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September 2, 2015    6:30 pm to 11:30 pm
Smooth Jazz Cruise Presents Freddie Jackson!

Smooth Jazz Cruise 2015!

Wednesday, September 2nd catch soul and R&B sensation Freddie Jackson for the final Smooth Cruise of the summer season on the stunning Hornblower Infinity as you cruise Hudson and take in the sights of New York Harbor.
One of the biggest R&B stars in the 1980s and early 1990s, Grammy-nominated singer Freddie Jackson dominated the R&B charts with well-known hits including “Rock Me Tonight (For Old Time’s Sake),” “Jam Tonight,” “Do Me Again,” and “You are My Lady.”

His 1985 debut album Rock Me Tonight stormed the R&B charts. The Laurence-penned title track stormed the R&B charts, spending six weeks at number one, and made Jackson an instant sensation on urban contemporary radio. “You Are My Lady” gave Freddie a second straight R&B chart-topper, and also proved to be his highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #13. With “He’ll Never Love You (Like I Do)” and “Love Is Just a Touch Away” also hitting the R&B Top Ten, Rock Me Tonight topped the R&B album chart and went platinum. Another platinum seller, Just Like the First Time continued Jackson’s dominance of the R&B singles charts; “Tasty Love,” “Have You Ever Loved Somebody,” and “Jam Tonight” all hit #1, while “I Don’t Want to Lose Your Love” went to #2.
In 1985 he received Grammy nominations for Best New Arts and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for “You are My Lady.” He was nominated for an American Music Award for Favorite Male Artist, Soul/R&B in 1986 and won the 1988 American Music Award for Favorite Soul / R&B Single for “Nice ‘N’ Slow.”

Freddie continues to deliver sophisticated, romantic ballads with low-key releases including Live in Concert and soulful covers on Personal Reflections. His late 2010 release, For You, featured the single, “I Don’t Wanna Go”.

The Smooth Cruises are Back for Summer 2015!
Join us WEDNESDAY EVENINGS aboard the fabulous Hornblower Infinity, departing from Pier 40 at Houston Street @ the Hudson River/West Side Highway (North side of pier).
Enjoy a superb night out on the Hudson cruising in style aboard the Hornblower Infinity, a spectacular 210 foot yacht, as you enjoy the world’s finest contemporary jazz acts in a truly unique, one-of-a-kind setting!

SHOW TIMES: Cruises promptly depart at 6:30pm and 9:30pm.

Tickets are ONLY available online or by phone. There are no advance ticket sales or pick ups at Hornblower’s offices.
If available, Limited Tickets will be sold on site at our event table on the evening of the show for that night’s show after 4:30pm.
NOTE: Deluxe Ticket sales (if still available) end at 3pm on the day of the show and are NOT available at the dock.

June 24: Boney James
July 15: Norman Brown & Marion Meadows
July 22: Peter White & Richard Elliot
July 29: Gerald Albright & Mindi Abair
Aug 5: Dave Koz & Rick Braun with Special Guest Kenny Lattimore
Aug 12: Jonathan Butler & Alex Bugnon
Aug 19: Najee
Aug 26: Rachelle Ferrell
Sept 2: Freddie Jackson

The Hornblower Infinity departs from Pier 40, located at Houston Street @ the West Side Highway. (Take 1 train to Houston St. or M8 or M21 bus)
Cruises sail rain or shine. No refunds or exchanges.
Note: The Hornblower Infinity is handicapped accessible.

- Buffet Dinner may be purchased for an additional $30 in advance or at venue.
- Cash Bar available.
- Limited Number of Deluxe Packages include: separate boarding line, a Premium Buffet on a private dining deck, premium open bar, and reserved seating section. (Please see individual show pages for pricing)

About the Boat:
The Hornblower Infinity matches the uniqueness of New York — and the Smooth Cruises! The open bow, covered sky deck and over-sized windows provide endless opportunities to enjoy the countless sites in NY Harbor as guests kick back with the best jazz artists in the business. Guests will enjoy the world’s finest contemporary jazz on climate controlled interior decks with multiple dance floors, and can take in the sights outdoors on spacious exterior sundecks. (The yacht is handicapped accessible.)

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September 13, 2015    2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Richard Elliot at Raphael Vineyards!

Jazz On The Island presents Richard Elliot at Raphael Vineyards!

Richard Elliot

Saxophonist Richard Elliot has arrived at a very special anniversary for blowing audiences away with his soulfully robust playing. 2014 marks 30 years since the release of his debut solo album, Initial Approach (ITI – 1984), on which he stepped out showcasing his tenor sax, soprano sax, Lyricon and writing skills. What does a red-blooded Scottish sax man raised in Los Angeles – now with a wife and five children – do for a 30-year encore? Well, this one-time member of the classic soul band Tower of Power proves he’s “not a young man” and drops the most overtly sensual, romantic and intimate album of his career in collaboration with contemporary jazz production/guitar giant Paul Brown. The title of this 17th solo project is Lip Service (the artist’s first for Heads Up/Concord Music Group).

The 10-song Lip Service features seven all new original compositions with teasing titles such as “Sookie Sookie” and “All the Way,” as well as three choice covers of soul and pop hits from the ’80s (“Shining Star” by The Manhattans), the ’90s (“Anytime” by Brian McKnight) and today (“When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars).

“It’s not a radical departure,” Elliot says with a chuckle, “just a softer edge. The intensity is still there, just channeled in a different way. I’ve been madly in love with my wife Camella for 20 years (courtship and marriage combined). Romance has always been an important part of our relationship. With five children, there’s never a dull moment in our home but we always take time away for us…something we never had to work at. It just gets better every year - and that’s not Lip Service!”

Two-time GRAMMY Award-winning record producer Paul Brown also influenced the dim lights/rising passion direction of Lip Service. “I have to give credit for the seed of that concept to Paul,” Elliot admits. “The first time I ever worked with him on a full project was for my album Jumpin’ Off (Metro Blue – 1997). Prior to that, I was a guest on records he produced by Peter White and others. We maintained a great relationship. Recently we got reacquainted on Dave Koz’s Summer Horns. Toward the end of recording when he found out I was about to start on my next record, Paul threw out the idea of me doing something more romantic. Everything that I do has to apply on a personal level or else I can’t feel connected. So I thought about it, decided this concept worked perfect for me and we had a great time.”

“My records tend to be potluck things,” Elliot continues, “constantly shifting in terms of feel: some hard things, then some soft. Not to say that I haven’t used concepts. Metro Blue (2005) was a Euro-Funk thing. Rock Steady (2009) was a tribute to my influences growing up, which was all about R&B music. Lip Service is a different deal. We definitely slowed it down a bit.”

A Southern Californian to the core, Elliot commuted on L.A.’s notoriously choked 405 Freeway to get this job done. “I feel naked if I don’t have my car. I do a lot of creative thinking when I’m driving – gathering thoughts in terms of direction. I live in San Diego so I would make the pilgrimage to work in Paul’s studio – braving the traffic, chilling for a minute then jumping into it. We’d have ‘song starts’ from folks like Jeff Carruthers, then I would put melodies to them using Paul as that all-important sounding board. Together we were literally writing melodies while we were recording.” Another standout is the evening driver “City Lights,” which was brought in by New York-based keyboardist Bob Baldwin. “I’ve known Bob for years and love his music,” Elliot states. “This one had such a nice vibe and is a departure from the rest of the record. It’s got a romantic, night time feel but reminiscent of classic contemporary jazz stuff. It felt really good.”

One point Elliot hopes to get across is that an album soaking in an aura of romance doesn’t have to be solely about sex. “We didn’t want everything sounding like a hot and heavy Minor 7th vibe. Playfulness is good, too. ‘Sweet Spot’ (a warm wave of guitars and sax intoxication) and ‘Givin’ it Up’ (a gentle rock steady groove) have that aspect.” The opening number “Desire” laid the blueprint for what Elliot and Brown sought to capture. “That song morphed through a bunch of iterations. It set the tone of the record with a Latin feel. When you’re searching for a sound, there’s a tendency to throw a lot of stuff at a song from a production standpoint. Instead, we pulled stuff out of ‘Desire.’ Minimalist from an arranging standpoint, the more air and space there was created a better canvas for my saxophone.”

The cover songs are all inspired choices, each challenging in their own way. The Manhattans’ “Shining Star,” which Richard suggested, is given a bluesy feel with a horn arrangement by Tower of Power veteran Greg Adams. Brian McKnight’s “Anytime,” closing the album in lovingly layered afterglow, was suggested by Brown, arranged by keyboardist Tracy Carter and temporarily intimidated Elliot. “I thought to myself, ‘Best not to overanalyze.’ We got the arrangement together, cut the rhythm section then I had a glass of wine, took a deep breath and dived in.”

Poetically, the remaining cover of Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” was suggested by Elliot’s wife. “Camella said, ‘You have to listen to this!’ I’ve loved that guy since he started. His roots clearly come from Soul music and bands like I was, and he’s worked hard for years to get to where he is now. So, naturally, I feel an affinity with him. I was already familiar with the song and Camella’s got a really good intuition for songs like that. She reminded me that I recorded ‘Over the Rainbow’ with just sax and piano (from On the Town – 1991) and it was one of the biggest songs on the album. I ended up using acoustic piano with just a bit of B3 organ (both played by Lew Laing). Then I went through a bunch of versions of my performance ’til we got something straddling the fence between sensitive and having some intensity.”

Slow burning intensity has been Richard Elliot’s stock-in-trade since debuting as a member of the novel Chapman Stick-based quartet Kittyhawk in 1979 at the age of 19. With influences ranging from Grover Washington, Jr. to John Klemmer, his broad range of saxual expression knows no bounds. He has topped charts and toured the world as a leader as well as with the innovative groups Guitars & Saxes and Summer Horns (Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Dave Koz), the latter of whom he’ll be on the road with all summer 2014 (debuting a selection or two from Lip Service) before continuing on with his own shows in the fall. It’s the unabashed excitement from concert fans that drives him to this day.

Looking back on the 16 solo projects that led to Lip Service, Elliot concludes, “I’ve never counted my albums. I tend to do a record every year-and-a half or two. It just goes by so quickly. I still love what I do. Recording is a fun yet arduous process… but I never get tired of playing live. I always say I play my concerts for free and get paid for everything else I have to do the other 23 hours of the day! It’s a privilege to play music for a living…and I never take a gig for granted.”

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