Jazz In The Woods, Inc. and the Overland Park South Rotary Club are pleased to announce this year’s 22nd Annual “Jazz in the Woods” jazz festival at Corporate Woods in Overland Park, Friday, June 24th and Saturday, June 25th at Founder’s Park in Corporate Woods (I-435 & Antioch). This family-friendly outdoor event is the largest free music festival in a six state area and the largest free jazz festival in the Kansas City area. A 5K Run/Walk will also take place on Saturday morning, June 25th. All of the net proceeds from the event go directly to local children’s charities. Last year over 20,000 people attended the event.
This year’s talent lineup features nationally renowned recording artists. The headline acts are Richard Elliot & Norman Brown on Friday evening, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on Saturday evening.
“We are bringing in exciting jazz performers with tremendous energy and wide appeal”, said Marc Shaffer, event chair for 2011. “This year will feature national artists with a variety of jazz styles” said Shaffer. “Many people are searching for this type of great entertainment in a family-friendly setting with no charge for admission. We will be offering an exclusive VIP Tent experience again this year, and a Saturday morning 5K Run/Walk will be held to assist us with raising money for local children’s charities.”
Friday’s “Jazz in the Woods” headliner will be Richard Elliot and Norman Brown. Veteran saxophonist Richard Elliot, long known as the “James Brown of Contemporary Jazz” for the intense soul inspirations of his recordings, teams up with Norman Brown, a premier smooth jazz guitarist and singer. The Scotland-born, L.A.-raised Elliot landed his first professional gig touring with Natalie Cole and the Pointer Sisters while he was still in high school. He also has played in the adventurous fusion band Kittyhawk, and participated in recording sessions with his Motown heroes Smokey Robinson, the Four Tops and the Temptations. Brown has collaborated with Boyz II Men, Stevie Wonder and noted engineer and writer Kenneth H. Williams. The innovative and original guitarist has been front and center in the fast-evolving fusion of pop, R&B and jazz that has captured the imagination of true music aficionados across the country and around the world.
Also performing on Friday will be Four 80 East with Matt Marshak and Shilts. The brainchild of producers Rob DeBoer and Tony Grace, Four 80 East’s sound lies at the forefront of what has been called the nu jazz movement — taking the best of contemporary jazz and pop styles and aligning them to produce an improvisational dance-infused sound.
Matt Marshak’s live shows overflow with passion, energy, crowd interaction and intensity, as the guitarist throws a series of blues, rock, soul and jazz licks. He is recognized worldwide for his unique smooth jazz style and is returning for a third time to Jazz in the Woods. Paul “Shilts” Weimar hails from London, England, and has been playing saxophone since his early teens. His career has spanned all forms of jazz, soul and pop music, and he has toured all over the world and recorded with a host of international artists.
Friday night also features The Noteables. Comprised of members from the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band, the Noteables jazz ensemble presents exciting, uplifting music inspiring audiences to increased patriotism. The group has appeared in concert and on national television with Bob Hope, jazz trumpeter Bobby Shew, composer/arranger Frank Mantooth, former Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen, pop singer Lee Greenwood and trombonist Wycliffe Gordon.
On Saturday, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will perform as the headline act, preceded by the Monterey Jazz Festival Youth Chorus, the Monterey Jazz Festival All-Star Youth Band, and guitarist Jeff Golub.
Since their arrival on the music scene in 1993 in a legendary residency at Los Angeles’ Brown Derby nightclub, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s irresistible live show and aggressive, musically perceptive approach has proven them over time to be the singular standout among the numerous bands that launched the ’90s swing revival. The seven-man group forged a massively successful fusion of classic American sounds from jazz, swing, Dixieland and big-band music, building their own songbook of original dance tunes, and, 16 years later, BBVD is a veteran force that to this day adds new fans by the roomful every time they play.
The Monterey Jazz Festival Youth Chorus is comprised of the top young jazz musicians from the Monterey County, CA, area. The Youth Chorus has received worldwide recognition and rave reviews for its high level of performance. Vocal jazz educator, musician, composer and arranger Kerry Marsh directs the vocal jazz ensemble.
The Monterey Jazz Festival All-Star Youth Band, also hailing from Monterey County, CA, is comprised of that area’s most gifted young musicians. The band has received worldwide recognition and rave reviews for its high level of performance and each summer takes to the road to perform across the country. Renowned saxophonist and flautist Paul Contos serves as director.
Jeff Golub is a contemporary jazz guitarist with six solo albums and three CDs. As the leader of the instrumental band, Avenue Blue, Jeff Golub is best known for his work with Rod Stewart from 1988 to 1995. Born in Copley, Ohio, Golub began playing by emulating ’60s blues rock guitarists Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, later hearing a Wes Montgomery record, which set him on his path to become a well-regarded jazz musician. Produced by the Overland Park South Rotary Club, Jazz in the Woods is held each June in the Corporate Woods office park in Overland Park. Local charities benefitting in 2011 are the Fox 4 Love Fund for Children, Operation Breakthrough, Lee Ann Britain Infant Development Center, and the Overland Park South Rotary Club “Future oif Hope” Foundation. More information is available at www.jazzinthewoods.com, or by calling 913-661-5475.