Ongoing Jazztrax Fest thrills

The first weekend of Catalina Island Jazztrax Festival, an annual music celebration that features the best musicians of smooth Jazz in the country at Santa Catalina Island, kicked off its October performances last weekend. Those who took to the stage last week included Peter White, Big Phat Band, Marcus Anderson, The Producers, Hiroshima, Jonathan Fritzen, Mindi Abair, Michael Lington, Ronny Jordan, Eric Darius, and Big Bad VooDoo Daddy. All were crowd pleasers.

The first weekend of Catalina Island Jazztrax Festival, an annual music celebration that features the best musicians of smooth Jazz in the country at Santa Catalina Island, kicked off its October performances last weekend. Those who took to the stage last week included Peter White, Big Phat Band, Marcus Anderson, The Producers, Hiroshima, Jonathan Fritzen, Mindi Abair, Michael Lington, Ronny Jordan, Eric Darius, and Big Bad VooDoo Daddy. All were crowd pleasers.

If you missed the first weekend of the festival, don’t panic, though. There are still two weekends of jazz and other pleasing sounds at the 25th rendition of the festival.

Jazztrax, which debuted in 1987 at Catalina, returns from Oct. 11-14, with performances by Chicago guitarist Nick Colionne, saxophonist Euge Groove, violinist Karen Briggs, saxophonist Jackiem Joyner, keyboardist Nicholas Cole, saxophonist Najee, Dotsero, instrumentalist Brian Culbertson, Canadian guitarist Rob Tardik, and saxophonist Michael Lington.

The festival takes place in the Avalon Ballroom, a historic building constructed 82 years ago, and will then return again during the weekend of Oct. 18-21, with performances by guitarist Peter White, Sax and the City, The Sax Pack Starring, Down to the Bone, keyboardist Brian O’Neal, Bona Fide featuring Slim Man, French Classical guitarist Marc Antoine, Legendary Keyboardist Booker T. Jones, trombonists Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue. With the economy still in a recession, Catalina merchants depend on Jazztrax to keep the local economy going through the month of October.

In all, 30 different jazz acts will have performed at the festival by the time it ends.

In 2011, the festival was voted as the best jazz festival in America, topping even the more famous Jazz Fest in New Orleans. It recently announced in a newsletter it currently owns the No. 2 spot.

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