By Patte Purcell

What a night of music! This is the first year that Coachella Valley Music Awards has added an additional jazz category to the awards. Some of my musical friends and some I’d never met were nominated in two categories. The first was Jazz Vocalist of the Year Slim Man, Rose Mallet, John Carey and The Smooth Brothers, Mikole Kaar, Yve Evans and Cat Lyn Day were nominated. Slim Man took home the award. He was delighted to be chosen. Slim Man has been in the desert for a couple of years now and I’ve worked with him since 2010. He’s a very talented guy from Baltimore with incredible smooth jazz and music credentials. He’s also just come up with a great new cookbook. I’ll be doing my column next week on Slim and fill you in on all the details.

The other category was Best Instrumental Jazz Artist, the nominees were Will Donato, Joe Baldino,  Craig Chesnut and Chase Huna. This category was full of people that I know and love. Guitarist Joe Baldino and I have been working together for 2 years. I’ve worked with Craig and Chase on multiple occasions and Will and I have a long lasting friendship.

Will Donato took the prize. Will was out of town so they asked me to accept the award for him. I congratulated Will and said he was undeniably the most beloved musician in the desert and we were so proud of him in his national career. I mentioned he’s double billed with Jesse J and has been playing with A List Artists all over the country. It was a wonderful moment for me to see him get the recognition he deserves.

Some of my favorites performed in a jazz jam to open the show including Slim Man vocals and bass, Joe Baldino on guitar, John Carey on guitar, Theo Coakley on keys, Craig Chesnut on drums, Mikole Kaar on sax and Rose Mallett on vocals. They jammed to “Route 66” and Rose Mallet jammed it into “Stormy Monday.”

Patrick Evans and Bianca Rae of KESQ emceed along with Tracy Dietlin publisher of Coachella Valley Weekly who looked beautiful in her long flowing dress. What an amazing job! So well organized and professional. It was such a treat to see some of my other friends including Ronnie King who won the Best Producer and his brother John Stanley King one of my favorites who took the award for Best Blues Artist home.

The lovely and talented Gina Carey won the Best Adult Contemporary Artist. John Carey got another standing ovation for his tribute to Prince with “Purple Rain.”

The venue was the fabulous Riviera Palm Springs Ballroom with its 40 ft stage. Exquisite sound and lighting were provided by All Star Sound and CYM Lighting with backline provided by SIR and Musicians Outlet owned by the late hometown music hero Randy Hewitson. It was a beautiful evening filled with wonderful music. Tracy Dietlin and Phil Lacombe can be very proud of their accomplishment. Bravo!

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