Clark County Parks and Recreation kicks off summer with their annual Jazz in the Park Concert Series, which celebrates its 29th year (Pictured: Bill Frisell, Mindi Abair and JJ Sansaverino).
This year, the free series will feature Ghost-Note (featuring Nate and Sput from the multi GRAMMY Award-winning Band Snarky Puppy) on May 12, Bill Frisell feat. Trio Tony Scherr & Kenny Wollesen on May 19, Diane Schuur on May 26, The Groove Project featuring Marcus Anderson, Oli Silk and JJ Sansaverino on June 2 and Mindi Abair & The Boneshakers on June 16. Seating for those with picnic baskets, blankets, and low-back chairs will begin at 5 p.m. with performances beginning as early as 6:30 p.m. at the Clark County Government Center Amphitheater, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway. Food and drinks will be available on site. Admission and parking are free.
“Jazz in the Park is a cultural institution in this town, a free event where we bring some of the biggest names in jazz here,” said County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani. “It’s a great opportunity to enjoy great music in our beautiful amphitheater. Just bring a blanket, some lawn chairs and something to eat and drink and enjoy the music and the company of your neighbors and fellow jazz enthusiasts.”
Ghost-Note features Multi-GRAMMY Award winning artists Robert Sput Searight and Nate Werth from the international sensation Snarky Puppy. This dynamic duo expands their rhythmical voice into a celebration of music in all its forms. This is music that takes listeners on a mind-blowing journey, inspired by the influences of James Brown, J Dilla, and the Beastie Boys, all the way to folkloric West African, Afro-Cuban, and Brazilian samba grooves. The band’s impressive rotating roster of heavy hitters combine their decades of experience to create a night of unforgettable musical madness. Band members include Sylvester Onyejiaka (Prince, Quantic) on flute, tenor, and baritone sax, Jonathan Mones (Funky Knuckles, RC and the Gritz) on flute, alto, and tenor saxophone, A.J. Brown (Fred Hammond) on bass, internet star Dwayne “MonoNeon” Thomas (Prince) on bass and guitar, Justin Stanton (Snarky Puppy) on keyboards, Daniel Jones (Jay-Z, Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake) on keyboards, Nick Werth (Galaxe, Yak Attack) on xylosynth, Mike Jelani Brooks (Kirk Franklin, RC & the Gritz) on tenor saxophone, and Alvin Ford Jr. (Pretty Lights, Dumpstaphunk) on drums.
Bill Frisell is described as being at the very epicenter of modern American music, where his career as a guitarist and composer has spanned more than 35 years and 250 recordings, including 40 of his own. Frisell’s recording catalog has been cited by Downbeat as “the best recorded output of the decade,” including his recent albums for Savoy — Sign of Life with the 858 Quartet, Beautiful Dreamers with his trio, and All We Are Saying, a new collection of John Lennon interpretations. Frisell is also recognized as one of America’s 21 most vital and productive performing artists, and was named an inaugural Doris Duke Artist in April 2012.
Diane Joan Schuur nicknamed “Deedles,” is an American jazz singer and pianist. As of 2015, Schuur had released 23 albums, and had extended her jazz repertoire to include essences of Latin, gospel, pop and country music. Her most successful album is Diane Schuur & the Count Basie Orchestra, which remained number one on the Billboard Jazz Charts for 33 weeks. She won GRAMMY Awards for best female jazz vocal performance in both 1986 and 1987 and has had three other Grammy nominations. Schuur has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and the White House, and has performed with many artists including Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones, and Stevie Wonder. Co-performers on Schuur’s albums have included Barry Manilow, José Feliciano, Maynard Ferguson, Stan Getz, Vince Gill, Alison Krause, and B.B. King. Her album with B.B. King was number one on the Billboard Jazz Charts. She has also been Johnny Carson’s guest on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” 11 times.
Schuur has been blind from birth due to retinopathy of prematurity, but has been gifted with absolute pitch memory and a clear vocal tone. In 1996, she was a guest performer on “Sesame Street,” where she was interviewed by Elmo and described to him how a blind person can learn to use other senses to adapt in the world. In 2000 she was awarded the Helen Keller Achievement Award by the American Foundation for the Blind.
The Groove Project is comprised of three well established artists: Oli Silk who is a British smooth jazz keyboardist, producer and composer, Saxophonist Marcus Anderson is the golden child shining among stars who has topped the charts on Billboards Smooth Jazz and Sirius XM’s Watercolors, and guitarist JJ Sansaverino is an extraordinary performer who has a “take no prisoners” performance attitude. Over the past 25 years, he has reached millions touring the world with his “a la Santana meets Benson: musical style – a mix of smooth jazz, R&B, and reggae.
Mindi Abair is an American two-time GRAMMY Award-nominated saxophonist, vocalist, author, and National Trustee for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the organization that puts on the GRAMMY Awards show. Her solo career has produced ten No. 1 radio singles, two No. 1 Billboard Jazz CDs, and four more solo CDs that have landed No. 5 and above on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts. She was the featured saxophonist for the 2011 and 2012 seasons of American Idol, performed with the rock band Aerosmith for their 2012 summer tour, joined Bruce Springsteen and Max Weinberg for a night at the Beacon Theater and has played with Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra three times on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
Jazz In the Park Series is produced by Clark County Parks and Recreation and sponsored by Findlay Chevrolet. Those interested can call Clark County Parks and Recreation at 702-455-8200 or visit www.clarkcountynv.gov