Entertainment | Music

Jazz as standard

The faces behind the Emirates Airlines Dubai Jazz Festival open up

  • By Kelly Crane, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 06:50 February 14, 2013
  • Tabloid

  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Marc Antoine
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Meet the men and women who are ready and waiting to start Rocking the City, jazz style, from this weekend.

A trumpet player who appeared alongside Whitney Houston; composer of the CNN theme tune; Janet Jackson’s keyboard player and one who’s up for a Grammy, it doesn’t get much better than this.

A total of 18 jazz acts are sandwiched between four rock bands at this year’s Emirates Airlines Dubai Jazz Festival, which begins today with a headline set from OneRepublic.

Along with Deep Purple, 3 Doors Down and The Script, the jazz acts including Darren Rahn, jLee, All-Star Smooth Jazz and the Yellowjackets tell us are they just as ready to entertain.

The 11th edition of the annual event, which ends on February 22 at the Dubai Festival Park, sees saxophonist, flautist and composer Gary Honor and Armenian-influenced Guy Manoukin warm up for OneRepublic, followed by keyboard player Nicholas Cole and the lively Chuck Loeb opening up for American rockers 3 Doors Down on Friday.

The OSN Jazz Garden, which is free to attend for those who have registered, takes place from February 16-20, before Deep Purple and The Script bring things to a close on February 21 and 22.

Meet the jazz artists:

 

Sax Gordon — Saturday, February 16, 9.30-10.30pm.

Q: Your music in one sentence?

A: The most fun you can have with your clothes on.

Q: Why should we watch?

A: It’s gonna be the best show in town.

Q: Jazz music has the power to?

A: ...change your mind. Forget about that smooth jazz, we’re on the blues stage. Get ready for a wild-funky-rockin-good-time.

Q: What’s your claim to fame?

A: Nobody sounds like me and, I work for myself so I don’t have to answer to anybody. I get to play the music I wanna play, the way I wanna play it.

 

Toni Lynn Washington — Monday, February 18, 9.30-10.30pm.

Q: Your music in one sentence?

A: My music consists of both jazz and blues with a variety of grooves that make the show exciting.

Q: Why should we watch?

A: We have a combination of talented musicians in the band accompanying the frontline performers. You will really enjoy the show.

Q: Jazz music has the power to?

A: ... reach into our inner mind-set and according to the lyrics, leave us with the feeling of joy or sadness.

Q: What’s your claim to fame?

A: I have seen many musical eras such as the big band swing, rhythm and blues, jazz, blues, rock and roll, popular, the list goes on. I truly hope my audience will appreciate and enjoy what I have to offer.

 

Brian Simpson — Wednesday, February 20, 8-9pm.

Q: Your music in one sentence?

A: Romantic, funky and soulful instrumental jazz piano music.

Q: Why should we watch?

A: The piano can be a difficult instrument to make exciting at a big jazz festival, mainly because you have to sit down to play it. I however, in addition to a traditional keyboard, use a remote keyboard that allows me to move around the stage and engage the audience as much as a guitarist or saxophonist. My goal is to bring the excitement of great jazz musicians interacting as close to the audience as possible.

Q: Jazz music has the power to?

A: … take any listener on a journey.

Q: What’s your claim to fame?

A: As a touring musician I’ve played with a wide variety of artists from Janet Jackson to bassist Stanley Clarke.

 

 

Chuck Loeb — Friday February 15, 8.45-10pm.

Q: Your music in one sentence?

A: A fusion of all the myriad influences of music that have touched my heart and filled me with love since I was 11 years old.

Q: Why should we watch?

A: My hope is we can share the magic that happens when the vibrations of music leaving the stage reach the imagination of the listeners.

Q: Jazz music has the power to?

A: ... unite people from every corner of the world with rhythm, melody and harmony.

Q: Your claim to fame?

A: I am the composer of one of the most-heard news themes in the world — the main CNN theme. I was nominated for a Grammy this year for Best Instrumental Composition, for a song called December Dream [the award went to Mozart Goes Dancing by Chick Corea].

 

Darren Rahn — Thursday, February 21, 7.30-8.30pm.

Q: Describe your music in one sentence?

A: A culmination of my life experiences and a wide variety of musical influences.

Q: Why should we watch? It’s gonna be a whole lot of fun and the band and I will make sure the listener leaves with a night of music to remember.

Q: Jazz music has the power to?

A: … to tell a story without words and to touch the heart on a unique and powerful level.

Q: Your claim to fame?

A: Many No 1 Billboard hits as a writer, most notably, Wayman Tisdale’s smash hit “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” — that song launched my career.

 

 

Gary Honor — Thursday, February 14, 7.30-8.30pm.

Q: Your music in one sentence?

A: A fusion of electric funk and jazz with an ample share of improvisation and a twist of smooth.

Q: Why should we watch?

A: The music never sounds exactly the same twice.

Q: Jazz music has the power to?

A: ... bring joy, happiness and healing when nothing else seems to work.

Q: Your claim to fame? I‘ve shared the stage with artists as diverse as ‘80s Aussie rock icons Icehouse to a recent Pacific cruise with the great Chubby Checker.

 

jLee — Thursday, February 21, 8.45-10pm.

Q: Your music in one sentence?

A: A unique refreshing blend of soul/blues/jazz sure to be enjoyed by people of all ages and musical interests.

Q: Why should we watch?

A: Every note I play on my guitar and every song I sing comes directly from the heart. Passion is an incredible feeling.

Q: Jazz music has the power to?

A: … make people smile from the inside out, causing them to shine.

Q: Your claim to fame?

A: I don’t have one yet [unless you’re talking about my famous cheesecake].

 

Lin Roundtree — Tuesday, February 19, 8-9pm.

Q: Your music in one sentence?

A: A uniquely, captivating, rhythmic, melodic and soothing experience for the soul.

Q: Why should we watch?

A: After seeing me play live for the first time, one of the most common remarks from my fans is they have rarely heard a musician perform his music with such fire and passion. If you want to be thoroughly entertained you should experience a Lin Rountree Show.

Q: Jazz music has the power to?

A: ... unite generations of music lovers and cut across racial divides by connecting people through harmony.

Q: Your claim to fame?

A: You mean after being asked to perform at the Dubai festival? I was cast as a trumpet player in the movie Sparkle starring the late Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks, and CeeLo Green; no training needed to play that role.

 

Marc Antoine — Sunday, February 17, 8-9pm.

Q: Your music in one sentence?

A: A mixture of jazz, classical and Latin music I call Mediterranean jazz.

Q: Why should we watch?

A: There is nothing like playing live music for me , it’s really the time to share your music and your personality with the audience.

Q: Jazz music has the power to?

A: ... provide communication and freedom.

Q: Your claim to fame?

A: I am thankful for the gift I was given and have never looked for fame or success. Music is a powerful healer, I am just the tool between the instrument and listener so I guess you can call me Doctor Antoine.

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