Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival Strikes a Chord
March 31, 2014
Contemporary jazz artist Sweet Baby J’ai performs during last year’s inaugural Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival in Palm Springs.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF PALM SPRINGS WOMEN’S JAZZ FESTIVAL
Originally Posted to Palm Springs Life by Michelle Roe
A few years ago, Gail Christian and her partner, Lucy Debardelaben, hosted a Jazz on Sunday brunch at the former Dink’s restaurant during Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs.
The event sold out.
Feeling they had tapped into an opportunity for women to come together to celebrate music, they partnered with talented contemporary jazz artist Sweet Baby J’ai, to produce the inaugural Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival in 2013.
See related story: Cindy Bradley Trumpets Jazz Music at Palm Springs Festival
“This is a fantastic opportunity to see amazing jazz artists,” Christian adds. “Jazz is a real American art form that should stay around and everyone should have access to jazz and women musicians. We even had a call from a woman from Calgary, Canada, who wanted a ticket. She had seen a post card about the jazz festival. Now that’s exciting.”
Hitting a High Note
Christian and Debardelaben’s (pictured at right) overnight success is the hard-earned culmination of years of experience and dedication to promoting women’s concerts.
Christian, a retired newscaster, and Debardelaben, a finance professional, met in Washington, D.C., and have produced a myriad of musical events under L & G Events, such as the Michigan Women’s Festival.
After an argument about who would dig the car out of the snow, the duo decided to head west to California, Christian’s home state. The two currently reside in Palm Springs.
“We love Joshua Tree and love national parks!”
“We love gambling!”
“We just discovered the Opera!”
Initially, Christian and Debardelaben’s passion for cultural pursuits led them to explore organizing such a musical event. They both like jazz and thought an initial brunch would be fun.“In California, culture can be as simple as having lunch,” Christian says. “We thought we would bring women together for an event showcasing female jazz musicians and bring them the audience they deserve.”
Their idea, obviously, hit a high note and continues with the 2014 edition promising to be a tribute to all things jazz featuring world class musicians, film screenings, jazz age cabaret style shows, comedy, female bands, and dancers.
“It’s not about how big a star you can attract, but how good an artist you can attract,” Christian says. “If the music’s good, the people will come.”
You won’t want to miss:
Helen Sung is an acclaimed pianist from New York. She is the 2007 winner of the Mary Lou Williams Piano Competition.
Mimi Fox is a top rate guitar player and winner of 6 consecutive Downbeat Magazine international critic’s polls.
Cindy Bradley, the 2011 American Smooth Jazz Award Winner for Best Brass Player and Best New Artist of the Year, who has been compared to jazz greats Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan.
Cindy Bradley Trumpets Jazz Music at Palm Springs FestivalMarch March 27, 2014
Cindy Bradley’s hot pink “flumpet” takes the brighter sounds of the trumpet and blends them with the mellow sounds of the flugelhorn.
PHOTO COURTESY OF PALM SPRINGS WOMEN’S JAZZ FESTIVAL
Originally Posted on Palm Springs Life by Michelle Roe
When Cindy Bradley was in the fourth grade, she forgot to sign up to play an instrument in the school band.
A kind teacher knew she had taken piano lessons and asked her if she wanted to play. She told Bradley that she could just circle a picture of an instrument on the registration sheet, and she randomly chose the trumpet.
“I played trumpet in middle school, but it wasn’t until I joined a swing style big band outside of school that I fell in love with it,” Bradley says. “I got to improvise on solos and found that jazz music was a style of music that spoke to me.”
Today Bradley is a premier trumpet, flugelhorn player and composer on the contemporary and smooth jazz scene, offering soft, melodic songs imparting strong emotion.
She’s been compared to some of her own inspirations, Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan.
She won the 2011 American Smooth Jazz Award for Best New Artist.
She won 2011 Best New Artist of the Year and Best Brass Player at the Contemporary Jazz Awards.
Her last album, “Unscripted” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Album Chart.
“One of my favorite things about jazz music is the collaboration with other musicians,” Bradley says. “You play with different people, improv, share ideas. It makes the experience different every time and it’s the most fun.”
Bradley will jam with a line-up of world-class female jazz musicians at the upcoming Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival, April 3-6, in Palm Springs. The event showcases different styles and types of jazz.
“I play a lot of different styles…mellow sounds, smooth jazz, funk, R &B, high energy fusion especially for live shows,” she says. “I’m excited to collaborate with Jazz in Pink with all female artists coming together with their talents. I think that this festival is important because there are so few female musicians compared to male that when you get so many together it’s a once in a lifetime thing. It shows what women are capable of…it’s a chance to expose people to our music who may want to pursue their own dreams. I think it’s a beautiful thing!”
When not stunning the jazz world with her artistry, most folks are surprised to find that Bradley is also a full-time fourth grade band teacher in New Jersey.
She juggles both worlds by teaching during the week and flying out most weekends to play or record. She says she loves the summer festival season because she plays a bit more, but she’s passionate about influencing aspiring jazz musicians while encouraging her students to grow in their appreciation of all music.
“I love both teaching and being a musician,” she says. “It’s hard to get young kids interested in bands. Jazz isn’t as current. I try to bring my experience to expose them to different genres.”
Bradley often plays instruments in front of her classroom including her signature “flumpet”. Often seen on stage with her, the hot pink hybrid takes the brighter sounds of the trumpet and blends them with the mellow sounds of the flugelhorn.
“The outcome,” she explains, “is in the middle with a pretty tone.”
The flumpet was custom made by Andy Taylor of London and definitely grabs attention with its vibrant color, beads, and Shakespeare quote.
“One time I brought the flumpet to school to explain the hybrid and I asked if anyone knew what it was,” Bradley recalls. “One fourth grader raised her hand and said, ‘I do, and it’s a cross between a trumpet and a flamingo!’”