The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa Introduces Jazz Series That Features David Benoit, Phil Perry, Jessy J, Brian Simpson, Gregg Karukas, Michael Paulo and Hiroshima
By Chris Clemens
The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa debuts a new jazz series taking place under the stars, “Grooves at the Westin,” bringing world-class musicians to the stage. In partnership with Apaulo Music Productions, the series debuts on Valentine’s Day, Saturday, February 14 with accomplished jazz pianist and composer David Benoit and special guest R&B musician Phil Perry, with two additional concerts following in March.
With over 25 chart topping records to his credit and several Grammy nominations, Benoit is in a class of his own, thrilling audiences with his unique piano style and beautiful compositions. He has performed at The White House for three U.S. Presidents: Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Other dignitaries he has performed for include Colin Powell, Hillary Clinton, and Al Gore. Benoit’s long list of credits includes performances with pop and jazz artists such as Russ Freeman and the Rippingtons, Kenny Loggins, Kenny G, Patti Austin, Dave Koz, Kenny Rankin, Faith Hill, David Lanz, Cece Winans, David Pack, David Sanborn and Brian McKnight.
Special guest for the evening is award-winning R&B/jazz musician Phil Perry performing with Benoit. Perry’s tenth solo album, “Say Yes,” was released in 2013 and is still going strong with placement in the Top Ten on Billboard and smooth jazz charts, as well as receiving top vocal credits in 2014. Perry began his career as a member of the soul group The Montclairs. Over the span of Perry’s career he has been one of the most sought after backing vocalists in the music business. He has played a supporting role on dozens of albums by music greats including Anita Baker, Boz Scaggs, Rod Stewart, Peabo Bryson and George Duke.
Following David Benoit and Phil Perry are the “Smooth Jazz All-stars” featuring Gregg Karukas, Jessy J, Brian Simpson and Michael Paulo on Saturday, March 21. These four chart topping musicians come together all on the same stage for an unforgettable music experience.
As one of urban contemporary jazz’s most versatile and acclaimed artists over the past 25 years, keyboardist and composer Gregg Karukas is a Grammy Award winner for producing, engineering, co-writing and arranging Omar Akram’s “Echoes of Love,” which won Best New Age Album at the 55th Grammy Awards in February 2013. As a solo artist, Karukas’ 11 CDs have garnered consistently solid reviews for his signature piano touch, pristine production, and melodies that are both soulful and sophisticated.
Celebrated keyboardist, composer and studio musician, Brian Simpson has been the ‘go-to’ man for everyone from Janet Jackson and Teena Marie to George Duke, Stanley Clarke and Dave Koz, for whom he has had the distinction of being musical director for the past 15 years. The chart-topping musical chameleon released “Just What You Need” in 2013, once again landing on Billboard charts.
Nouveau sax-woman Jessy J burst onto the contemporary jazz scene in 2008, blending her love for Latin rhythms and jazz on her chart-topping, award-winning debut album “Tequila Moon.” Jessy earned the Radio & Records’ Debut Artist of The Year award and contemporary jazz Song of the Year by both R&R and Billboard for the title track, which held the number spot on the chart for eight weeks. Her latest album “Second Chances” features Grammy Award-winning guitarist Norman Brown, which debuted in 2013 and has landed on Billboard jazz charts as well. Jessy J has worked in studio with Michael Bublé and toured with music icons Michael Bolton, The Temptations, Jessica Simpson and Seal.
As one of the most versatile and cosmopolitan saxophonists in pop, soul and contemporary jazz for nearly 20 years, Michael Paulo has added his distinctive style to a virtual who’s who of artists, including Al Jarreau (Paulo’s longest term touring association), James Ingram, number one smooth jazz trumpeter and guitarist Rick Braun and Peter White, Oleta Adams, Kenny Loggins, Patti Austin, Jeffrey Osborne, Jeff Lorber, David Benoit, Carl Anderson, Bobby Caldwell, Johnny Mathis and others.
Hiroshima concludes the series on Saturday, March 28. With over 30 years performing together, Hiroshima offers crowds an unforgettable musical experience. Their unique blend of Japanese instruments, such as the 13-stringed koto and taiko drums, with the smooth rhythm of Western R&B, makes them the number one Asian-American band in the world. June Kuramoto on koto is an American treasure and music icon. No one else in the world possesses her ability to bridge the gap between traditional Asian music and Western jazz. Hiroshima’s music has been heard in film, television, concert stages and festivals throughout the world.
All shows take place at the outdoor Masters Plaza and begin at 7 p.m. with gates opening at 6 p.m. Ticket prices range between $45 and $75. In addition, a special three-course dinner package, including a glass of celebratory house wine, is available for $99 per person at the resort’s Fireside Lounge, neighboring the Masters Plaza where the performances are held. The cost includes prime outdoor seating situated around a centralized outdoor fire pit with exceptional views of the concert. In addition, discounted room rates are available for 20 percent off the best available rate when purchasing concert tickets, by using code JAZZ when booking at (877) 253-0041.
Sponsorships for the jazz series are available beginning at $1,000 per show or $2,500 for the spring series. For more information about the resort visit www.westinmissionhills.com or call (760) 770-2150. For concert tickets visit www.tix.com.