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17th Annual Jazz in the Pines Features David Benoit

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This year's headliners are sure to be a crowd pleaser for the 17th Annual Jazz in the Pines Saturday and Sunday, August 28 & 29, 2010. Headliners for Saturday, Aug. 28th include 3 time Grammy® Award winner Tom Scott, Kenny Washington, Robin Adler & Mutts of the Planet and the ever popular Yve Evans and Company. Also appearing on Saturday are The Peter Sprague Septet, Harry Pickens, The Joshua White Quartet, and The Jeff Tower Big Band just to name a few.

Sunday, Aug. 29th will showcase multiple Grammy® nominated pianist David Benoit, Oscar Hernandez and Evan Christopher as headliners along with the incredible talents of the Vortex Gospel Group, The Straight jackets, Chuck McPherson Jr. and the Cold Sweat Quartet along with the amazing sounds of Idyllwild Arts graduate, clarinetist Evan Christopher.

Jazz in the Pines is a scholarship fundraiser for the Idyllwild Arts Foundat ion. As an added treat KJAZZ 88.1 FM in Los Angeles' morning show host Bubba Jackson will perform duties as Master of Ceremonies on the main stage of the Holmes Amphitheater.

Since launching his recording career in 1977, David Benoit's expansive career as a contemporary jazz pianist has included over 25 solo recordings. His '80s releases This Side Up, Freedom at Midnight and the GRAMMY nominated Every Step of the Way are considered influential genre classics.

Among his other Grammy nominations are those for Best Instrumental Composition (for "Dad's Room," from 1999's Professional Dreamer) and Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance (for the GRP All-Star Big Band).

His prolific output since 2000 includes several prominent Charlie Brown related projects (including Here's To You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years and the star-studded 40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas) that reflect his lifelong passion for the music of original Peanuts composer Vince Guaraldi and solidify Benoit's role as his musical heir. Benoit has also released the Bil lboard Contemporary Jazz charting albums Fuzzy Logic, Right Here, Right Now, Full Circle and Heroes, which paid homage to the pianist's top jazz and pop influences. Tom Scott is a renowned composer, arranger, producer, musical director and saxophonist. He has twenty-nine solo recordings to his credit and for these efforts has earned three Grammy Awards and fourteen Grammy nominations.

Regularly priced tickets are $60.00 per day for over 25 acts on three stages. Individual , group tickets, Patron Dinner packages (includes tickets to each day) and the Saturday Night Jazz and Jambalaya Dinner can be purchased online at www.idyllwildjazz.com.

Gates to the Jazz in the Pines concert pavilion open at 10:00 a.m. both Saturday, August 28 & Sunday August 29 with acts starting at 10:30 a.m. All three of the music venues, Holmes Amphitheater, Stephens Hall and the ever popular French Quarter, play jazz until 5:00 p.m.

The festival is located on the grounds of Idyllwild Arts at 52500 Temecula Road in the cool, clean air of the breathtakingly beautiful mountain village of Idyllwild, California. All parking is free with shuttles running continuously between the center of town and clearly designated lots. A variety of food concessions will tempt your taste buds along with premium wines, beer and margaritas.

Over 65 world class artists will be selling handmade items including art, sculptures, jazz memorabilia, jewelry and Jazz in the Pines collector gifts.

For more information call 951-500-4090, or to book accommodations visit www.idylodging.com, www.quietcreekinn. com/Quiet-creek-Vacation-Rentals or www.idyllvacationrentals.com.

Bill Pickett Rodeo Blazes On

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By Gary Montgomery, BVN Staff –

After 25 years of zigzagging across the country telling the story of the African American cowboy, the Bill Pickett Rodeo still draws exuberant crowds and is one of the real joys of summer.

Since its inaugural event in Denver’s Adam’s County Arena back in 1984 the Bill Pickett Rodeo has introduced hundreds of thousands of youngsters to the African American rodeo experience.

Named after the legendary Black rodeo pioneer, Bill Pickett was credited with creating the ‘dogging’ techniques used by today’s cowboys.

The primary goal has always been to highlight the story of the African American cowboy. By creating the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, founder Lu Vision not only achieved his goal of telling the African American cowboy’s history, he also created a venue for today’s local African American cowboys and cowgirls to exhibit their skills, hone their craft and follow their dreams to other professional circuits if they choose.

“We have seen a lot of our folks go up to the PRC (Professional Rodeo Circuit), some of them have done alright up there, said General Manager Sedgwick Haynes. If you can rodeo down here you can rodeo up there.”

There are African American cowboys and cowgirls all over the country, thousands in the Inland Empire alone, people who love horses and the cowboy life. Most are unrecognizable by day posing as teachers, bankers, lawyers and even actors, then like Fred Flintstone when the 5 o’clock whistle blows they rush off to their first love, horses.

During its 25 year history, the Bill Pickett Rodeo has provided an opportunity for thousands of those part time cowboys and cowgirls who want to pursue the professional circuit or just want to showcase their riding ability.

Riverside native, Lauren DeCoud is one of those aspiring cowgirls with bigger aspirations.

After getting her first opportunity to compete in the barrel racing event at last year’s rodeo, Lauren was invited back this year to participate in the barrel race and the relay event.

Growing up in the Riverside-Moreno Valley area Lauren was a star basketball player at Mo Val High. As the starting point guard, Lauren helped lead the Vikings to their first and only appearance in the CIF Quarter Finals, losing to eventual champions San Clemente.

“My whole family rides, I have been around horses my whole life,” said DeCoud.

“My mother rode horses when she was pregnant with me. I have always loved to ride”.

Lauren and Cowboy, her faithful steed had and impressive run in the barrel racing event and held the top time in the relay event coming into Sunday’s final round.

Lauren’s goal is to continue to polish her skills and at some point give the Women’s Professional Rodeo a shot.

“First, I need a more advanced horse to compete at the next level and I need better equipment before I can go on the road,” said Decoud.

Lauren’s current skill level combined with her obvious passion for the sport will likely overcome those minor obstacles and get her to the WPR real soon.

Gmontgomery can be reached @ sports@blackvoicenews.com

Fox Performing Arts Riverside Announces Fall Winter 2010

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Fox Operator, Bill Malone, proudly announces the initial programming for the Fox Performing Arts Center Fall/Winter 2010 Season.

The Fox in Riverside, which has been referred to as “the cornerstone of the City’s arts and entertainment amenities and a centerpiece for the City of Arts & Innovation identity” by Mayor Ron Loveridge, will host an eclectic mix of internationally renowned artists and local arts groups.

Fox Performing Arts Center scheduled and yet to be announced second season performances will be inclusive of Comedy, Pop, Latin, Jazz Fusion, Neo Soul, R & B, Chorale, Rock, Smooth Jazz, Pops Orchestra wi th Special Guests, A Very Special Viol in Recital, Tributes to Pop Superstars and local arts performances by the Ballet and Symphony, in addition to hosting the 2010 shows of the second season of the Fox Broadway Series presented by the Nederlander organization.

Tickets will go on sale on Friday, July 23, 2010 at www.ticketmaster.com and at the Fox Performing Arts Center Box Office located at 3801 Mission Inn Avenue. The Box Office is open Monday -Friday from noon to 6:00 PM, Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and on all show days from 10:00 AM to Show Time.

For more Ticket information, contact the box office at 951-779- 9800.

Lalah Hathaway – Saturday, September 11 An Evening of Comedy with Dennis Miller - Friday, September 17

Broadway Series: “Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles” – A Nederlander Presentation September 24-26 (5 shows)

UB40 – Friday, October 1 Sarah Chang – Thursday, October 14

Riverside County Philharmonic – Saturday, October 16

Broadway Series – “The Color Purple” – A Nederlander Presentation October 29-31 (5 shows)

Rainbow Promotions Announces Lineup For The 23rd Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival

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Rainbow Promotions presents the 23rd Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival August 13, 14 and 15, 2010. The Festival again takes place at the lovely seaside setting of Rainbow Lagoon Park on Shoreline Drive in Long Beach, California. As with previous Long Beach Jazz Festivals, the 3-day music extravaganza has a special theme and focus—“ Jazz Up Your Summer”—as the exciting and evolving genre of Smooth and Straight Ahead Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Music takes center stage with a lineup that is clearly the cream of the crop. Featured are some very special performances this year, The Original Jazz Crusaders will make their first Southern California reunion appearance, An All- Star Tribute to Grover Washington Jr, Al Jarreau & The George Duke Trio, Boney James, Melanie Fiona, to name just a few.

As one of the longest-running annual jazz festivals in Southern California, the Long Beach Jazz Festival offers something for everyone, from soulful party-vibe, smooth jazz grooves to more traditional jazz improvisation. Veteran concert promoter and musician Al Williams, head of Rainbow Promotions, will also perform on the 15th with his Al Williams Jazz Society.

Williams says, “I’m excited this year to have a great variety of artists. It is a collection of all the elements that have sustained jazz’s popularity for decades; a touch of rhythm, soul, international flavor, innovation and future jazz stars. It’s all great music.”

On Friday, August 13, the Original Jazz Crusaders, featuring Joe Sample, Wayne Henderson and Wilton Felder, headlines the first day and the exciting saxophonist Boney James. On Saturday, August 14, a special tribute to Grover Washington Jr. featuring Ronnie Laws, Tom Scott, Chante Moore, Paul Jackson Jr., dynamite duo Dave Koz & Jonathan Butler with special guest Sheila E., Kanye West protégé, soul singer Melanie Fiona, and Saxophonist Shilts, front-man for the urban, funky jazz band “Down To The Bone” round out what promises to be a day of electrifying music. And on Sunday, August 15, vocalist extraordinaire Al Jarreau & the legendary George Duke with his Trio headlines an incredible 3rd day lineup that includes bassist Marcus Miller & trumpeter Christian Scott, the Al Williams Jazz Society and conguero Poncho Sanchez with his seven-piece Latin jazz ensemble.

Tickets are available through Rainbow Promotions at (562)-424- 0013, or online at www.longbeachjazzfestival.com VIP tickets--$155 on Friday, and $180 per seat on Saturday and Sunday—include dinner, wine service and backstage access. Reserved box seat tickets are $60 on Friday and $75 per seat on Saturday and Sunday. General admission/ lawn seating is $45 (prior to August 4th) and $50 at the gate.

Friday-Gates open at 5pm. Saturday and Sunday- Gates opens at 11:00am.

16th Annual Essence Festival Rolls Into New Orleans

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By Tene Perry, Special to The Black Voice News –

The mid-summer New Orleans heat and humidity - sprinkled with a few showers - engulfs a sea of fresh hairdos, linen suits, halter-top summer dresses and skin exposing garments worn by African- Americans young and old all enjoying the Essence “experience”.

This year marks the 16th Annual Essence Music Festival sponsored by Coca- Cola and it promised three days of an all star line-up on several stages. This year’s Superdome Arena Main-stage donned commanding performances by legendary artists such as L.L. Cool J, Janet Jackson, Charlie Wilson, Gladys Knight and Earth, Wind and Fire. They shared the stage with R&B divas such as Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott and (a very pregnant) Alicia Keys.

There were four smaller stages strategically placed on the second level of the Superdome that featured a variety of artists like De La Soul, Mint Condition, Joe, Mary Mary, Ledisi, Estelle and Melanie Fiona. New Orleans own Big Sam’s Funky Nation and The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra were just a few of the featured local artists.

In addition to it being Independence Day weekend, this year also marks the 40th Anniversary of Essence magazine which was even more reason to celebrate. Boasted as the ultimate party weekend the Essence Music Festival has grown in leaps and bounds since its humble beginning in 1995, to providing an unprecedented open forum focused on the African- American woman, family and progressiveness. The New Orleans Convention Center, which was open to the public, provided (in addition to the ice cold air conditioning and exclusive merchandise from vendors far and wide) opportunities for festival goers to attend star-studded forums that addressed relevant topics like Steve Harvey’s Love and Relationships Super Fest addressing keeping the African-American family together and how to make relationships and marriages work.

Nearly five years after Katrina, New Orleans is finally coming back to its original state of America’s party retreat. Hosting an estimated 400,000 attendees from far and wide for one of the most immaculately executed largest music festivals in America, contributions will be made not only towards New Orleans but the state of Louisiana and any efforts to protect the wildlife and commerce that thrives on the Gulf Coast in addition to building up around the city.

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