Jazztrax returns to Catalina with added precautions for safety
One of the trendiest entertainers in the world today has agreed to go unplugged for two nights during the upcoming 34th Annual Catalina Island Jazztrax Festival, organizer Art Good said this week.
“I am very happy to announce that Mindi Abair will be the featured performer of ‘Unplugged Under the Stars’ event at Descanso Beach on both Thursdays during the two-weekend festival,” he said.
The festival will bring top Jazz talent such as Larry Carlton, Tom Scott, Vincent Ingala, Jeffrey Osborne, Najee, Rick Braun, Peter White and many more to the island for two weekends in October; from Oct. 14-17 and from Oct. 21-24.
While the main stage events are held in the Casino, the “Unplugged” event is held in a relaxed atmosphere on the sand at Descanso Beach to open each weekend of the festival.
Abair was already scheduled for the “Unplugged” event Oct. 14, said Good, which is sold out.
And, following a cancellation by fusion guitarist Marc Antoine due to sickness, he said Abair will step back onto the sand for the Oct. 21 performance of “Unplugged” as well.
“Mindi is an amazing musician and we are very fortunate to have her make two appearances during the Jazztrax Festival,” said Good.
“It couldn’t get any better,” he said, noting it has been five years since Abair has appeared in Catalina.
Good said he first invited Abair to appear on the Jazztrax stage in 1994 after he discovered her talent playing in a La Jolla jazz club in 1991.
Abair has found a unique way to fuse the sounds of jazz and rock. Her first radio single, “Lucy’s,” spent nearly three months atop the Billboard Smooth Jazz charts and she’s enjoyed numerous Billboard rankings with other albums and singles.
“For some people,” Abair has said, “their Zen includes fresh fruit, heated spas and all that kind of thing. For me, it’s loud guitars.”
Abair’s amazing ability with the sax is compounded by her unique style of singing.
Abair has leveraged her unique talents to enjoy a widely diversified career.
She has been a part of the orchestra on American Idol, sat in with David Letterman, appeared with Aerosmith, the Back Street Boys, and been a part of Dave Coz’ Killer Horns tour, among many other credits, said Good.
Also, he said, Abair is expected to grace the cover of Smooth Jazz Magazine in October and she remains affiliated with The Recording Academy (Grammy’s).
Keyboardist Lisa Addeo will open for Abair on Oct. 14 and Fatburger guitarist Evan Marks will open for her on Oct. 21, he added.
Having Abair appear twice is a real treat, said Good.
In an interview, Good said that because of the pandemic, it’s been “extraordinarily difficult” to get the 34-year-old festival back on track.
Nevertheless, Good said faithful fans of the Jazztrax Festival are very excited about the upcoming event and they are apparently, “very eager to come back.”
Good said he’s already sold more tickets in 2021 than they did during the 2019 festival.
In addition, Good said he will enforce rules that require proof of vaccination to enter the Casino and other events.
“I have been very clear about safety from the beginning,” said Good, noting that the Los Angeles County health guidelines that govern safety requirements for such events will be enforced. After announcing the vaccination requirement to his massive base of fans, Good said the reaction has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
“For sure, there have been a handful of cancellations,” he said, “but by far, people are very supportive of the effort to keep them safe.”
In fact, Good said some fans have written back to him asking him to ensure that all of the performers, service and support staff are also vaccinated.
“I am absolutely trying to do that as well,” he said.
Good said he has been sending detailed email updates to ticket holders to make sure they are aware proof of vaccinations will be required.
Getting Jazztrax back on stage is more than personal for Good. He has staged the Catalina Island Jazztrax Festival since the 1980’s and remains thrilled about putting on the big show inside the iconic Casino built by William Wrigley Jr. in 1929. “Stepping into the [Catalina Island] Casino is one of the few ways people can step back in time,” said Good.
“I do this event because I love to see the happiness the music brings,” he added.
In years past, Good said he has a special table at which he sits during the performances where, if he looks one way, he can see the blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean, and when he turns around, he can see smiling faces of people attending the Jazztrax Festival.
“There is just something special about all of these people coming together to enjoy themselves in this famous building on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific,” said Good.
“It makes me happy to see them,” he said. “It’s an incredible feeling and makes it all worth it.”
More information is available at jazztrax.com.