All About The 2011 Oasis Contemporary Jazz Awards Weekend

Posted: August 8, 2010 in Awards, Concerts, Smooth Jazz
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An all-star line-up of contemporary jazz artists will take San Diego’s Balboa Theater stage to launch the 2011 Oasis Contemporary Jazz Awards Weekend on Thursday, March 10, 2011.

The theme of the Opening Night concert will be “Night of Tribute” with musical respect paid to saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. and bassist Wayman Tisdale. Event co-producer Chris White has announced Gerald Albright, Jonathan Butler, Jeff Golub, Tom Scott, Gerald Veasley, and others will perform. Jason Miles will produce and lead the Washington tribute set and Tom Braxton will lead and arrange the tribute to Tisdale.

Jason Miles has received world wide recognition for his innovative projects which have included two tributes to Grover Washington Jr. He recently played a fourteen show stand at The Tokyo and Nagoya Blue Notes featuring the music of the late saxophonist. Miles is also the producer and executive producer of “Grover LIVE”, a just released CD recorded by Washington at an upstate New York performance in 1997. Washington died December 17, 1999, after suffering a heart attack in the Green Room of CBS Studios in New York City. He had just taped four songs for The Saturday Early Show.

Washington is considered one of the founders of the Urban/Contemporary jazz genre, having made some of the genre’s most memorable hits, including “Mr. Magic”, “Black Frost”, and the Grammy winning “Just the Two of Us”. He is also remembered for his take on the Dave Brubeck classic “Take Five”, and for his version of Young-Holt Unlimited’s “Soulful Strut”.

I am thrilled and honored to be a part of this event”, said Miles. “What better way to start off The Oasis Contemporary Jazz Awards weekend than with a concert that will honor Grover, a beloved artist who was truly one of the originators of the genre.

The San Diego audience will hear that Grover’s music sounds every bit as fresh and innovative as the day we first heard Inner City Blues. Put this together with another set that will honor the memory and music of Wayman Tisdale, a man and musician whose great spirit touched everyone who he met, and I believe you will witness a great and historic night of music”, Miles added.

Tom Braxton came into jazz via the fusion route and has written and performed songs all across the jazz spectrum. In addition to his solo career, Braxton led the late Wayman Tisdale’s band for many years, having played with Wayman on his first performance and on his final concert, as well as many shows in between, including the legendary cruises Tisdale hosted.
Wayman Tisdale was a three-time All-American basketball player at the University of Oklahoma, a US Olympian and a 12-year NBA veteran before he returned to his first love – music. He then launched his highly successful second career as a jazz musician playing an iconic upside down bass to make it left-handed. Tisdale was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and lost his battle with the disease on May 15, 2009. He performed right up to the final month of his life. During his career, he released eight CDs. His ninth, recorded just before his death, will be released in September by Mack Avenue Records on the Rendezvous label.

“Since Wayman’s death it has been a dream of mine to produce a tribute to him. I am so thankful for the opportunity to re-assemble Wayman’s touring band and some of the greatest smooth jazz stars on the planet for this special night at the Oasis Awards”, said Braxton. “It is going to truly be a night to remember!”
Braxton’s latest CD, Endless Highway, is on the San Diego based Pacific Coast Jazz label.
Opening Day will begin with a series of clinics and workshops covering various aspects of the jazz world. Event producers turned to veteran guitarist Ken Navarro to suggest a curriculum of clinics that go beyond music lessons to include writing, recording, producing, publishing and distributing music.

Ken Navarro’s career began in Los Angeles, where he quickly established himself as a noted performer and a premier session guitarist and composer.

In 1990, Ken established his own musical identity with the release of his debut album, The River Flows, and immediately drew national attention. He earned Grammy consideration with just his second project, the 1991 After Dark and his next three CD,s, The Labor of Love (1992), I Can’t Complain (1993), and Pride and Joy (1994), all reached the top 5. Ken has been an industry leader ever since.
Navarro recently released his 19th CD, Dreaming of Trains. His previous release, The Grace of Summer Light, was named the #1 Contemporary Jazz CD of 2008 by Jazz Times magazine.
Besides his own projects, Navarro has established himself as a successful producer and record company executive. Ken has produced albums for saxophonists Eric Darius and Randy Villars, pianist Jay Rowe and others. As founder of Positive Music Records, Ken has played a major role in the recording careers of saxophonist Brandon Fields, guitarists Grant Geissman, Thom Rotella and Pat Kelley, and keyboardists Gregg Karukas, Jay Rowe and Marcus Johnson.

“I immediately called Ken when we started planning the opening day clinics. Very few artists have the breadth and depth of both musical style and industry experience that Ken does”, said event co-producer Bill Paddock. Navarro will also be performing a composition from his new CD “Dreaming of Trains” in Saturday night’s Award Ceremony show.

Oasis Contemporary Jazz Awards Marketing Manager, Larry Seacat, announced that Southern California businesses which have helped establish San Diego as a premier Contemporary Jazz market will be recognized on opening day. The Clinics and the Kick-Off Cocktail Party will be held at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, host hotel for the Oasis Awards Weekend.
The Oasis Contemporary Jazz Awards will be presented on Saturday, March 12, as part of a show at the San Diego Civic Center. Other activities of the Oasis Awards Weekend will be announced shortly. VIP Tickets which include Night of Tribute concert, a special Friday night show, Preferred Seating at the Oasis Contemporary Jazz Awards show, and more, will go on sale August 15 online at www.OasisContemporaryJazzAwards.com.

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