New edition of the Arizona Jazz Festival is packed with soul
R&B veterans Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill, Ralph Tresvant, Charlie Wilson, Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Mint Condition, Kem, Fantasia and Jaheim join smooth jazz headliners Boney James, Brian Culbertson, Mindi Abair, Peter White, Euge Groove and more
Phoenix, Arizona (28 July 2014): Thousands of concertgoers from all over the U.S. will be dancing in the desert October 24-26, 2014 when a stellar lineup of R&B and smooth jazz artists perform at the fall version of the Arizona Jazz Festival taking place at the posh Arizona Grand Resort & Spa. Tickets are on sale now for single-day and 3-day passes priced from $50 to $750 available at the festival’s website (www.ArizonaJazzFestival.com) and by calling event producer BTWconcerts.com at 602-244-8444.
The boys will be out to play when the Arizona Jazz Festival blasts off with perhaps the strongest opening night lineup in the semi-annual festival’s history. The cool cat in the hat, four-time Grammy nominee Boney James gets the event started with his soulful sax grooves that never fail to stir the crowd to spontaneously erupt into a fervent “Go Boney! Go Boney!” chant. Jaheim employs his distinctive husky voice to chronicle his pained upbringing and tales of ghetto life that have earned him three Grammy nominations. It is far from the end of the road for Philly’s finest Boyz II Men, a trio that harmonizes in perfect union while presenting their Grammy-winning songbook filled with R&B/pop vocal and a cappella hits. New Edition members Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant, each of whom has also scored solo hits, are touring as Heads of State and you can bank on a well-choreographed, high-octane show from these R&B superstars.
It will “Be OK” on Saturday when Grammy-winning alchemist Chrisette Michele takes the stage to sing her empowering love songs blending R&B, soul, jazz and hip hop. Equally capable of seducing with her proficient saxophone skills as well as her feminine wiles, Mindi Abair has it all. She will team with Booker T and Elliot Yamin for a hot buttered soul, blues and rock jam. Fantasia’s incomparable voice reflects the real-life pain that’s she endured molding her into a mesmerizing talent. At heart, crossover crooner Brian McKnight is a singer-songwriter able to captivate with compelling lyrics, rich melodies and an emotional vocal delivery. Those in attendance at last fall’s Arizona Jazz Festival are still abuzz over the show that “Uncle” Charlie Wilson put on. The BET Lifetime Achievement Award and Soul Train Icon Award winner marched through his hits backed by a skin tight band, elaborate dance routines performed with precision by an army of performers and enough costume changes to rival Beyoncé. Expect more of the same.
The energy continues on full blast Sunday with sax showman Eric Darius making sure that patrons will arrive early to catch the consistent crowd pleaser. British guitarist Peter White and sax powerhouse Euge Groove have racked up enough No. 1 hits between them to keep the festival going for days, but they’ll rip through their biggest and best in an afternoon session. Mint Condition keeps the endangered full band concept alive with a rich R&B sound spiked with funk, rock, Latin and reggae. Multi-talented keyboardist Brian Culbertson is responsible for 27 No. 1 hits and is out on his 20th anniversary tour while supporting his sixth album to debut at No. 1, “Another Long Night.” Kem’s suave and sophisticated voice melts into steamy, sensual grooves that have earned him a pair of Grammy nominations and a Billboard Music Award. The festivities conclude in old school party mode with Maze featuring Frankie Beverly who leads audiences through sing-a-long sets of the outfit’s enduring classics.
The Arizona Jazz Festival is a lifestyle experience as fans spend the weekend immersed in the music, the lavish resort’s first-class amenities and the adjacent food, fashion and crafts expo. The Arizona Grand Resort & Spa is the state’s only award-winning all-suite resort in Phoenix set amidst a challenging 18-hole golf course, spacious athletic club, luxurious spa and salon and a 7-acre water park. Six different dining options on the property enable festival goers to never have to leave the grounds during the weekend. A limited number of tickets and hotel packages are available through the festival’s website.