman and the Rippingtons, Acoustic Alchemy and many more.

Rams Head Tavern, 33 West St, Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Cruise To Alaska – Hubbard Glacier

Kenny G is now the proud host of The Kenny G Cruise To Alaska. Ports of call include: Juneau, Alaska, Skagway, Alaska, Hubbard Glacier (cruising), Ketchikan, Alaska, and the Inside Passage (cruising). For complete details, please visit: KennyGCruise.com  or call Montrose Travel at (800) 952-2991. Ticket prices for the seven-day cruise range from $2,000-$10,000, not including airfare or taxes.

Kenny comments:

“I’m excited for the opportunity to cruise with my closest fans aboard Celebrity Millennium. The experience of playing with my band and sharing the breathtaking sights of one of the most beautiful destinations in the world will be one I’ll remember forever. This cruise will allow me to spend quality time and get to know the fans onboard, just as they’ve gotten to know me through my music. Sailing with them on a week-long Celebrity Cruises vacation will be a highlight of my career, and I can’t wait to share the journey.”

Kenny G had already featured in another Celebrity Cruises trip in 2011, which the company said went over well for both Mr. G and for fans aboard the ship.  The cruise is sailing from Vancouver, British Colombia from May 17- May 24, 2013.

Seventy-five miles long and covering over 1,350 square miles in area, the Hubbard Glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in North America. It is also one of the most impressive, a 300-foot wall of ice rising sheer and jagged from the ocean. It has been thickening and advancing toward the Gulf of Alaska since it was first mapped by the International Boundary Commission in 1895. This is in stark contrast with most glaciers, which have thinned and retreated during the last century.

This atypical behavior is an important example of the calving glacier cycle in which glacier advance and retreat is controlled more by the mechanics of terminus calving than by climate fluctuations. If Hubbard Glacier continues to advance, it will close the seaward entrance of Russell Fiord and create the largest glacier-dammed lake on the North American continent in historic times.

Smooth Jazz and Great Venues – Hyatt Regency Newport Beach

Southern California’s most famous Smooth Jazz Festival returns to the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach on May 18th, 19th and 20th, 2012. Three spectacular days of world class performances by 25 of your favorite jazz artists. The line-up will be announced prior to March 1, 2012.

Last year The Infiniti Summer Concert Series at Hyatt Regency Newport Beach celebrated the 20th anniversary with a stellar line-up of musicians bringing a range of genres to the stage including jazz, smooth jazz, contemporary, acoustic and vocals. As the longest running music series in California, and recognized for bringing revered musicians to southern California every year, the series took place every Friday through September 30.

Set on 26 landscaped acres adjacent to Newport Dunes Aquatic Park and Palisades Tennis Club, Hyatt Regency Newport Beach is a half-mile from Balboa Island’s attractions and a mile from Newport Beach. Recreational highlights include three outdoor pools with spa tubs, bike paths and rentals, 10 adjacent tennis courts, an award-winning nine-hole golf course, and a volleyball court.

Guests enjoy sights of the bay, palm trees, golf course, or pools from tropical-inspired rooms, most with balconies. Rooms feature Hyatt Grand Beds, refrigerators, and 37-inch flat-screen TVs.

Smooth Jazz And Fine Dining – Smooth Cruise on the Spirit of New York

The luxury Spirit of New York cruise ship is great place for jazz fans to hear the music they can no longer enjoy on NY radio, move to the tunes, take in breathtaking skyline views, kick back and relax, or mix n’ mingle. (You minglers know who you are!) Don’t forget there’s also delicious food and drink to round out your Sunset or Moonlight cruise for a total evening out on the town – or should we say, water.

Look forward to seeing everyone on the beautiful Spirit of New York. Enjoy the Jazz Moonlight Buffet Menu offering delicious meals like Salmon Mediterranean, Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin or Roasted Rosemary Beef. The Spirit Cruises departs from Chelsea Piers, Pier 62 in Manhattan. You’ll find easy-to-follow directions below, and plenty of parking waiting your arrival.

They cruise the Hudson and East Rivers past the skyscrapers of Manhattan including the Empire State Building. You will see the Intrepid Sea-Air Space Museum, the Brooklyn Bridge, the site of the World Trade Center, Battery Park City, South Street Seaport, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, Governor’s Island, Ellis Island and the Colgate Clock. Of course, the highlight of the cruise is the Statue of Liberty, one of the most celebrated landmarks in the world.

For more information about the next Smooth Cruises visit the website.

Boney James – He Has A Hat

Boney James dislikes labels and refuses any and all of them. “In fact, I have never thought of myself as a ‘jazz’ artist specifically,” he says.

Of course, this statement may serve as a source of confusion for the musician’s legion of fans that have scooped up over 3 million copies of his twelve albums (with eight of them going to No. 1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart). It also may seem contradictory to the respected opinions of music critics who consider him one of the most influential jazz artists of his generation. In 2010 Billboard Magazine named him “The No. 3 Top Contemporary Jazz Artist of the Decade.”

Even so, Boney James, who has four Gold albums, three Grammy® nominations, a Soul Train Award and an NAACP Award nomination to his credit, says, “I am just a saxophone player whose music has several different influences. Jazz is only one of them.”

His newest CD Contact — completely produced, arranged and co-written by James — is driven by the signature soulful grooves the world has come to expect from him, but with an added intensity. “I felt really inspired putting together the arrangements and producing the record,” he says. “There are a lot of things happening right now in modern music. The title, in one sense, refers to me reaching across genres and creating music that I believe is relevant and fresh.”

This incredibly accomplished artist — who broke into music in the mid-80s touring with acts such as The Isley Brothers, Morris Day (The Time), Randy Crawford and Teena Marie, and emerged as a solo force in 1992 with his breakthrough debut, Trust — has long been influenced by contemporary R&B.

Boney James  published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.

Smooth Jazz And Books – Ultra Smooth Grooves for Guitar

The smooth jazz grooves in this 46 page book feature a variety of contemporary rhythm section styles including R&B, Jazz, Funk, Top 40, Rock, Gospel, Hip Hop and Latin. These stylistic influences are frequently associated with smooth jazz. Popular artists in this genre include, The Super Groovers, David Sanborn, Eric Marienthal, Kenny G, Dave Koz, Tom Scott, Gerald Albright, Candy Dulfer, Wilton Felder, Boney James, Chris Botti, Chuck Mangione, Sade, George Benson, Peter White, Lee Ritenour, Earl Klugh, Larry Carlton, Jeff Lorber, Brian Culbertson, George Duke, Joe Sample, Spyro Gyra, Pat Metheny, Four Play, The Yellow Jackets and The Rippingtons.

On each of the 20 tracks, the groove is separated into 3 melodic ideas. Each melodic idea (example or riff) is played first, by the guitar with the groove, followed by just the rhythm section groove, without the guitar. The 1st example is usually the easiest, the 2nd slightly harder and the 3rd the most difficult.

“The Super Groovers” consists of a core group of two super talented musicians Frank Villafranca playing tenor, alto and soprano saxophones and Andrew D. Gordon playing keyboards, guitar, computer programming, creating modern jazz/funk/latin/blues grooves influenced from the 60’s & 70s.  They have created this popular series.

The SuperCruise VI – St. Lucia

The SuperCruise is the jazz cruise with soul! Plus a touch of comedy, gospel, and funk! And we’re back for our sixth consecutive year, with a new ship, new itinerary, new talent lineup, and new onboard activities! The talent lineup includes Will Downing, Boney James, The Brand New Heavies, Gerald Albright, Chrisette Michele, Earl Klugh, Peabo Bryson, and many more artists from the world of jazz and soul, plus a special appearance by funk legend George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic and a special gospel show featuring Yolanda Adams.

The Carnival Freedom is cruising from Ft. Lauderdale to St. Lucia • Antigua • St. Maarten/St. Martin. On Wednesday, Oct 24, 2012 the ship will arrive in St. Lucia.

Lush green hills, black sand beaches, tranquil blue lagoons and pink melting sunsets. This rainbow of colors can only be found on the unspoiled tropical retreat that is St. Lucia. Visitors are always awed by the array of hues offered by nature. Of course, there’s equal grandeur in its magnificent coastline and famous twin mountains known as the Pitons. The island has a mixed French and British heritage, but there’s a hint of the South Pacific about it as well.

The volcanic island of Saint Lucia is more mountainous than many other Caribbean islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimie, at 950 metres (3,120 ft) above sea level. Two other mountains, the Pitons, form the island’s most famous landmark. They are located between Soufrière and Choiseul on the western side of the island. Saint Lucia is also one of the few islands in the world that boasts a drive-in volcano.

The capital city of Saint Lucia is Castries (Population 9,400), where 5.4 % of the population lives.

Dianne Russell – Mel Brown

Diane Russell was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She began to paint while attending Portland State University, and studied illustration at Parsons School of Design in New York. After graduating she returned to Oregon, where she has lived and worked as a professional artist for over 30 years. Diane began her professional career as a fashion illustrator, and over time her art has evolved towards portraiture.

Many of her paintings reflect her passion for music and dance, as well as people from all walks of life. Her portraits capture more than a likeness, they bring to light the inner soul. Diane uses her own photos as reference; then goes beyond the photograph to bring the portrait to life on canvas. Diane paints with M. Graham oil paints, using only pure paint with a touch of linseed oil, which she applies in many thin layers to achieve the vibrant and translucent color in her paintings.

Clients include the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, the Blues Foundation, Pendleton Woolen Mills, and Palmer/Pletsch Publications. Her work appears on the 2005 W.C. Handy Blues Awards poster, CD and book covers, and in private and corporate collections across the country. Diane is a member of the Portrait Society of America, the Blues Foundation, the Cascade Blues Association, and the Jazz Society of Oregon.

This painting of Mel Brown was taken from one of Dianne’s photographs of his weekly performances at Salty’s and Jimmy Mak’s in Portland, Oregon. While well known in Oregon, Mel has played and traveled worldwide, including many years with Motown. He is an accomplished musician and teacher, and in recognition of his contributions to the cultural life of Oregon, he received the Governor’s Arts Award in 2002. Labeled the “Gentleman of Jazz”, his career has spanned over 40 years.

For more information about this artist and her work visit Dianne’s website.

Smooth Jazz and Fine Cooking – Slim Man

Slim Man is singer, songwriter, bassist and a man, who isn’t in the constant pursuit of perhaps unattainable material goals, but takes life as it is and receives solely from the existing beautiful things personal satisfaction. Reading his diaries, enjoying his receipts of belle cuisine and listening to his beautiful music is like Yin and Yang.

Before I fall into raptures here some facts of his musical career. Songwriter for Angela Bofill, Brian Jack, the Temptations, Carl Anderson and finally creator of his debut album End of The Rainbow (1995). He really found the golden pot and continued with Closer To Paradise (1996), Secret Rendezvous (1997), Jazzified (1999), All I Want For Christmas (2000), For Now And Forever (2003), Bella Mia (2004), Solstice (2006), Christmas Eve (2008), and in 2010 Thousand Miles Away.

Also to mention is his side project Bona Fide. In 1998 Carl Griffin needed a funky jazz group for his new label. So Slim Man gathered some of his buddies to record the first album Royal Function (1999), followed by The Poe House (2001) and Soul Lounge (2005).

Visiting his website you will discover another side of Slim Man: Slim is an excellent cook. He has two cooking DVDs in his collection. The first is a Lo-Def, Lo-Tech collection of 16 cooking videos, each about 5 minutes long, that show you how to cook some of the Slim Family recipes, along with Slim Man’s own original recipes. Most of the dishes are vegetarian–some seafood, some pasta–all delicious, quick and easy. And the best part? They all feature Batu, that crazy bull terrier dog of Slim’s!

Most of the videos are shot in the West Wing of the Slim Shack, in a funky little kitchen in Baltimore that’s cozy and cute. Other videos were shot in New York City, and upstate New York. The second DVD continues this collection.