We did it again! 88.5 KSBR, Smooth Jazz in South Orange County was host to the 2004 BASH at Mission San Juan Capistrano on Sunday, May 30th, 2004.
This was a special year, being the 25th Anniversary for KSBR at Saddleback College, and the Smooth Jazz Stars were out in full force.
The list of performers was quite impressive. Included this year were Bob James, Peter White, Eric Marienthal, Steve Ferrone, Marilyn Scott, Paul Brown, Gannin Arnold, Sara Gazarek, Dan Siegel, Paul Taylor, Brian Bromberg, Grady Nichols, Steve Reid, Steve Oliver, Gregg Karukas, Richard Smith, Max Bennett, Blake Aaron, Melvin Davis, Brian Hughes, Lamont Peoples, Greg Adams, Tony Guerrero, Evan Stone, Alex Ligertwood, Rob Whitlock, Tim Landers, Eddie Drayton, Jennifer York, Nathaniel Scott, Ramon Yslas, Michael Paulo, Freddie Ravel and of course, Greg Vail.
Each Jazz Artist brings their leading and performance talents to the stage for one feature song during the four hour event. This is strange for many of these guys because they are called upon to be ‘sidemen’ for all the other Stars for the duration of the night; playing a lead role for a few minutes and then backing up all the other music as needed.
I did an article on the 2003 BASH which touched on this unique situation we create each year at the Mission San Juan. It is always fun to see these guys step out of the comfort of their rehearsed, choreographed ‘Smooth’ shows, and take a step back toward JAZZ with all its spontaneity, deep musicality and creative interaction.
No rehearsals. No dance steps. No idea who your band will be. No added tracks to the live music. No long sound checks. No memorized, played to death Smooth Jive. No real control.
The men and women that accept this challenge bring a few copies of one of their songs, show up an hour or two early, receive a copy of the schedule with who they will be playing with when they Lead and Back other players, try to make whatever changes needed to cover the songs instrumentation they brought, and try to find the guys on the list for their song with a minute or two to let them know what to expect.
The magic is why you-all show up every year. Jazz is live music at its very deepest and best. Each year the magic takes place at the Mission San Juan and this year, the stars shined bright.
Highlights for me this year would include playing with Bob James for the first time. I have opened for Bob James but this was the first time I got to play with Bob James and it was very cool. Bob James is a Jazz Artist that I have loved and respected for years now. Bob’s CDs include a few of my very favorite players of all time; Kirk Whalum, David Sanborn and Alexander Zonjic. It was an honor to play with him and a real treat to get to talk with him. Thanks Bob James for sharing at our BASH ’04!!
Other cool stuff:
Hanging with Peter White again. I have not seen Peter White since last year’s BASH. Many know I played with Peter’s band for many years and there is a page up here with some pics and a story from when I left the Peter White Band to work on more of my own CDs.
Peter White is a great guy and I just dug seeing him again. He hung out with my son Ben-Jamin and our friend Shannon; they loved him too. Peter is a party animal and he did go the extra mile this year to bring his Smooth Jazz Show to the Mission San Juan.
Most of Peter White's band was at the 2004 BASH and Peter did the dance steps, audience walk with Saxman Michael Paulo and Party Smooth show stopper. It was a nice touch since it was so unexpected and pretty impossible to do without your band. People loved it!
There was a tour season that Peter White had Greg Vail and Freddie Ravel as the ‘front line.’ We had some really hot shows together. The KSBR BASH is notorious for bringing players together and this was really cool having Peter, Freddie and me hanging together for the first time in many years.
A Greg Note Here:
Life is all about relationships. People are what matters. What makes the KSBR BASH such an amazing event for me are the Jazz Artist interactions; relational histories (we share a lot of life on the road in a bus for 6 weeks together or in England, or…); creative personalities; how this all comes together as music is amazing.
Loooong time friend Tony Guerrero and I shared many moments on stage that night but the one I keep hearing about was Tony’s Dixie tune with the amazing Sara Gazarek on Vocals with Tony, Joey Sellers on Trombone (can you believe that?) and yours truly on clarinet. It was really fun and we even had Bob James on Piano. Dixie is not Smooth, but what a cool break in the Smooth stuff and great response from the crowd!
I worked with Steve Reid and after he left the Rippingtons and started Bamboo Forest - and Steve Oliver soon moved from the bay area to join Steve Reid’s group. Steve Oliver did a couple of years with Steve Reid before stepping into the lime light with his own solo career. I have not been with the two of them in ages and really enjoyed getting on stage with both Steve’s to do their big hit together and a song I toured to promote. I love the reunions!
This happens every year. I had not seen Lamont Peoples since he left the Rob Mullins Band a few years ago. There was Lamont Peoples and Melvin Davis, Bass Player with Rob Mullins during that same time. This was the first time since they left the band I had time with the 2 of them and really enjoyed it.
Paul Taylor, Michael Paulo, Eric Marienthal… All Awesome! What can you say? New to the KSBR Bash this year was Saxguy Grady Nichols. Thanks for making the flight out to hang with us. You sounded great and I hope you can join us again real soon.
Thanks to Tony Guerrero for getting the Musicians all together again this year!
A big congrats to KSBR on there 25th year on the air and thanks for keeping Jazz alive in Orange County!
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BASH 2004 included Bob James, Peter White, Eric Marienthal, Steve Ferrone, Marilyn Scott, Paul Brown, Gannin Arnold, Sara Gazarek, Dan Siegel, Paul Taylor, Brian Bromberg, Grady Nichols, Steve Reid, Steve Oliver, Gregg Karukas, Richard Smith, Max Bennett, Blake Aaron, Melvin Davis, Brian Hughes, Lamont Peoples, Greg Adams, Tony Guerrero, Evan Stone, Alex Ligertwood, Rob Whitlock, Tim Landers, Eddie Drayton, Jennifer York, Nathaniel Scott, Ramon Yslas, Michael Paulo, Freddie Ravel and of course, Greg Vail.
For Pictures of Greg Vail, Diane Schuur, Peter White, Paul Taylor, Michael Lington, Marion Meadows, Brian Bromberg, Grant Geissman, Slim Man, Greg Adams, Evan Stone, Scott Wilkie, Steve Reid, Gregg Karukas, Jennifer York, Ramon Yslas, Kevin Toney, Blake Aaron, Chris Standring, Amber Whitlock, Gannin Arnold, Richard Smith, Rob Whitlock, Tim Landers, Nathaniel Scott, Adam Watts, Eddie Drayton, Mombo Hernandez, Art Rodriguez and Tony Guerrero; go to www.bkrunner.com/KSBRBash2003