Koz returns for 35th Annual JazzTrax

Courtesy Photo Jazz superstar Dave Koz.

Promoter Art Good says ticket sales never so good

After a post pandemic reboot in 2021, the long-running JazzTrax festival is back on the calendar for 2022, this time with a roaring appetite from fans who apparently are looking to be entertained and smooth jazz superstar Dave Koz already on the bill.

“I don’t ever remember ticket sales being so good for so early, said Art Good, the founder and promoter of the 35-year festival in an interview this week. “I’m not sure if it’s the pandemic or what, but people sure are looking to get out and be entertained,” he added.

Good said the 2022 festival will be staged in two long weekends in October. The festival’s opening weekend will be Oct. 13 -16, and the festival’s closing weekend will be Oct. 20 – 23.

“I’m really excited about having Dave Koz back in the festival,” said Good, noting that he went with the smooth jazz superstar on his annual jazz cruise this year. In Venice, Italy Good said he got the idea for this year’s theme, a boat made from a violin.

Accordingly, Good has booked violinist Damien Escobar to close out the first weekend of the festival. “The violin is an amazing instrument,” said Good.

Finding ideas at musical venues around the world is what constantly breathes new life in a festival now closing in on four decades.

Good has always loved smooth jazz and finds talent in traditional places like on the Dave Koz tour, but other places as well. “I heard Mindi Abair (saxophonist) in a jazz club one night and thought to myself, I’ve got to meet her.”

He did and the rocketing sax player has been a major draw for the festival for many years. Abair is back this year, and, in fact, the Oct. 21 “Unplugged” performance on Descanso Beach will feature two female artists. Saxophonist Jessy J will open for Abair, and Good says the double female unplugged the performance is almost sold out.

Good also knows what he likes when he hears it.

“I’m paying extra for Norman Brown to bring in a horn section,” laughs Good, saying “Norman Brown is going to bring a horn section. I paid him extra to bring a horn section because I saw a video of him at the Seabreeze Jazz Festival in Florida with a horn section I said, ‘I gotta have Norman with horns.”

Each year, the JazzTrax festival is held on the top floor of the iconic Catalina Island Casino, which opened in 1929 after William Wrigley, Jr. personally guided its construction.

“It is an amazing place for artists to perform,” said Good, noting that he has a special table where he sits every year just absorbing the history, glamour, and elegance of the 93-year-old structure.

Like last year, this year’s JazzTrax will be a COVID-vaccinated-only event. Only COVID vaccinated fans will be allowed in, he said, noting that safety precautions are encouraged by his audience because they want to feel safe.

Good said local hotels are doing a great job of finding places for the more than 1300 guests each night for both four-day weekends of the 2022 festival. As usual, JazzTrax has worked out a special schedule with the Catalina Express to accommodate the surge and “day trippers,” who perhaps want to only attend the festival in various segments.

Here is the entire lineup for the 2022 festival, as Good says there are more additions coming:

Thursday, Oct. 13

Daniel Ho with Janna Xue, Peter White.

Friday, Oct. 14

The Peet Project (The Bad Boys of Budapest), Jazmin Ghent.

Sat., Oct. 15

Randal Clark w/Jeff Lorber, Lindsay Webster w/Adam Hawley, Chris Standring.

Sun., Oct. 16

Gino Rosaria, Richard Elliott, Christian de Mesones w/10-piece band, Damien Escobar.

Thursday, Oct. 20

Blake Aaron, Paul Jackson, Jr.

Fri., Oct. 21

Jessy J, Mindi Abair.

Sat., Oct. 22

Eric Darius, Greg Adams w/East Bay Band, Mark Jaimes, Dave Koz.

Sun., Oct. 23

Jeff Ryan, David Benoit w/Rendezvous Band, Justin Lee Shultz, Norman Brown w/horns.

Tickets are still available at www.tix.com.

Koz returns for 35th Annual JazzTrax