Goodbye James – hello Candy. Only a couple of weeks ago the Bregenz Festival Hall was under the motto "Quantum of Solace" – but soon that is going to be: Enjoy a "Quantum of smooth jazz"...
Neusäß, 09.06.2008: While hot action scenes have rounded off the shooting programme for "Quantum of Solace" – the 22nd episode of the famous "My name is Bond"– special agen – saga - on the roof of the Bregenz Festival Hall, preparations for the just as promising 1st episode of a festival are in full swing: the 1st Annual Smooth Jazz Festival which is taking place here (in Bregenz, Austria) on the 29th and 30th of August. Not only does the smooth entertainment GmbH, Neusäß, provide the suitable background music for a shaken vodka martini with this event, but it also stages yet another world premiere in the studio theatre in Bregenz – and this mission is everything but secret. On the contrary: we are more than pleased to share all the news...
First Mission: What is Smooth Jazz?
The term "Smooth Jazz" is not one commonly used in this part of the world, so let’s start with a short definition: first: Smooth Jazz is not Jazz – or not only, at least. Secondly: Smooth Jazz is no muzak*!! But: Smooth Jazz is – a touch of Soul, a touch of RnB (not too much), a touch of Jazz, too. While wikipedia.de claims that Smooth Jazz is a variety of Jazz, we claim: Smooth Jazz is the play list of the "Cafe del Mar" – CDs. It is emotion. An attitude towards life which finds no echo in the mainstream–scores of the charts. It is chill-out music at its finest, but definitely with a light savoir-vivre- and laissez-faire-feeling at its heart. In the U.S and in Dubai the fans of this floating sound number millions already, prominent artists are e.g. Candy Dulfer, Sade, Carlos Santana, Simply Red, Nora Jones, Sting, but also the German band De Phazz with singer Pat Appleton.
Second Mission: Why Bregenz?
Smooth Jazz is casually cultivated lifestyle, paired with a dose of coolness, cultivated indulgence and culture – an ambience completely in line with the Bregenz Festival Hall. On the one hand a touch of "Casino Royale", on the other a breeze of beach-feeling à la "Cafe del Mar". Concerts with well-known artists will take place on both nights. The location: the studio theatre, the "rough diamond for events" of the Bregenz Festival Hall, set up as a multifunctional "Black Box" which will transform into a chilled-out party lounge on the occasion of the 1st Annual Smooth Jazz Festival. Moreover an outdoor lounge will be open to all – not only festival guests – from the afternoon.
Third Mission: Which Acts?
The Festival line-up sparkles with highlights: On the first night the Italian band Gabin will hit the stage with groovy beats. Then the American guitarist Chieli Minucci, who has already performed with artists like Jennifer Lopez and Anastacia, the saxophonist Marion Meadows, from the U.S. as well, and the Swiss-born pianist Alex Bugnon will take you away into the world of Smooth Jazz. De Phazz from Heidelberg is the closing climax of the first-night live acts, and will put the audience in the mood for the following after-show-party with elements of Dub, Jazz, Soul, Trip-Hop, Latin, Drum`n`Bass and Ambient; we have of course booked well-known clubbing-scene djs for both party nights.
The second night will be opened by De Phazz singer Pat Appleton with her own band, then big names in the world of Smooth Jazz, Peter White, Jaared and Candy Dulfer, follow onto the stage. The saxophonist from the Netherlands has already performed with international stars like Prince, Beyonce, Aretha Franklin and Pink Floyd and will put the heat on the audience for the following after-show-party. On this weekend a visit to Bregenz will even be doubly rewarding: on both days of the Festival the Bregenz town fair takes place during daytime, which each year attracts 120,000 guests to a visit at the lake promenade.
Other performers also appearing include Praful & Sound System, Adani & Wolf, and Rocco Ventrella.
The duo Gabin is not from France, as the name might suggest, no, they call Italy their home. The faces behind the pseudonym are the musicians Massimo Bottini and Filippo Clary, whose approaches to music come from two different perspectives. While Clary works in Rome as a renowned dj and rocks the city’s nightlife there, Bottini is up to his tricks as a Jazz-bassist and can adorn himself with collaborations with such well-known Jazz personalities as Billy Cobham or John Scofield. Their own musical vision meets somewhere in the middle. Influences from Jazz and Soul meet Downbeat-sounds and Latin-rhythms. Discreetly used synthetic elements lend this lush music cocktail the necessary drive
The American Jazz-guitarist and composer with Italian roots was born in New York in 1958. His father, Ulpio Minucci, was a successful concert pianist and composer. Cieli himself is probably best known today as head of the Grammy-nominated Jazz-band "Special EFX", with whom he has recorded 23 cds. Moreover, he has worked together with world stars such as Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Jessica Simpson, and Anastacia. From the world of Jazz Marion Meadows, Jay Beckenstein, Gerald Veasley, Lao Tizer, Nestor Torez and Bob Baldwin have cooperated with Minucci, and his compositions for movies and television have earned him several Daytime Emmy Award nominations. He took home the award twice.
The saxophonist Marion Meadows (soprano-, tenor- and baritone sax) has style – in terms of outfit as well, as he prefers black and with his black dreadlocks, he is surely a favourite with the Jazz-loving ladies. As a musician he sets an example for countless smooth-saxophonists, who all try to follow suit with the casually cool, but still powerfully emotional Meadows sound. By now he has published nine cds and has worked together with a number of well-known artists like Brook Brenton, Eartha Kitt, Phyllis Hyman, Jean Carne, The Temptations, Michael Bolton or Angela Bofill.
Jazz-pianist and composer Alex Bugnon was born in 1958 in Montreux. His hometown regularly hosts the Montreux Jazz Festival – thus, Bugnon has more or less grown up with Jazz. Before moving to the U.S.A he studied music at the Conservatorium in Paris for two years. He then went to the Berkley School of Music and performed with gospel groups as a sideline. In 1990 he moved to New York, where he played in the background as a session musician with artists like Patti Austin, Freddie Jackson and Keith Sweat. He made it into the charts with his debut album "Love Season" just as with its successor, "Head over Heels"; in the R&B charts he even secured a place among the top 40. All following releases were placed in the R&B charts, too. After not having published an album under his own name for five years, the Jazz branch of Narada records offered him a contract and brought him to the market as a solo Jazz artist. He returned to the Jazz-charts with his album "Alex Bugnon" and further releases followed suit. Alex Bugnon has won two Soul Train Music Awards.
The Heidelberg band De Phazz was founded in 1997 by pit Baumgartner as an open band -project. They got famous, among others, with their radio hit "The Mambo Craze" from their second album "Godsdog". The name "De Phazz" is derived from destination f(ph)uture jazz. The music, which might be familiar from a couple of TV commercials, is very varied and includes elements from Dub, Jazz, Soul, Trip-Hop, Latin, Drum`n`Base, Ambient and R&B, but also elements of Turntablism are woven into their music. The band itself developed more and more into a Live-Act and appears mainly in clubs and on open airs; the music is often accentuated by light and colour displays, projections and dances. The formation of the band itself keeps changing, too – its members include or have included musicians like Karl Frierson (vocals), Oli Rubow (drums), Susanne Horn (vocals), Pat Appleton (vocals), Roy Randolph (percussion, vocals) or Frank Spaniol (saxophone).
Pat Appleton, daughter of a German mother and a Liberian father has found her way into music business during her time as a student of political sciences, when she took on a job as a singer in a party- and dance combo. She soon realised that being an ambassador for music suited her far better than lending her voice to politics, as originally planned. She therefore chucked her father’s dream of becoming President of Liberia and completed a vocal training. After a diversity of engagements as a lead- or background interpreter for numerous Pop- and Jazz bands as well as excursions into advertising and film soundtracks, she joined the Heidelberg sound-collective De Phazz in 1999, where she is creative as a composer and texter as well. Last but not least she is also a popular guest-singer with Bands like the Jazzkantine of the Nighthawks, with whom she has also written and published songs. As "one of the most important voices of contemporary German Jazz" (3sat) Pat Appleton tours the world with De Phazz today. Last September she presented her first solo album "What’s Next?"
An Englishman who accentuates his music with genial charm and musical playfulness. The result: Smooth Jazz with a spiritedness which many others in this genre lack. Born in Luton in 1954, White devoted himself to music already as a child. His father encouraged him to learn many instruments – the recorder, the clarinet, cornet, the trombone, violin, mouth organ, the piano – but his father’s instruments were not his – his was the guitar. But here his father could not help him. Therefore he helped himself, experimented with a few simple chords and imitated melodies from the radio. Like many musicians, White was strongly influenced by the Beatles and the guitar-driven Beat sound of the sixties. After his first electric guitar, which he had bought as a teenager, had burnt in a fire, however, he had to make do with an acoustic guitar. He made the best of it: White discovered his love for acoustic music. Shortly after he had left school at 18 he got an engagement in a hotel resort in the South of England, where he played over the summer. After that he travelled to London and joined a band managed by Miles Copeland (manager of Sting, R.E.M.). It was Copeland who arranged the contact between the 20-year-old White and Al Stewart, with whom he toured England and the US shortly after. He worked with Stewart as a pianist at first, and later also as a guitarist, composer and co-producer. In 1979 Stewart moved to Los Angeles, formed the band Shot in the Dark and a record label called Lobster Music. In 1990 he published his first solo album ("Reveillez-Vous"). The album soon became a favourite with Jazz-djs and Jazz-Radio stations. White has published more successful albums and is known throughout the world today.
The alto- and soprano-saxophonist Jaared was born in Washington in 1967. He began playing the saxophone at the age of seven – on the recommendation of a doctor. The reason: he suffered from asthma as a child. To prescribe lessons on a wind instrument with such a diagnosis might sound strange at first, but actually the doctor was aiming at strengthening the lungs. The patient must have taken his medicine obediently, as he is a most well known Jazz-musician today. Jaared stands for neat, casually light Smooth Jazz. A major influence on him was David Sanborn, whose music had left an impression on Jaared even as a teenager; he made a name for himself in the music scene of Washington DC in the 80ies, where he performed with a diversity of artists: Starting with Ju Ju House of the Go-Go-Funk band EU up to Mary Ann Redmond, a highly distinguished Soul-/Rock-singer made along the lines of Tina Turner and Etta James. Even though he took part in a couple of R&B-Gigs, too, when he started recording albums of his own in 2000 the musician decided to concentrate on Smooth Jazz (in a time when he also toured the U.S. side by side with Jazz-guitarist Peter White). His debut album "Forward" was published in 2001, followed by "Hangtime" a year later.
"If I want sax, I call Candy" Megastar Prince once said adoringly – and he is not the only one with whom Candy Dulfer rings a bell – the Dutchwoman has long since made a name for herself internationally as a saxophonist. The daughter of the well-known Jazz saxophonist Hans Dulfer soon knew that she would be treading in her father’s footsteps. Candy starts playing the sax as a six-year-old; at 14 she has a band of her own (Funky Stuff) with whom she works together up to the present day. In 1987 she put the heat on the audience as a supporting act for Madonna, and one year later she should have opened Prince’s shows in the Netherlands. When she received a cancellation at short notice she wrote him a letter of complaint. Which apparently was worth the effort: the man from Minneapolis invited her as a guest onto his stage. Since that day she repeatedly went on tours with him, could and can be heard on many of his albums. In 1990 Candy Dulfer`s first solo album "Saxuality" appeared and was an immediate success. Candy tours almost all of Europe and even performs in the U.S. With rewards: a Grammy Award nomination in the category "Best Pop-Album Instrumental". During the last years Candy Dulfer has worked together with Dave Stewart, Van Morrison, Pink Floyd, Aretha Franklin and Beyoncé. At the end of July 2007 the 10th album of the Dutch artist appeared. On 13 tracks Candy celebrates her maturity as a musician and plays with the most diverse elements form Pop, Soul and Jazz. Elements from Hip Hop and Rap are even more prominent here than in the past.
For more information click to www.smoothjazzfestival.de