Man playing saxophone

By Patte Purcell

Jazz is coming back in a big way out here in the desert! A number of concert series are taking place building on earlier successes along with the best places to hear it. Here’s a run-down on some of the best Jazz Happenings this season.

The new Celebrity Jazz Jam Series (monthly begins Monday Jan. 18, 5-8 pm under the stars at the prestigious Desert Willow Golf Resort. There are 18 national artists and local favorites participating in a 3 hour super jam that highlights some of the top names in jazz. The first one is headlined by guitarist Blake Aaron, who’s described by LA Times as a ‘genius on the guitar’. Aaron has already scored top 5 Billboard hits and is currently #3 on the charts with his iconic version of ”Europa.” He is joined by Greg Manning on keys who had the #1 hit of the year in 2013, vocalist Aysha who has a current top 10 hit with “Take me Higher,” Slim Man with his #1 hit “Faith in Us,” Rick Parma who is currently rising on the charts with his song.  Darryl Williams, Joe Baldino and local favorites including John Carey and Rose Mallet. The jam incorporates jazz, blues, funk, and groove with national artists and local favorites.

The Feb. 22 show will focus on Latin Jazz with artists including Gretje Anjell and Dori Amarillo, Bob DeSena, and a dozen more to be announced. Tickets are only $25 and schedule can be found at Monthly dates year around are March 21, April 18, May 16, June 5, July 24, Aug. 21, Sept. 18, Oct. 17, Nov. 14 and Dec. 12. Call 1-702-219-6777 for more information.

The Grooves at the Westin Series (an Apaulo Production) starts their spring series on Feb. 6 with R&B and Jazz Allstars including Lou Price, Jonathan Butler (guitarist/singer), saxman Everette Harp, vocalist Lynne Fidmont and an all-star band including Brian Simpson on keys, Freddie Washington on bass, Land Richard on drums and Michael Paulo.

It continues on Feb. 20 with Russ Freeman and the Rippingtons; March 5th with the iconic Peter White; and March 26 with legendary guitarist Craig Chaquico of Jefferson Starship.

Tickets are $85 VIP Reception (reserved table seats closest to the stage). Meet your favorite artist with gourmet appetizers, wine and beverages, $60 reserved table seats, $45 gold reserved seats and $35 general open seating. Tickets are available at Call 951-696-0184 for more information.

Fitz’s Jazz Cafe has 3 more concerts. Call the box office for pricing and ordering 760-340-ARTS (2787). Lisa Fischer – February 13, 8:00 pm/ Steve Tyrell – March 19, 8:00 pm/ Chris Botti – April 2, 8:00 pm.

The “Jazz for Jazz Lovers” held at Pete Carlson Golf and Tennis features weekly artists in straight ahead jazz and some Latin jazz offerings. Jan. 15, the Frank Capp Quintet; Jan. 22, The Tom Scott Quintet; Feb. 5, The Banda Brothers Sextet; Feb. 12, The Jon Mayer Quartet featuring Ernie Watts; Feb. 19, Graham Decter featuring The Larry Fuller Trio; March 12, The Joe La Barbara Quintet; March 14, The Gerry Mulligan Song Book led by Mark Masters; and April 16, Blues by Mingus led by Mark Masters. Ticket prices vary call 1-760-568-3263 for details.

Melvyns’ in Palm Springs Jazz Jam is on Sunday afternoons from 3 until 7 and is hosted by Michael Healey. Call Melvyn’s for reservations 1-760-325-2323.

Vicki’s of Santa Fe has jazz nightly. This is straight ahead jazz and a soft jazz pop mix.

John Stanley King LIVE! and “A Band of Four” -every Friday 8pm-12Mid/Pat Rizzo & Trio-every Saturday 6:30-10pm/JazzTime Band-every Sunday afternoon 2-5pm/John Stanley King & Trio-every Sunday evening 6-9pm/Carolyn Martinez & Trio-every Tuesday 6-9:30pm/Lizann Warner-every Wednesday 6:30-10pm/Rodeo Drive-every Thursday 4-6:00pm/Stan Watkins Latin-every Thursday evening 6:30-10pm. Call Vicki’s for pricing and reservations 760-345-9770.

Patte Purcell – Muze Muzic