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Grammy Award-Winning Robin Eubanks Brings Commanding Flavor, Style to Idlewild

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Much like the genre it celebrates, the 2008 Idlewild Jazz Festival embraces an array of eras, artists and melodic styles. Slated for Saturday, Aug. 2, in Idlewild, Mich., from 1:30 - 9:30 p.m., this year's event remains true to its eclectic tradition, synthesizing established and emerging musicians into an ear-pleasing day long line up. Festival acts range from big band to fusion, providing enough versatility to suit the breadth of any jazz enthusiast's eight-track/LP/CD collection.

Leading this year's Idlewild Jazz Festival is jazz trombonist Robin Eubanks and Mental Images. Eubanks includes Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Eddie Palmieri, Sun Ra, Barbra Streisand and The Rolling Stones among his collaborations. He also won Grammys for his performances on Michael Brecker's “Wide Angles" and Dave Holland's “What Goes Around."

Eubanks boasts a style that embraces swing, funk and Latin and other evidences of his varied musical experiences. He is brother to Kevin Eubanks, music director for The Tonight Show, and will be joined by their other brother, trumpeter Duane. Theyll perform at 3 p.m.

For festival organizers, the day is about more than notable names and big crowds. The hope is to make the Idlewild Jazz Festival a proving ground for stellar artists poised for breakout success.

Thus, joining Eubanks will be Michigans own Flat River Big Band (1:30 p.m.), the critically-acclaimed piano-led Dan Cray Trio (4:30 p.m.), saxophonist Eric Alexander and In the Pocket (6:15 p.m.), and renowned vocalist Shahida Nurullah (8 p.m.).

All that great music hearkens to Idlewilds heyday when everybody who was anybody made an appearance by the lake, and people in the know had front row seats. Still its own paradise, Idlewild serves as more than backdrop to the jazz fest. Consider it the metronome that keeps the music coming.

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