The 20th Jazz in the Pines is only five weeks away — Aug. 17 and 18. The program continues to bring new and fresh jazz performers to the Hill as well as reward attendees with ever popular and returning favorites.
For Idyllwild, one of the 2013 entertainers will be local and American Idol finalist Casey Abrams, who performs in the Holmes Amphitheatre at noon Sunday. Abrams, 21, won’t be the youngest performer because Marsha Lytle, jazz chair, is bringing back Ray Goren, the phenomenal 13-year-old singer and guitarist, with his band. Goren makes an appearance for the third consecutive year.
While Abrams and Goren invigorate jazz with their youth, Lytle and Artistic Director Bubba Jackson, KKJZ 88.1FM personality, bring several long-time, well-known and recognized Grammy artists to the festival.
On Saturday, the audience hears two-time Grammy-award winning vocalist and pianist Diane Schuur (1:30 p.m.) and the Harvey Mason Chameleon Project (3 p.m.) with Grammy award-nominated percussionist Harvey Mason and featuring multiple Grammy award-nominated pianist and vocalist Patrice Rushen.
The John Daversa Sextet finishes the afternoon on the main stage. While not yet a Grammy nominee, Daversa has won many national jazz awards, including the Herb Alpert and ITG Jazz Soloist competitions.
On Sunday in the Barn, jazz aficionados may listen to the Rob Thorsen Trio featuring Josh White, the second-place winner of the 2012 Thelonious Monk piano competition.
The amazing jazz talent is not limited to a few award winners. This year, jazz vocalists Janis Mann and Denise Donatelli return. While always popular, these favorites are complemented with new additions to the local jazz scene. On Sunday, Jackson introduces Izzy Chait and then Amina Figarova.
Chait is a jazz vocalist whose professional career began in the 1960s during his stint in the Marines. For the next 25 years his musical career was in abeyance as he developed his antique and auctioneer business. In 2001, he released his first album and now appears throughout Southern California belting out classic jazz standards such as “All Of Me,” “Blues In The Night,” “All The Way” and Gershwin songs.
The Amina Figarova Sextet brings international jazz to the amphitheatre. Amina, a pianist and composer of many jazz pieces, was born and raised in Baku, Azerbaijan, and her husband, Bart, a flutist, is from Belgium. They treat an audience to jazz’s international feel, which they have shared with jazz fans in Newport, New Orleans and New York, where they now reside.
Finishing the afternoon is the Euphoria Brass Band from San Diego. This group is quickly growing Idyllwild roots. It recently appeared at the 2013 Aroma Spring Jazz Fest and participated in last week’s Fourth of July Parade.
Many local groups also perform that weekend. Familiar to long-time jazz fest visitors are Rocky Zharp, P.S. Blues Band, Robin Adler, The Chuck Alvarez Band and Change Required.
Besides the tradition of extraordinary jazz, the Associates of Idyllwild Arts Foundation, who produce Idyllwild in the Pines, established a culinary tradition in recent years — the Friday night Patron’s Dinner.
“A Taste of Idyllwild” Cocktail Party, which Idyllwild restaurants host, starts this special evening with a Red Carpet Entrance. The night continues with gourmet food, fine wine and fun, along with music from Idyllwild Arts students and alumni. Jackson hosts the gala and welcomes a special appearance by NBC-4 weatherman and comedian Fritz Coleman.
For those concerned about driving, parking and enjoying the fabulous weekend, the Associates solved that problem, too. Leave the driving to them.
For only $30 per person round trip, the Jazz Trans transport attendees to and from the event with pickups in Palm Springs and Palm Desert. This offer is available on Saturday, Aug. 17, only.
For tickets to Jazz in the Pines, the Patron’s Dinner or Jazz Trans, or for more information, visit www.idyllwildjazz.com or call the Hotline at 951-500-4090.