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Review: Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival

A new event that could become a perennial

Sweet Baby J'ai, Radio Host Joey English, Patrice Rushen and Carmen Lundy
Carmen Lundy, Mimi Jones, Tia Fuller, Patrice Rushen, Terri Lyne Carrington, Sweet Baby J'ai and LInda Taylor
Carmen Lundy and Sweet Baby J'ai

Taking cues from the groundbreaking 18-year-old Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival in Washington, D.C., and new events, such as the Women’s Jazz Festival in New York and the Berkeley’s Women in Jazz Festival, the Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival recently made its debut. Lucy and Gail, longtime event promoters in the region, along with Artistic Director, emcee, vocalist/washboard-spoon player Sweet Baby J’ai (last name unknown), co-opted their three-day gathering with the Dinah Shore Weekend, which calls itself “the largest girl party in the world.” Needless to say, very few hairy knuckles could be found and enthusiastic attendees reveled in solidarity as kindred musicians showcased their considerable talents in a variety of groupings and settings.

The centerpiece of the festival was a show entitled “Women in Music…And All That Jazz,” featuring drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, keyboardist Patrice Rushen, saxophonist Tia Fuller and vocalist Carmen Lundy, along with bassist Mimi Jones and guitarist Linda Taylor. They performed at the Anneberg Theater, located in the Palm Springs Art Museum. Two of Rushen’s compositions, the postbop-oriented “Shortie’s Portion” and the dramatically nuanced, solo-packed “L’ Esprit de Joie (The Spirit of Joy),” started the set.

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