The 2017 Blue Jay Jazz Festival, held at SkyPark at Santa's Village, has been declared a success. The overwhelming response from both artists and audience has been positive.
The entertainment and dining destination – reopened in 2016 after extensive renovation – proved itself the perfect site for performances by The King Brothers Blues Band, featuring Sam and Lee King, on August 10; Greg Adams East Bay Soul on August 17; and Adrianna Marie and her Groovecutters on August 24. Opening the final concert was the Rim of the World High School Marching Band, which set the stage for the awarding of scholarships from Rotary Club of Lake Arrowhead and the Blue Jay Jazz Foundation, the non-profit organization that produces the Festival.
"It was a glorious occasion," said longtime supporter Polly Sauer.
Adrianna Marie, a Lake Arrowhead resident, was in the audience for the first two concerts and declared the venue “an unbelievable improvement. It’s pretty magical, with the fairy lights and the giant pine trees behind the stage. Everything about the setting is great."
Read more reactions in our August 15 blog post about the opening concert. CLICK HERE
Were you part of this historic year? Send your comments and photos to be included in our album of memories, by emailing them to 2017 Jazz Festival Album.
THE KING BROTHERS August 10
The King Brothers brought the blues back to the Blue Jay Jazz Festival, where they first appeared in 2007. Their style, which establishes new standards of blues while staying true to a solid blues tradition, was developed over a half-century beginning when they were teenagers in the Bay Area city of Richmond. Drummer Sam and guitarist-vocalist Lee have played, toured and recorded with such blues legends as their cousin Freddie KingAlbert King. Their most recent CD, Get up and Shake It, follows 1997's Turnin' Up the Heat and Mo Heat, released in 2001. The All About Jazz website said of their music, "This is blues played the way it should be."
Read Lee King's story about how he met his cousin, Freddie King, and helped launch the band's rise, in our blog post, KING BROTHERS: GOOD RELATIONS.
THE BAND • Lee King, guitar, vocals; Sam King, drums; Al Threats, bass; Michael King, keyboards; Michael Fell, harmonica.
THE RECORDINGS • Turnin' Up the Heat, 1997, M S Distributing; Mo' Heat, 2001, The Orchard; Get up and Shake It, 2016, Club Savoy Records
Greg Adams East Bay Soul first appeared at the Blue Jay Jazz Festival in 2004. Adams, among America's most admired trumpet players, released his first solo album, the chart-topping Hidden Agenda, in 1995, after 25 years in the legendary Tower of Power. Adams, a founding member of the Oakland-based soul-funk outfit, had performed and arranged on 14 TOP recordings. More recently he formed a horn-powered band of his own, East Bay Soul, which now is an established force across genres, including jazz, pop, rock, R&B, soul and funk. In addition to his work with Tower of Power, the Grammy- and Emmy-nominated Adams arranged, performed and recorded with Wilson Pickett, Rod Stewart, Lyle Lovett, Luther Vandross, Aaron Neville, The Brothers Johnson, Al Green, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Ray Charles, and The Rolling Stones among others. The most recent East Bay Soul release, That's Life, features horn-fueled and orchestrated vintage soul and pop.
THE BAND • Greg Adams, trumpet; Darryl Walker, lead vocals, tenor sax; Johnnie Bamont, alto, tenor, baritone saxes, flute, bkgd vocals; Greg Vail, alto, tenor saxes, flute, bkgd vocals ; Nick Milo, keyboards, bkgd vocals; Kay-Ta Matsuno, guitar; Dwayne 'Smitty' Smith, bass; Herman Matthews, drums, bkgd vocals; Johnny Sandoval, Latin percussion, bkgd vocals.
THE RECORDINGS • East Bay Soul, 2009, Ripa Records; East Bay Soul 2.0, 2012, Ripa; That's Life, 2015, Ripa
Adrianna Marie and her Groovecutters brought it all together for the Blue Jay Jazz Festival's finale on August 24. The band is led by two mountain residents, vocalist Adrianna Marie (who also played stand-up bass) and guitarist-vocalist LA Jones. Adrianna Marie was born into American jazz, blues, folk and roots music. Her eclectic blend of folk, jazz and blues-infused vocals helped earn her debut CD, Double Crossing Blues, award nominations from both The Blues Foundation and Blues Blast Magazine. Blues Blast was quick to endorse her sophomore effort, 2017's Kingdom of Swing, which features her sultry, sassy versions of classics as well as originals. The magazine called it a "dazzling follow-up of jump, swing and traditional small combo blues."
THE BAND • Adrianna Marie, vocals, bass; LA Jones, guitar, vocals; Blake Martin, trumpet; Mike Czaja, saxophone; Bruce Rubio, baritone sax; Satoshi Kirisawa, drums.
THE RECORDINGS • Double Crossing Blues, 2013, Midnight Owl Records; Kingdom of Swing, 2017, Vizztone