By Patte Purcell
It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to sit back, relax (key word) and just enjoy some amazing music. Karl and I attended the best concert I’ve seen in the desert last Saturday night. The Grooves at the Westin series produced by Michael Paulo and his wife Terri, (Apaulo Productions) along with his partner Jim Pedone, started off the series with a bang! I can’t believe I was lucky enough to get to see two of my favorites in one night.
I’ve never seen Eric Darius before, but I will again. What an incredible sax player and performer. From his spiffy rhinestone studded sax strap to his classy white cocktail jacket he is every inch an entertainer. He wowed the crowd. He was accompanied by LA Collective, a talented group of some of the most stunning new artists in the industry. Adam Hawley is the guitarist who has his second single in the #2 position on Billboard right now (his first single from the same CD was #1 on Billboard for 5 weeks.) I’ve had the pleasure of booking Adam on two different occasions and he is at the top of my list. I am literally blown away at his talent. He has a doctorate in music. His first tour was with Manhattan Transfer before being stolen away by Jennifer Lopez for her tour. The last two years he’s been opening for Barry Manilow with Dave Koz. With his solo career taking off like a rocket, I predict he will be the biggest baddest guitar player to ever hit the smooth jazz scene. Look out Peter White!
Greg Manning on keys is a star in his own right with the #1 song of the year in 2014 and his latest in the top 10. Darryl Williams is undeniably the #1 smooth jazz bass player and has his own CDs. He’s coming out with a new one this year. Tony Moore on drums rounds out the foursome laying down a funky groove as he does for the “A List” players in the industry.
Their finale was “Uptown Funk,” which rocked the room with such energy it was almost hard to handle. I was in heaven!
Next up was one of my very favorite bands Greg Adams and East Bay Soul. Greg is the original trumpet player/composer/arranger for Tower of Power and brings that rich full, 10 piece band sound with new original music. I like them better then Tower of Power and I am a huge Tower of Power fan.
This tight band of seasoned pros didn’t disappoint. From vocalist Darryl Fitzgerald Walker to one of my favorites Greg Vail on sax, this was one great performance.
The series is normally outdoors under the stars, but with inclement weather they took it inside for this event. The VIP pre party was a great opportunity to see friends and artists. It was wonderful to sit and enjoy the event in its entirety.
This series is just beginning. Check out the list of performers: Mindi Abair, Rick Braun, and Peter White. For more information visit westinmissionhills.com/grooves
(Photos by Jack Cohen – Smooth Jazz Live)
Patte Purcell – Muze Muzic