JazzTrax Festival returns to Catalina

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JazzTrax photos courtesy of PatBenderPhotography.com. Legendary smooth jazz promoter Art Good brings the JaxxTrax Festival back to the Avalon Casino on Catalina Island in October.

After skipping a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the internationally recognized Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival returns to the Avalon Casino stage in October, according to its founder Art Good.

“We are all very happy to be returning to that beautiful Casino ballroom overlooking the Pacific,” said Good this week.

Originally founded in 1987, the Catalina JazzTrax Festival has become a fall sojourn for thousands of contemporary jazz fans. With onlywith the exception of 2020, fans have traveled to Catalina each year for the past 34 years hoping to hear performances from contemporary jazz artists.

Over the years, said Good, longtime JazzTrax fans have come to expect to hear a mix of top jazz artists along with newer, so-called breakout stars.

“This year is no exception,” said Good, noting that Tom Scott and the L.A. Express “returns to JazzTrax for the first time in 30 years.” Also, he said, famous Los Angeles session guitarist Larry Carlton will appear to reprise his days with Steely Dan and the Crusaders on the Casino stage.

“We have an exceptional lineup of amazing artists this year,” he said.

Good said he was excited to see Scott return to the Casino stage after three decades away. On his popular weekly jazz radio show, Good recounted how Scott “slipped away from the contemporary jazz scene” in the 80’s and 90’s as his exceptional music ability brought him a variety of career opportunities.

“He was following in the footsteps of his famous father, Nathan,” said Good. “Scott’s father Nathan had more than 850 television music credits and more than 100 film credits,” said Good.

And, like his father Nathan, Good said Tom Scott in the 80’s and 90’s wrote musical scores for famous films like Taxi Driver and many others, and as well wrote theme songs for TV shows like Streets of San Francisco, Starsky and Hutch and more.

“The list goes on and on,” he said.

In addition, Scott, a saxophonist, has played with many musical superstars throughout the industry, said Good, from Paul McCartney to the late Michael Jackson.

“I’m really excited that Tom Scott and the L.A. Express will be in Catalina for JazzTrax this year,” he said.

Artists appearing on the festival’s opening weekend, from Oct. 14-17, according to the JazzTrax website, includes keyboardist Lisa Addeo, saxophonist/singer Mindi Abair, keyboardist Nicholas Cole, guitarist Steve Oliver, saxophonist Gerald Albright, keyboardist Gregg Karukas, singer Jeffrey Osborne, flutist Kim Scott, the legendary group Spyro Gyra, Roman Street, and trumpeter Rick Braun.

On Friday, Oct. 22, the popular feature event, “Sax to the Max” at Descanso Beach returns, featuring a trio of spectacular saxophonists: Paul Taylor, Michael Lington and Vincent Ingala, according to the site.

Finally, the festival’s closing weekend (Oct. 21-24) will feature Fattburger guitarist Evan Marks, Classical guitarist Marc Antoine, Toronto’s Four 80 East, Harpist Mariea Antoinette, keyboardist Kayla Waters and Saxophonist Kim Waters (father and daughter), Randall Clark, a debut saxophonist from Salt Lake City, Larry Carlton (previously mentioned), Keyboardist Carol Albert, legendary saxophonist NAJEE, and guitarist Adam Hawley.

The JazzTrax closing act includes world famous guitarist Peter White, appearing with saxophonist Euge Groove Together.

Good said he is excited to see the Catalina Island annual JazzTrax Festival return to Avalon, noting the difficulties in organizing the event in a post COVID environment.

To keep festival goers safe, he added, there will be a vaccination requirement in place for the event.

It appears as though festival goers are excited to return, said Good, noting that pre-sales of JazzTrax tickets are already running ahead of the total sales for 2019.

“We have a surge in tickets purchased this year,” said Good, adding that logistics arrangements are in place with the Catalina Express for late boats to ferry fans back to the mainland. Also, he said all necessary arrangements have been made with Avalon hotels.

“You can see the entire lineup and other details at JazzTrax.com,” said Good.

JazzTrax Festival returns to Catalina