Casino events

Top Talent Fusion Visits Ocean Casino’s Ovation Hall for Third Annual Atlantic City Jazz Festival | Headliners

RAY SCHWEIBERT

Since its inception in 2019, the Atlantic City Jazz Fest has delivered some of the most well-known jazz artists not just on the East Coast, but everywhere, to the resort town.

This year is certainly no exception, as the festival features renowned AC multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson as well as saxophonists Jazmin Ghent and Najee, R&B singer Alyson Williams, flautist Althea Rene and virtuoso trombonist Jeff Bradshaw.

Bradshaw is the only returning artist from last year’s show, which was held at the new Orange Loop amphitheater after a year-long hiatus due to the pandemic. Its debut was at the Mark G. Etess Arena in Hard Rock, and it returns inside Ovation Hall at the Ocean Casino Resort for the first time beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 17.

“We don’t usually want to bring artists back this early, but Jeff (Bradshaw) was such a phenomenal crowd pleaser that we had to bring him back by popular demand,” says AC Jazz Fest Chief Organizer Peter Bond. , which is co-promoting the festival with Majestic Entertainment Group’s Burnell Brown and RM Productions’ Ray Miller. “During his set, he came off stage and was playing in the crowd. The guy has so much energy.

People also read…

Culbertson was scheduled to appear last year but canceled all of his tour dates due to continued pandemic threats. Show officials are thrilled to have it this year at Ovation Hall, which Bond calls “one of the finest halls in town.”

A graduate of DePaul University in Chicago, the jazz-rich Culbertson, who performs primarily on keyboards and trombone, has been a professional musician since the mid-1990s. He has seen dozens of singles and albums reach No. #1 on the US Billboard Jazz charts throughout his career.

“In the world of smooth jazz, artists who are on his level would be Boney James (four-time Grammy-nominated saxophonist), who we had in 2019, (nine-time Grammy-nominated saxophonist) Dave Koz, and the last year we had (renowned keyboard player) Bob James, who is like the godfather of jazz. They are the elite artists of the smooth-jazz world.

Culbertson is known for his ability to transition from jazz to funk to R&B to pop music, and audiences can expect the same from him in Atlantic City.

Last September, show officials contacted outstanding talent such as Grammy-nominated Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer, internationally acclaimed pianist Keiko Matsui and other female jazz stars who were unavailable due to their schedule.

“So we wanted to make sure we had a strong female presence this year, and the women we bring in are super talented,” Bond said. “(Ghent and René) are on tour and have taken part in most of the major jazz festivals in the country. Alyson Williams has toured with Najee but we didn’t get confirmation that she might be on our show until recently, which we were thrilled to find out. People are going to enjoy it. »

Patty Jackson and Michael Tozzi, longtime Philadelphia-area jazz radio personalities, will co-host the show. Two free tune-up events take place Friday night, including a jam session with Three Easy Pieces and DJ Able at Resort’s Bar One starting at 5 p.m., and D’bra Powell with Wisdom Stick at Kelsey’s at 1545 Pacific Ave. AC from 9 p.m.

“There are a lot of festivals around the country that are very popular among jazz lovers who like to be there just for the music,” Bond says. “But Atlantic City is a destination, and we’re trying to build a brand for people to come to Atlantic City not just to enjoy the show, but to dine, shop, play, go to the beach, do whatever you want. And September is a good month to be here.