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17th Annual Newport Beach Jazz Party & Big Band Blowout

Jazzed Magazine • News • December 2, 2016

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newportbeachfestivalThis year’s party, featuring a big band closing each of the four nights, will take place February 23-26, 2017,  at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa.  In addition to a Saturday and Sunday Champagne Jazz Brunch, daily evening concerts will take place in the Marriott’s Grand Pacific Ballroom plus afternoon pool sessions on the grounds of the resort. Title sponsor for the Newport Beach Jazz Party & Big Band Blowout is The Jazz Cruise and Blue Note at Sea Cruise, the world’s only full ship charters dedicated to “Straight-Ahead and Contemporary Jazz”.  The media sponsor will be  jazz station KJAZZ.

Thursday’s Grand Opening Night, starting at 7:30pm, will feature three concerts, beginning with saxophone giants Scott Hamilton and Harry Allen reuniting for their CD, Heavy Juice with Larry Fuller, Chuck Berghofer & Butch Miles.  The second concert will star Ann Hampton Callaway in “To Ella with Love” with her band including Tamir Hendelman, Kevin Axt, MB Gordy and special guest- Harry Allen.  Closing this  night will be a concert  honoring drummer Frankie Capp and his Juggernaut Big Band with special guest Butch Miles.

Friday evening will feature four concerts starting at 7:00pm with the first concert featuring Hamilton & Hamilton with tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton and the Jeff Hamilton Trio with selections from their CD Live in Bern.  The second concert is titled The Solo, Duo, Trio & Beyond concert with Shelly Berg, Chuck Berghofer, Peter Erskine, Gilbert Castellanos, Francisco Torres, Don Shelton and Doug Webb. Concert number three will bring to the stage world renowned lyricist Alan Bergman, back by popular demand and accompanied by Tamir Hendelman & Kevin Axt.  Bringing this exciting night to a close will be Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band for a special set called- A Salute to The Great Composers & Arrangers with Sammy Nestico, Tom Kubis & Gordon Goodwin, each conducting the band with specially selected compositions.

Saturday will open with the Akiko Tsuruga Trio featuring B3 organist Akiko along with Jeff Hamilton and guitarist Graham Dechter.  Concert number two will present a salute to Jazz at the Philharmonic with Shelly Berg, Scott Hamilton, Rickey Woodard, Gilbert Castellanos, Francisco Torres, Jay Leonhart, Joe LaBarbera, Graham Dechter.  This “barn burner” will be followed by concert number three in a Tribute to the Ray Brown Trio featuring John Clayton, Larry Fullter & Jeff Hamilton. Closing the evening will again be a big band with a Salute to Frank Sinatra, Jr. with the Frank Sinatra, Jr. Orchestra conducted by Terry Woodson and featuring a very special guest vocalist to be announced soon.

Sunday will bring together a close to “A Weekend For the Love of Jazz and Big Bands”, starting with the Houston Person Quartet featuring Shelly Berg, Chuck Berghofer and Clayton Cameron.  Concert number two will feature Mays at the Movies by pianist Bill Mays with Jay Leonhart, Matt Witek and special guest- Scott Hamilton, followed by Concert number three with The Larry Fuller Trio featuring Katie Thiroux, Matt Witek and guitarist Graham Dechter as a special guest. And brining the Big Band Blowout to a roaring close will be the celebrated Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra conducted by John Clayton and featuring co-leaders Jeff Clayton and Jeff Hamilton.  And what has become a NBJP tradition, attendees will be invited to attend Houston’s Dance featuring Houston Person, Larry Fuller, Christoph Luty & Jeff Hamilton.

Highlights for this year’s Pool Sessions (Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon until 3:30pm), include the Peak Experience, Bill Cunliffe All-Star Group and the Phil Norman Tentet on Friday. On Saturday- Jay Leonhart; CSULB’s Pacific Standard Time; Billy Mitchell & His Circle of Friends and the Cal State Fullerton Jazz Orchestra conducted by Bill Cunliffe. Sunday will feature the Lolly Allen Sextet, Annie Sellick & Friends and the Anne Walsh Ensemble. Additionally, two Champagne Brunches will be offered featuring the weekend’s pianists in solos/duos for a Salute to David L. Abell- Part II on Saturday and A Sunday Kind of Love with the great Barbara Morrison plus Rickey Woodard on Sunday.

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