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From instrumental innovator to vocal sensation, George Benson is one of the true icons in the world of music and one of the greatest guitar players of our time. Creating more than 30 recordings as a leader, winning 10 Grammy Awards as well as becoming a NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) Jazz Master, George Benson has used his jazz roots as the foundation for an engaging mix of pop, R&B and other shades that add up to a style that appeals to a broad mainstream audience. Along the way, he has also established himself as a formidable singer – one whose biggest career hits have showcased his vocals as well as his guitar chops. Benson continues to astound and engage audiences taking his creative expression to new heights.
Weekend of Jazz founder and host Earl Klugh credits Benson as a mentor, and the catalyst to launching his recording career. Benson and Klugh recorded Collaboration together (1987) and remain lifelong friends.
Renowned and revered the world over as one of the greatest saxophone players of all-time, 6-Time GRAMMY®-winner David Sanborn is an artist whose music has inspired countless other musicians while creating a body of work that spans the genres of rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, pop and jazz. A naturally gifted performer, David has helped define the saxophone’s modern sound while influencing a generation. David has performed and/or recorded with artists including the Eagles, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Paul Simon and the Rolling Stones. During his career spanning over three-and-a-half decades, Sanborn has recorded 24 albums, including eight Gold records and a Platinum-selling recording. 2017 will mark Sanborn’s second Weekend of Jazz appearance in 14 years.
There’s no denying 2-Time Grammy Nominee Jonathan Butler has been blessed with a fascinating life. The South African native discovered a gift for music early in life and began singing and playing guitar at age seven. As a child, he traveled all over South Africa performing with a troupe of 100 children, getting a first hand look at the country’s disturbing dichotomy---devastating poverty and extreme affluence that existed under Apartheid. Butler signed his first record deal as a teen and won a Sarie Award, the South African equivalent of a Grammy. He has earned accolades in the R&B, contemporary jazz and gospel fields, and toured the world with such acclaimed artists as Kirk Whalum, Dave Koz and Ruby Turner. His latest release is titled Free.
Tenor saxophonist Richard Elliot has released more than 20 albums as a bandleader, and has also polished his chops serving as a sideman for a considerable list of diverse giants, including Motown hitmakers Smokey Robinson and the Temptations. He first came to prominence with the legendary Tower of Power during a five-year run, and was signed almost immediately after departing Tower of Power by Blue Note Records, where he worked with the legendary record executive Bruce Lundvall. One of Elliot’s favorite projects is the collaborative 2013 release Summer Horns, which found him teaming up with fellow sax-slingers Dave Koz, Gerald Albright and Mindi Abair—the album was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Album. His latest release is entitled Summer Madness.
Every so often a new singer emerges who’s able to assimilate multiple musical touchstones and still come off sounding remarkably fresh and unburdened by the past. Kandace Springs is one of those artists. The 27-year-old, Nashville-based singer, songwriter and pianist counts such stylists as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Roberta Flack and Norah Jones as her heroes, but as evidenced by her sparkling full-length Blue Note Records debut, Soul Eyes, Springs mimics none of them. The eleven songs contained on Soul Eyes all feature Springs playing piano alongside an illustrious cast of musicians that includes trumpeter Terence Blanchard, guitarists Dean Parks and Jesse Harris, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, organist Pete Kuzma, bassist Dan Lutz, percussionist Pete Korpela. Springs has made appearances on Late Show With David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Tom Braxton’s distinct, melodic sound has been thrilling audiences of all ages from coast to coast and abroad for nearly two decades. SmoothJazz.com calls Braxton “one of the most respected and loved sax men in smooth jazz.” His five studio albums have hit numerous jazz charts including Billboard, RadioWave and Amazon.com and can be heard nationwide. Tom toured with Wayman Tisdale for 17 years, also serving as musical director. He has also actively toured with Earl Klugh for the past four years. Braxton has shared the stage with many great artists including Dave Koz, Rick Braun, Bob James, George Duke, Kirk Whalum, Jonathan Butler, Jeff Golub, Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross and many more. He has been featured by JAZZIZ, Smooth Jazz News, CBS’s The Saturday Early Show and Daystar Television Network. Tom’s latest release, The Other Side, is a collaborative project with labelmate Robert Sanae.
Since GRAMMY®-winner Earl Klugh released his inaugural album 40 years ago in 1976, the Detroit-born master of the acoustic-classical guitar has become one of the most imitated icons of the instrument. He has released over 40 records, 24 of which have been on Billboard’s top-10 list of jazz albums and 6 of which have made it to the No. 1 slot. Klugh’s recordings have received 13 Grammy® nominations (including one for his latest release, HandPicked) – and his collaboration with pianist Bob James, One on One, walked away with the 1980 Grammy® Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album.
Klugh hosts and produces two annual Weekend of Jazz Festivals at Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond properties. Spring 2017 marks his 14th Annual Weekend of Jazz at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs and Fall 2017 marks his 8th Annual Weekend of Jazz at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort on Kiawah Island, SC.