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Newport Beach Blog

September 3, 2014

Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Summer Concert Series

Smooth jazz fans can enjoy a musical treat in September when the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Summer Concert Series presents a stellar lineup of noted jazz artists every Friday evening in the Hyatt’s intimate outdoor amphitheater.

Kicking off the month of marvelous music on September 5 is a terrific double bill: The Rippingtons and David Benoit.

For more than two decades, Russ Freeman and The Rippingtons have performed their distinctive brand of contemporary jazz for fans around the world. Many of the group’s songs have been inspired by Freeman’s fascination with exotic locales, such as Morocco, Monaco and Kilimanjaro. Their latest recording offers a journey to Cote D’Azur, but seeing the group live is a trip that’s out of this world.

Opening the show is pianist/composer David Benoit, who launched his career nearly four decades ago but shows no sign of slowing down. The Grammy-nominated musician has recorded more than 25 solo albums, many of which are considered influential jazz classics. His cover of Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus and Lucy” in 1985 (from the album “This Side Up”) garnered considerable airplay and helped launch the genre soon to be known as “smooth jazz.” He’ll be performing songs from his current release, “Conversation,” as well as many of his familiar hits.

Get ready for a Jazz Attack on September 12 when Rick Braun, Peter White and Euge Groove team up for an exciting concert.

Rick Braun has gone from touring and recording with such noted names as Rod Stewart, Sade and Tina Turner to his own solo projects with Braun playing both trumpet and flugelhorn. His recordings have consistently ranked in the top 10 of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart (“Kisses in the Rain” topped the charts for 11 weeks).

Peter White has garnered a well-deserved reputation as a versatile acoustic guitarist who combines jazz, pop and classical music to create a sound that is all his own.

Steven Eugene Grove (better known as Euge Groove) is a dynamic saxophone player who has played with everyone from Elton John to Joe Cocker. He launched his solo career in 2000 and has had a string of hit albums.

It’s time for Summer Horns on Sept. 19 when Dave Koz and friends take the stage. Who are his friends? How about fellow sax players Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot!

Last summer, the fabulous foursome recorded an album entitled “Dave Koz and Friends Summer Horns,” featuring jazz arrangements of classic songs from the 60s and 70s that was nominated for a Grammy Award. They toured in support of the album, and had so much fun that they’re on tour again this summer.

“The Hyatt amphitheater is the perfect setting for this show,” said Koz during a recent phone interview. “The music from the album is a typical soundtrack of summer. I grew up listening to these songs—they made me want to be a musician. I love the sound of horns, and the idea was always in the back of my mind always to do a project like this. The first three people I called were my buddies, and it turned out this was the music that influenced them too. We went in the studio and had the time of our lives. After we toured last year, we had such a blast that we decided to do it one more time.”

Closing the month on jazz concerts on September 26 is the multiple Grammy-winning recording artist Natalie Cole, who was just 8 years old when her father, the legendary Nat King Cole, recorded his first album.

Now, more than five decades later, Natalie Cole has become a legend in her own right, starting with the hit “This Will Be” and continuing with the haunting duet she sings with her father, “Unforgettable.” Her latest album, “Natalie Cole En Español,” features a dozen orchestrated songs from the Latin American Songbook.

For ticket information on any of these shows, visit www.series.hyattconcerts.com.

Written by Christopher Trela

For more articles on dining out in Newport Beach, see the Off the Menu column in the Newport Beach Independent at NewportBeachIndy.com

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