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Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival Announces 2009 Entertainment Lineup

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MILWAUKEE, WI - The West Bend Sunrise Rotary Foundation, Inc., producers of the annual Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival (KMJF), announced that the line up for the 2009 event, to be held Friday, September 11 Saturday, September 12, will once again feature an internationally diverse collection of musicians and vocalists.

The event, which will take place along the banks of the upper Milwaukee River at Riverside Park in West Bend, Wisconsin, will showcase seven play slots, three on September 11, and four on September 12. The entertainment line up is as follows:

Friday, September 11
5:15 pm: Craig Chaquico: Guitarist, songwriter, producer, and bandleader Craig Chaquico, originally of Jefferson Starship/Starship and now in his fourth decade of topping national charts, brings rock origins to the new age smooth jazz genre. Boasting a combined 20 gold records between Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, and Starship, Chaquico was instrumental in making one of the most successful bands in history. Among the songs he has penned or co-penned are the hits “Jane," “Find Your Way Back," and “Layin' It on the Line." Chaquico began his smooth jazz career with 1993's Acoustic Highway, Billboard's No. 1 New Age Album and Adult Alternative Album of the Year. His latest smooth jazz album, Follow the Sun, was released in May.

7:15 pm: Warren Hill:
An iconic saxophonist, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, Warren Hill delights audiences with chart-topping hits and jaw-dropping solos. He has gone from studying guitar at age seven and saxophone at age 12 in hometown Toronto, Canada, to winning six Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards the most wins in the history of the awards ceremony. Hill focused on saxophone at the Eastman School of Music as well as the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where his career began when legendary record producer Russ Titleman approached him. Within a year of moving to Los Angeles, he signed with RCA Records. In addition to touring with greats like Natalie Cole, releasing 11 albums, and creating Warren Hill's Smooth Jazz Cruise, Hill also began his own record label, PopJazz Records. It's under this label that he's released his latest album, La Dolce Vita, which earned the Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year (title track) awards at the 2009 Smooth Jazz Awards in Ontario.

9:15 pm: The Rippingtons, featuring Russ Freeman: Since its beginning in 1986, The Rippingtons has continuously evolved while staying true to the classic Ripps sound. Band founder and Grammy-nominated guitarist and keyboardist Russ Freeman leads the pioneering band in blazing new trails at the start of its incredible third decade. Joining Freeman are saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa, accordionist Bill Heller, drummer Dave Karasony, and bassist Rico Belled. Following a long 20th Anniversary tour, the band released Modern Art on March 10, an album with soaring horns, melodic keyboards, and driving percussion all anchored by Freeman's intricate guitar styling. To the delight of its worldwide fan base, The Rippingtons offers audiences more than 20 years of popular hits and exciting performances of fresh contemporary jazz.

Saturday, September 12
1:00 pm: Davina and The Vagabonds: Known as the hardest working band in the Twin Cities, Davina and The Vagabonds features a New Orleans jazz sound and high-energy stage performance. Davina Sowers commands attention onstage with her skill at the piano and powerful voice reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt and Etta James. The band features Michael Carvale on string bass and vocals, Dan Olson on drums, Zack Lozier on trumpet and vocals, and Scott Agster on trombone and vocals. According to John Hammer of Blue Monday, “Davina and The Vagabonds are based out of the Twin Cities and play hot jazz-blues-cabaret-soul-lounge-rock that warms the soul an' just plain makes ya' wanna dance."

3:15 pm: Najee: With two platinum and four gold albums, Najee was a pioneer of the rhythm and jazz movement of the 1980s and '90s, and continues to shed new light on the contemporary jazz scene. Playing clarinet, saxophone, and flute, Najee combines jazz improvisation and R&B, and with his talented band he makes audiences jump to their feet. Najee performed for then-President Bill Clinton and is the recipient of many music awards including the Soul Train Music Award for Best Jazz Artist. He's also a two-time Grammy nominee. With his seductive sax and melodious flute, Najee is working toward his fourteenth album to be released in the next year.

5:45 pm: Joyce Cooling: A funky, soulful, and always original guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, Joyce Cooling is recognized as one of the most dynamic and popular contemporary jazz artists in the world. She has recorded seven albums, including 13 charting singles, and garnered multiple music awards and nominations. A self-taught guitarist, Cooling learned to play by ear and has developed a personal style of finger picking, giving her playing a unique sound and feel. Though based in San Francisco, she was raised in New York in a house filled with musical influences that varied from Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix to Stravinsky and Brahms. Cooling has performed with such jazz giants as Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, and Charlie Byrd. Her seventh studio album, Global Cooling, was released in April.

8:15 pm: Walter Beasley: Saxophonist, vocalist, songwriter, producer, and educator Walter Beasley, a stage and recording veteran with an R&B background, demonstrates a master musician's ability to fuse soulful melodies and hypnotic contemporary rhythms. The Boston-based musician has long mastered an exhilarating high wire act of balancing a successful career as a contemporary jazz recording artist and performer with an equally thriving presence in the field of music education. At the age of nine, Beasley began playing saxophone and found inspiration in Grover Washington, Jr. He attended Berklee College and, after graduating at age 22, became one of the school's teachers. In addition to numerous instructional DVDs and audio lessons and interviews, Beasley has 18 studio albums, the latest being Free Your Mind, released in January. He is one of the top five best-selling African-American saxophonists in the world since the late '90s.

Festival tickets are available at “early-bird" prices of $100 for two-day tickets and $60 for one-day tickets through Friday, July 31. Tickets will be sold beginning Saturday, August 1, at $125 for both days and $75 for one day. Tickets can be purchased in a secure online environment at www.kmjazz.com or by calling the festival's toll-free information line at 1-877-271-6903. Consumers can also send a completed ticket order form available from the festival office or the event Web site with a check, money order, or credit card number (MasterCard or Visa) to the West Bend Sunrise Rotary Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 1087, West Bend, WI 53095.

The festival is expected to draw more than 5,500 jazz lovers from all over the Midwest, particularly from southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois. Proceeds from the event benefit area charitable organizations through the West Bend Sunrise Rotary Foundation.

In its history, the festival has contributed more than $335,000 to charitable groups in southeastern Wisconsin through the West Bend Sunrise Rotary Foundation. The Foundation has supported:
The Albrecht Free Clinic support free medical clinics
Columns, Inc. scholarship programs to local high school graduates
West Bend Library building construction
West Bend Parks and Recreation Department maintenance and expansion
West Bend Fire Department fire safety trailer
Kettle Moraine YMCA acquired equipment for a West Bend skate park SafeZone Community Art Center provides an environment for children to develop their musical ability, including small group lessons, private tutoring lessons, and full band rehearsals each week, with periodic performances.
Hurricane Katrina Relief through the national Rotary Fund

In addition to music, the festival has tempting international cuisine, an arts marketplace where local and regional artisans display and sell their work, and interactive sponsor exhibits. Grounds are open on Friday from 4:30pm 11:30pm, and on Saturday from noon 11:00pm.

KMJF sponsors include presenting sponsor West Bend Mutual Insurance; presenting media sponsor Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; major corporate sponsors Gordie Boucher Ford of West Bend, The Gehl Company, Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Park Place, Key Technical Solutions, Midwest Airlines, westbury bank, the West Bend Park, Recreation, and Forestry Department, and W.O.W. Distributing Company; media partners Smooth Jazz 106.9, TODAYS TMJ4, and Conley Publishing Group; and corporate sponsors Coca-Cola, Roto-Graphic Printing, Ron Sonntag Public Relations, and West Bend Area Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, visit www.kmjazz.com or call the Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival's toll-free information line at 877-271-6903.

This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz Publicity.
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