Annual Newport Beach Jazz Party Set for Feb. 14-17
By Larry Taylor
Washington Birthday weekend's coming up Feb. 14 to 16, and that is the time for the 13th Annual Newport Beach Jazz Party, at Newport Marriott Hotel, Southern California. Fans know this is the gathering of some of the world's finest jazz musicians, playing day and night in the hotel's various venues: Jazz breakfasts, luncheons, afternoon pool side jam sessions, evening concerts. The schedule also includes intimate groups playing during dining, a Saturday night dance and Sunday Jazz brunch.
This year Thursday night's opening concert will honor Oscar-winning composer Alan Bergman, who along with his wife Marilyn, have earned numerous awards, including 16 Academy Award nominations, multiple Emmys, Grammys, and three Oscars for hits such as The Windmills of Your Mind," The Way We Were," and many other great songs which have become classic in the jazz repertoire. Backing Bergman in his performance will be pianist Tamir Hendelman and bassist Trey Henry.
Leading off Thursday evening, 7:30, in the Grand Ballroom, will be the legendary Four Freshmen singing group. Closing the proceedings will be the Sammy Nestico Big Band.
Friday begins the almost non-stop jazz through Sunday evening. Some of the over 80 stars appearing include singer Roberta Gambarini, drummer Jeff Hamilton, clarinetist Ken Peplowski, saxophonist Houston Person, flutist Holly Hofmann, trumpeter Terell Stafford, vibraphonist Terry Gibbs, pianist Eric Reed and saxophonist Rickey Woodard.
Evening performances begin at 7. Friday features groups led by Reed, vibraphonist Terry Gibbs, vocalist Gambarini and the Hoffman-pianist Mike Wofford quintet.
On Saturday in the Grand Ballroom will be a group led by Australian trumpeter James Morrison featuring Stafford and Reed. This is followed by the Jeff Hamilton Trio and closing will be a Tribute to Benny Carter with Peplowski, Woodard, saxophonists Bruce Babab and Gary Foster, pianist Rossano Sportiello, bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer-vibraphonist Chuck Redd.
Winding up the party Sunday night will be a Tribute to Gibbs, now 87, and the Gibbs Dream Band from the fifties and sixties. As will, pianist Bill Mays will have a Mays at the Movies set.
For hotel reservations and tickets, phone (949) 759-5003.