By Patte Purcell
Brazilian jazz sung by the beautiful Gretje Anjell, with acoustic guitar by Dori Amarillo, gently opened the Celebrity Jazz Jam Latin Night on an intimate note as the full moon rose over the Desert Willow Golf Resort. The air was balmy and the Sold Out crowd swayed and danced under the moon as they listened to the sounds of incredible Latin Jazz from some of the best national artists and local favorites.
Rick Parma performed his latest hit “Beseme Caliente” taking the mood of the jam to a full band sound.
Local songtress Eve Holmes then sang “Sway” in a stunning red dress and Sabor A Mi.
Bob Desena, who won the #1 Jazz artist of the year (LA Music Awards), went from flugelhorn to trumpet to vibes as he got everyone going with his Latin hits including; “Little Sunflower,” “Song for my Father,” “Wachi Wara (Soul Sauce).”
Guitarist Joe Baldino opened the second set with an incredible version of Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” and his original song “Love” where he was joined by Rick Parma, Bob Desena, Victor Robles, and the core band which included; Hans Zermuehlen on keys, Andrew Ford (who did a gig with Chaka Kahn at the White House the night before) on bass, Craig Chesnut on drums, and Rafael Feliciano on percussion, a truly big number!
Saxaphonist and recording artist Victor Robles kept it going with “Europa” as he moved through the audience serenading the happy jam fans.
Rose Mallett, a local favorite, sang “Smooth Operator” and “Caravan” with full back up, including the incredible sax and clarinet recording star J Anton Boykin, who mesmerized the crowd with an incredible show, by jumping on chairs to play to the audience and even laying down while he played “Maria Maria,” a Latin version of Mr. Magic, and he joined Rick Parma on “Mambo #5 (A Little bit of).”
From there the legendary vocalist and recording artist Slim Man took the microphone and crooned two of his biggest hits “Secret Rendezvous” and “Secrets of Your heart.” Slim was in charge of the microphone second set and had a funny repertoire going the entire time.
The finale was “Rhythm is Going to Get You” which included all of the artists and a conga line led by the Slim Man himself. The audience roared their approval.
The Celebrity Jazz Jam series is held outdoors monthly on Monday nights during good weather and inside the ballroom when weather isn’t cooperative year round at the beautiful Desert Willow Golf Resort overlooking the golf course. Sound and lighting are provided by sound and lighting guru Willie Robinson of LA Audio who has been providing sound to national acts including Tower of Power, James Brown and many more. The next jam is Monday, March 21 from 5-8 pm and will feature a host of artists who will be jamming and performing standards, Latin, and a little swing. Tickets can be purchased for $30 at www.purplepass.com/celebrityjazzjam3
Produced by Patte Purcell and Karl Erikson the series goes year around. For more information contact Patte at 1-702-219-6777.
All photos by Marco Najara.