Concert series returns August 10, 17 and 24 with a new setting: Jazz and Blues to be featured within an idyllic forest setting
Blue Jay, CA – In a landmark move for the Blue Jay Jazz Festival, the Blue Jay Jazz Foundation, which produces the annual event, has announced that the 2017 summer concert series will be held at SkyPark at Santa’s Village; the San Bernardino Mountains entertainment and dining destination, which reopened in 2016 after extensive renovation.
The 2017 Blue Jay Jazz Festival, featuring internationally acclaimed performers from blues, soul and funk, as well as jazz, will take place on three consecutive Thursdays, August 10, 17 and 24. Getting things started on August 10 will be The King Brothers blues band, featuring Sam and Lee King. Greg Adams and East Bay Soul will follow on August 17. Bringing the series to a rousing conclusion will be headliner Adrianna Marie and her Groovecutters on August 24, with the Rim of the World High School Jazz Band opening the evening.
The festival has become a cherished part of summer entertainment for residents of the San Bernardino Mountain communities as well as music fans in the Inland Empire, Los Angeles and Orange Counties. In the early 2000’s, it was briefly held in the meadow adjacent to Santa’s Village, during the nearly 20 years in which the park was closed. Since that time, the concert series’ home was the parking lot above the Rite-Aid in Blue Jay.
“It has been extremely gratifying to see this project come together,” said Chris Levister, President of the Blue Jay Jazz Foundation. “We are thrilled to return to SkyPark at Santa’s Village and be a part of its historic rebirth. This will not only increase access to live jazz, but raise awareness of the Foundation’s work on behalf of music education and nurturing future artists and audiences.”
After closing in 1998, Santa’s Village was brought back to life as SkyPark at Santa’s Village in 2016, thanks to a massive renovation effort spearheaded by Bill and Michelle Johnson. Now open year-round, the park is attracting thousands of visitors to the mountain communities.
“SkyPark is thrilled to bring the Blue Jay Jazz Festival back to Santa’s Village,” said Michelle Johnson. “We have an incredible venue nestled in the trees that will complement the musical acts featured. We have lovingly restored the village area, where guests can enjoy our eclectic shopping and great dining options. SkyPark is also very proud to support the arts in our community by hosting these events.”
“Coming to the Santa’s Village Concerts in the Meadow was one of our family’s favorite things to do in the summer,” added Bill Johnson. “It’s one of the reasons we fell in love with this special place. We hope that hosting this event in the park will help raise monies for the important programs the Foundation funds. We look forward to seeing our friends and neighbors as well as making new ones.”
For each event, the SkyPark restaurants will be serving food and beverages for concert guests. Those who choose to follow the festival tradition of bringing their own food and drinks will be able to do so. Patrons can purchase individual admission at $29 for ages 13 and older, and $19 for those 12 and younger. Series tickets, with a single admission to all three concerts, are available for $59. Tables are available for $269, which includes admission and seating for eight guests and “concierge” table service.
Tickets will be available through the Blue Jay Jazz Festival website (www.bluejayjazz.com) and SkyPark’s website (skyparksantasvillage.com). On concert dates, gates will open at 5:30 p.m. and the concerts will begin at 6:30 p.m.
The King Brothers bring their unique brand of blues back to the Blue Jay Jazz Festival on Thursday, August 10. They began electrifying Festival audiences in 2007 with a style that establishes new standards of blues while staying true to a solid blues tradition. Raised in the Bay Area city of Richmond, drummer Sam and guitarist-vocalist Lee have played, toured and recorded with such blues legends as their cousin Freddie King and their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame “adopted uncle,” Albert King. Their most recent CD, Get up and Shake It, follows 1997’s Turnin’ Up the Heat and Mo Heat, released in 2001. The All About Jazz website said of their music, “This is blues played the way it should be.”
Greg Adams and East Bay Soul will take the SkyPark stage on Thursday, August 17. Adams, who first appeared at the Blue Jay Jazz Festival in 2004, is among America’s most admired trumpet players. Before releasing his first solo album, the chart-topping Hidden Agenda in 1995, Adams was a founding member of the legendary Tower of Power, where he performed and arranged on 14 TOP recordings. More recently, he formed a horn-powered band of his own, East Bay Soul, which now is an established force across genres, including jazz, pop, rock, R&B, soul and funk. In addition to his work with Tower of Power, the Grammy and Emmy nominated Adams arranged, performed and recorded with Wilson Pickett, Rod Stewart, Lyle Lovett, Luther Vandross, Aaron Neville, The Brothers Johnson, Al Green, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Ray Charles, and The Rolling Stones among others. His recent release, That’s Life, features horn-fueled and orchestrated vintage soul and pop.
Adrianna Marie and her Groovecutters makes its Blue Jay Jazz Festival debut on August 24. Leading the group, which comes off a triumphant appearance at last month’s Doheny Blues Festival, is a singer born into American jazz, blues, folk and roots music. Adrianna’s parents were part of the ’60s folk group The Carol Lee Singers, and as a child she learned the power of music while on tour with them. By the age of 10, she was performing in summer stock in New England. Then, at 17, she headed to California “with nothing but her guitar and a desire to experience the world that had been calling her all her life.” Her eclectic blend of folk, jazz and blues-infused vocals helped earn her blues debut, Double Crossing Blues, award nominations from both The Blues Foundation and Blues Blast Magazine. Blues Blast was quick to endorse her sophomore effort, this year’s Kingdom of Swing, which features her sultry, sassy versions of classics as well as originals. The magazine called it a “dazzling follow-up of jump, swing and traditional small combo blues.”
“Much like the iconic Blue Jay Jazz Festival, SkyPark at Santa’s Village is steeped in nostalgia, charm and history,” said Levister. “We encourage music lovers of every genre to come fall in love again with this wonderful setting, with these gifted musicians providing the soundtrack.”