The 2nd Annual San Diego Smooth Jazz Festival

AAJ Staff By

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Smooth jazz held on two marvelous sunny days, Saturday September 22nd and Sunday September 23rd 2001, on the waterfront in San Diego at Embarcadero Marina Park South. It's an absolutely lovely location to sit back, relax and enjoy some mind soothing jazz from various noteworthy performers. There was selected seating and gourmet food on fine china for VIP ticket holder at a $135.00. Additionally, there were more in-creditable dishes from food vendors, for the less expensive ticket holders. Box seats were priced at $50.00, located directly behind the VIP section and lawn seating was available for $35.00.

Nancy Wilson's performance was nothing short of spectacular last Saturday evening at the 2nd Annual San Diego Smooth Jazz Festival. Ms. Wilson captured the audience attention from the very beginning, as she walked on stage dressed in a stunning white two-piece ensemble. As she began her performance you could see very clearly that the audience was digging her style, smooth, sultry and alluring. Her trio, performed wonderfully as well. The drummer kept perfect time, the pianist simply had magic fingers and the bassist was extraordinary. Pulling sounds from his bass with such artistry, as he stroked it in perfect rhythm, with the rest of the trio.

Ms. Wilson career has spans over four decades; she recorded her first album in 1959 and has since followed up with an amazing collection of memorable recording. Her first recording company was Capital Records and she followed with her second recording company, Columbia Records from (1988 thru 1999). Capital's latest release, Anthology is a (two-disc set), of her earlier recordings. Also, Columbia Records latest released is entitled Nancy Wilson's Greatest Hits. Ms. Wilson worked with great musicians such as Cannonball Adderley, Ramsey Lewis, and George Schearing to name a few. Ms. Wilson is truly one of the great vocalists in contemporary jazz today.

As the Evening goes on Stanley Clarke arguable one of the most talented bassist if not the best in the world, he walked on stage with his band and proceeded to set the stage on fire, with natural raw talent. Clarke and his band got the audience involved from the very start, with the energy that they brought with them on stage. Clarke once again delivered his power full force and the audience snapped it right up, and wanted more. You could hear the crowed stirring with anticipation, as Clarke had the crowed hanging from the edge of their seats. He had them wondering if it was even possible, for him to take them to a higher level. And take them he did. He had the crowed dancing in their seats, he had them jumping to their feet, he had them clapping their hands and shouting for more. Clarke and his band were simply sensational.

He certainly gave the festival admires the time of their lives last Saturday evening, at The San Diego Smooth Jazz, it was an amazing way to end the first evening of the festival.

Mr. Stanley Clarke is a muti-talented and diverse musician. His qualifications consist of a well renowned, Bassist, Composer, Conductor, Arranger, Songwriter, Record Producer, and Recording Artist. Moreover, it has been over eight years since he has recorded a solo cd. He is currently working toward releasing a solo project this fall. Clarke's career has been an on going masterpiece for thirty years, and we hope many more to come.

Sunday September 24, 2001 a wonderful sunny day. Al Williams Jazz Society featuring Barbara Morrison kicked off the San Diego Smooth Jazz Festival in style, and the audience loved them. Williams was in total control, a pure master on drums, as he displayed his artistry with such finesse. Al Williams Jazz Society preformed various tunes from their cd, Let's Celebrate, which was released earlier this year on January 30, 2001. Wayne Henderson produced the cd on the Blue Lady label. The guest artists is an impressive one; Roy Ayers, vibraphone, Poncho Sanchez, congas, Wayne Henderson, trombone, Bobby Lyle, Piano, Noland Shaheed, trumpet /cornet, Nedra Wheeler and Henry Franklin on bass.

Al Williams Jazz Society continued to delight the crowd, as Ms. Morrison delivered a beautiful rendition of "Candy." The audience loved her unique and versatile vocal abilities. Ms. Morrison is also known for singing the blues. And sing the blues she did, in a jazzy sort of way and what a treat it was for the audience. She belted out, "Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On" and " They Call Me Sundown." The audience went wild, they craved for more, except this was one of the rare times that they didn't get what they wanted. However, Ms. Morrison did have cd's for sell, Live Down Under, Johnny Otis Presents Barbara Morrison, and I'm Gettin Long All Right, to curve the appetite of her devoted fans, for just a little while.

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