Celebrating three decades of jazz in Las Vegas, Clark County Parks & Recreation has announced the talent that will be performing at the 30th annual Jazz in the Park Concert Series. Taking over the Clark County Government Center Amphitheater, Jazz in the Park boasts live performances, picnic and seating areas, and an array of food and drinks to choose. This year, Jazz in the Park will host Norman Brown (pictured above) on May 11, Tito Puente Jr. on May 18, Raul Midon on May 25, Althea Rene, Selina Albright and Kayla Waters on June 1 and Paul Taylor on June 15.
The admission and parking for the event is free and open to all ages. For more information, visit https://www.clarkcountynv.gov
Grammy Award-winning contemporary jazz and R&B superstar Norman Brown has sold close to 2 million albums in his extraordinary career and virtually lives at the top of the Billboard Contemporary Jazz sales and radio charts. Having shared the stage with virtually every contemporary jazz superstar from Boney James to Dave Koz to Gerald Albright. Brown first picked up a guitar at the age of eight. Inspired by Jimi Hendrix, it was his father’s preference for the sound of Wes Montgomery that set Brown on his stylistic journey. Brown attended the Musician’s Institute, where he also taught for a short time. Brown was discovered and while playing with his own group at local clubs and was signed to the fledgling MoJazz label, a division of Motown. He delivered his debut album Just Between Us, and it followed with a gold-certified After The Storm and Better Days Ahead. With the critical acclaim and sales behind him, in 2002, Brown debuted his smooth jazz band, but quickly returned to his solo work in 2004. Brown’s audience has been expanding over the years. Armed with knowledge of who he is as an artist, Brown says he spent just four months in the studio making Stay with Me – his shortest recording time on a project ever. Let It Go, Brown’s inspired debut album for Shanachie Records, has something for everyone, whether an R&B fan or a jazz aficionado, it is Norman Brown at his best.
New York-born Tito Puente Jr., son of Latin music legend Rey del Timbal, studied music and composition in his native city, joined a heavy metal band, got involved in Latin music and participated in different local numbers before moving to Miami. Puente Jr.’s debut album Guarachando featuring classic “Oye Como Va,” was released by EMI Latin in 1996. After a year, the album achieved a Billboard award for Best Video. Combining Afro-Caribbean ehythms, Latin jazz and dance style, the talented artist returned with Sientelo, produced by A.B. Quintanilla and Larry Davis.
Flutist and bandleader Althena Rene is a dynamic, soulful performer with a bent toward contemporary jazz, funk and instrumental R&B. A native of Detroit and daughter of trumpeter, saxophonist and longtime original Funk Brothers’ Dezie McCullers, Rene grew up in a musical family. Encouraged to study music from a young age, she eventually enrolled in a classical music program at Howard University in Washington, DC. However, while at Howard, she discovered her love of jazz, and eventually returned to Detroit. She entered the police academy and spent the next 11 years balancing her time between working as a deputy sheriff and honing her musical skills playing jazz in local clubs. In 2000, she released her independently produced début album, Flute Talk. More albums followed as her career took off, including 2000’s Chocolate Rush, 2006’s In The Moment, and 2008’sNo Restrictions. Along with her albums, she has made numerous festival appearances, including dates at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Austin Jazz Festival, Norman Brown All-Star Jazz Cruise and others. In 2013, she signed with the Trippin ‘n’ Rhythm label for the Michael Broening-produced In The Flow. Buoyed by the singles “Sunday Cruise” and “Free,” it peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Chart. Two years later, she delivered the concert album Live in Detroit, showcasing a well-received performance at the Detroit Public Library.
Selina Albright’s R&B and soul release entitled “Brighter” topped the UK Soul Chart for four weeks, and her sassy 2010 jazz original, “You and I,” was featured on iTunes’ “Top 100 Downloads” list for the genre of Jazz in 2010. Her 2016 single release “Sun Comes Up” primed the market for her 2017 full-length R&B project titled Conversations, featuring Billboard chart-topping, Grammy-considered singles “Eat Something” and “Possible.” A special edition release of Conversations was released in 2017 throughout all Japanese territories and remained on the Sapporo Hot 100 Char for weeks in a row, among artists such as Katy Perry and Rihanna. Aside from her R&B and jazz releases, the artist has also joined forced with electronic music artists, demonstrating yet another facet of her creativity. The world has responded strongly to her collaborations with the internationally-revered DJ duo Manufactured Superstars. A major highlight of Albright’s career was her performance of “Serious” for the Electronic Daisy Music Festival in Las Vegas in 2011, before more than 200,000 high-energy ravers and fans.
Kayla Waters in an elite pianist, composer, producer and music director. After a successful breakout year, both Kayla’s debut single and album charted on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz Songs and Albums of the Year. Waters has eloquently found herself welcoming and utilizing a plethora of opportunities to play and work with musical legends, music directors and major recording artists worldwide. This distinctive list includes musical giants such as Stevie Wonder, Patrice Rushen, Avery Sunshine, Maysa Leak, Kim Burse and Ray Chew. Waters has graced the stages across the country at festivals such as the Derby City Jazz Festival, Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival, Baltimore County African American Jazz Festival and the Catalina Island Jazz Festival. She was also recognized nationally on the BET television network’s highly acclaimed “Black Girls Rock” Awards Show. Waters expertly played keyboards for the legendary Gladys Knight, Marsha Ambrosius, Corinne Bailey Rae and Imani Uzuri.
Paul Taylor is an American smooth jazz saxophonist who has released 11 albums since his debut On The Horn in 1995. He is signed to Peak Records. Although originally from Denver, Colorado, he is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is known for his soulful sweet sound and innovative music. Taylor has also played as a special guest with the Rippingtons for a short time in 1999 and 2000, after Jeff Kashiwa left the group and before Eric Marienthal joined. Taylor collaborated with many R&B vocalists such as LaToya London, Regina Belle, Maxi Priest, Peabo Bryson and Terry Dexter.
Jazz in the Park Concert Series is produced by Clark Country Parks & Recreation and sponsored by Findlay Chevrolet, Nevada Public Radio and KUNV 91.5 The Source.
Those interested can call Clark County Parks & Recreation at (702) 455-8200 or visit the website at https://www.clarkcountynv.gov