Let's Talk About Sax Baby...

For those of you who know me, you know how much I LOVE the sound of the saxophone. So, this week we're going to pay a little respect to those who play that sexy sound.

Where would jazz (or music in general for that matter) be without the seductive, passionate saxophone?

Created by Adolphe Sax in 1841, the saxophone was originally considered to be the sound of the devil and was not generally respected and/or accepted in the horn instrument family. Sax's original prototype was even stolen to keep the saxophone from being played in public and from being mass produced.

Clearly, the saxophone overcame its hexed beliefs and is now one of the most essential instruments of jazz music. The sax can produce a wide variety of sounds and tones that make jazz a truly passionate art form. And thanks to the saxophone, jazz music has some truly remarkable musicians (past and present) that really know how to play the sax!

Here are just a few of my favorite saxophonists. Of course, my list is way too long for one entry, so I will write and/or give an example of many more throughout the week. Enjoy!

Charlie Parker - The Classic

Coleman Hawkins - The Original

Lester Young - The Hipster

Sonny Rollins - The Perfectionist

More to come!

Takin' Five...

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Opening The Vault

Last night I made a fabulous discovery.

The newest Friday night jazz spot in Orange County is definitely the ever alluring Vault V.I.P. Lounge at the OC Pavilion. Once the vault to a large bank chain, the Vault has been transformed into a top quality jazz nightclub featuring today's locally acclaimed jazz musicians. The five star atmosphere offers a plush, romantic vibe throughout the club. A fully stocked vintage style bar gives the Vault an old Hollywood vibe while jazz photos, posters, and leather seating provide for a rich and relaxing lounge environment.

The Vault V.I.P.


The OC Pavilion

Fridays 8 p.m.

$10 cover charge with a one drink minimum

Free entrance is also offered for those who dine at the Ambrosia Restaurant just above. The Vault V.I.P. Lounge looks to have a great atmosphere for entertaining any jazz fan! Whether you're an old swing cat or a fresh, cool jazz rookie, the Vault V.I.P. Lounge is the place for great music, drinks, and entertainment.

Sit, relax, and listen to some of OC's very own jazz musicians and bands in a unique, classy jazz atmosphere.

Have a drink at the Vault's vintage style bar featuring top-shelf, world-class liqour and beers.

For more on the Vault V.I.P. Lounge, jazz shows and times, and info on the OC Pavilion, please visit www.ocpavilion.com/The_Vault.html.

Love for Lady Jazz

It's time to show the ladies of jazz some love! Here's a video I put together of some more great women jazz icons.

Nina Simone - Singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist, Nina Simone covered a variety of eclectic styles in work: classical, jazz, blues, soul, funk, R&B, gospel, and pop. Her passionate vocal presence and definite emotional expression earned her the nickname "The High Priestess of Soul." Simone is most associated with her work addressing many of the civil rights struggles of her time. "Mississippi Goddam" was one of Simone's most highly controversial songs dealing with racism and segregation of her people... a jazz music classic.

Etta James - Etta James is an American blues, soul, R&B, rock & roll, gospel, and jazz singer/songwriter. She's considered to be one of the most overlooked jazz and blues artist. James is a winner of 4 Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards. Her most famed piece of work is "At Last," which has been remade by countless artists throughout music history, and featured in movies, commercials, television shows, and web streaming services across the globe.

Peggy Lee - Jazz singer, songwriter, composer, and actress Peggy Lee whose career spanning almost 7 decades. Lee's innovative style and sensual lyrics have touched the souls of millions throughout the music world. She became internationally known with her signature song, "Fever," a classic that has been covered by numerous artists and groups throughout jazz. With 12 Grammy nominations, for one of which she won for Best Contemporary Vocal Performance in 1969 for her hit "Is That All There Is?" and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995, Peggy Lee is one of most recognizable female voices in jazz.

Keely Smith - Keely Smith was probably best known for her many collaborations with Louis Prima. She played the straight laced manikin role that complimented Prima's wild and crazy antics. She and Prima earned the first ever Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group or Chorus for "That Ol' Black Magic." Her cold, disinterested act was a hit with crowds throughout showbiz. After leaving Prima's act, Smith went on to sing on numerous movie soundtracks, signed her own record deal where she had her own Top 20 hits in the UK. She went on to marry record producer, Jimmy Bowen, and retired from music to raise a family. In 1985, she made a comeback to which she earned a Grammy nomination for her album covering Sinatra's work.

Dinah Washington - Dinah Washington was a jazz, blues, and R&B singer. In 1986, Washington was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. She was very known for singing "torch songs," or sentimental love songs, which made her a smooth voice in jazz ballads. "What A Difference A Day Makes" (for which she won a Grammy for) launched Washington into pop music stardom in 1959, while "Unforgettable" gave her a pop gold status. Sadly and unfortunately, a unintentional but lethal combination of alcohol and pills tragically killed Dinah Washington in 1963. She was only 39.