the day would the second Saturday in July. That’s the day of the Krasl Art Fair “Smooth Jazz at Sunset” concert. About 2500 people pack into Shadowland Pavilion for a concert with some great names from smooth jazz. It’s the “nightcap” of the first day of the art fair. In 2010, it was Mindi Abair, a great sax player who will be on tour soon (as of this writing) with the artist from the 2008 Smooth Jazz show, Peter White. While this image was taken in-concert, I also photographed the “meet and greet” for Mindi, where I captured the photo on the right, later published in a magazine. Mindi’s web site is mindiabair.com.

The reason “Smooth Jazz at Sunset” is like Christmas in July is the fact that it seems everyone in town is in the same place. It’s like coming back home for the Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday and everyone would meet at H.I.’s….at least back in the “old days.”

There is always great food from Tabor Hill and JP performs his culinary skills on ribs or chicken served with Tabor Hill wine and other assorted beverages. The gates open at 6:30 and as is the case with any party, the crowd loves arrive late. You’ll look around the grassy area of the concert and wonder if anyone is going to show for the concert. The warm-up act begins at 8 and Bryan Lubeck from Valparaiso, IN has been the opening act numerous times. His music is best described from his web site (bryanlubeck.com) as “Spanish guitar/Urban rhythms.” He puts on a great show and is coming to St. Joseph on December 3.

Other great acts that have come to “Smooth Jazz at Sunset” are Rick Braun in 2009 and Peter White in 2008. Braun got his start in the original “War.” I’ve seen him at “Smooth Jazz at Sunset” as well as “Smooth Jazz at South Shore,” another great annual show in Michigan City, IN. According to his web site (rickbraun.com) he considers his influences to be Chet Baker and Miles Davis. While I am a fan of all three, Rick’s style is much more high energy than I would have imagined Chet or Miles. Rick Braun’s music just explodes when he comes on stage.

Peter White got his start in the mid-70′s as a 20 year old performing with Al Stewart on two huge hits, “Year of the Cat” and “Time Passages.” Later, he performed with Basia and recorded with Grover Washington, Jr. in 1990. His Christmas tour features Mindi Abair but unfortunately for us in the midwest, their performances are in Texas and the east coast.

Smooth Jazz at Sunset is my “Christmas” and I’m very lucky to photograph it every year. Put the second Saturday in July on your calendar next year. It’s always a great time!

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About rizzophotos

Photographer of weddings and events, people, places and things. Based in St. Joseph, MI and travel regularly from Chicago to Grand Rapids and all places in-between.

2 responses »

  1. tom says:

    Hello, I log on to your blogs daily. Your story-telling style is awesome, keep doing what you’re doing!

  2. E-bike says:

    Just added this blog to my favorites. I enjoy reading your blogs and hope you keep them coming!

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