The 25th-annual Jazz in the Pines poster.
Courtesy Idyllwild Arts Academy

Great sounds, unforgettable music, all in the forest

The complete line-up for the 25th-annual Jazz in the Pines festival is complete — headliners, legends, up and coming, alumni, favorites and new. Reserve the weekend of Friday, Aug. 10 through Sunday, Aug. 12.

Alumni will dominate Saturday afternoon on the Holmes Amphitheatre stage. At 2:30 p.m., Evan Christopher’s (class of 1987) sweet New Orleans clarinet will beguile the jazz fans. Joining him will be fellow alumnus trombonist Jason Jackson (class of 1989), as well as popular pianist Joshua White, guitarist Bob Boss and drummer Owen Zorn. This is Clarinet Road.

At 4:15 p.m., the Graham Dechter Quartet will play. World-renowned guitarist, Dechter (class of 2004) will be accompanied by another alumnus, Jacob Sceney (class of 2011).

On Sunday, another famed alumnus, Casey Abrams (class of 2009), will entertain jazz fans. His new album, “Put A Spell on You,” was just released this winter.

The whole weekend will be a homage to Marshall Hawkins, co-founder of the Jazz in the Pines festival, and founder of the jazz studies department at Idyllwild Arts Academy.

“So many musicians have studied and played with him, it’s a tribute to him,” said John Newman, chief operating officer for the Idyllwild Arts Foundation. “We wouldn’t be able to get these acts if not for him.”

Besides his illustrious graduates, many of his close friends and celebrated jazz musicians, such as Harry Pickens, Boss, Richie Cole and Yve Evans, will be performing that weekend.

The 25th festival is not limited to alumni or favorite legends. Newman and Hawkins have invested hundreds of hours listening to great jazz. So, they expect the long-time attendees to be equally enchanted with the new groups.

Opening the main stage in the Holmes Saturday morning is Pete Escovedo, the great percussionist. He and his orchestra will punctuate the atmosphere with a combination of Latin jazz and salsa rhythms. Escovedo embodies Newman’s promise that the festival is not simply straight-ahead jazz.

  Before the alumni swarm the amphitheatre’s stage, the Chase Jackson Sextet, another new Southern California group, will entertain.

One doesn’t have to sit on grass to hear great jazz. The French Quarter will offer several popular groups, starting with the Greg Jones Band Saturday. Ruby and the Red Hots and San Diego’s Euphoria Brass Band also will be playing Saturday.

On Sunday, the familiar rhythm and sounds of Chuck Alvarez, Yve Evans and the always popular and familiar Lisa Haley and the Zydekats will occupy the French Quarter and offer dancers many opportunities to show off their moves.

The audience at the Stephens Recital Hall will not be disappointed. Harry Pickens, with Hawkins, Joshua White, Barnaby Finch, Jazzgrass, Paul Carman, Forbits and Henry Franklin will shake the walls with foot stompin’ jazz rhythms and blues melodies.

Saturday and Sunday will offer even more performers, some new, such as a student combo, and some unique, such as Sunday morning’s Voices in Praise Gospel Choir.

Of course, Hawkins’ Seahawk Modern Jazz Orchestra will bridge Saturday and Sunday. The MOJO will play Saturday evening in the Lowman Concert Hall.

The two days begin Friday night, Aug. 10, with the Patrons Dinner’s theme of “Ole New Orleans.” The music will be the Euphoria Brass Band, and headliner Ruby and the Red Hots.

After describing the whole weekend, Newman said his biggest disappointment is “having to say ‘No’ to so many talented artists. Hundreds want to perform. I get requests about every day.”

More information about the performers can be found at

Tickets are available at the Idyllwild Pharmacy, the Idyllwild Arts retail shop on North Circle or online at

General admission tickets are $85 each day or $150 for both days. But there are several other premium packages. The traditional Patron Package is $350 and offers the Patrons Dinner Friday evening and a special reception and preferred seating at Seahawk MOJO Concert Saturday evening, as well as other benefits.

New this year is the VIP Package. For $500, one obtains exclusive access to the new VIP lounge, which will have refreshments, a private restroom, air conditioning and more.