patrice rushen & paul jackson jr

Patrice Rushen & Paul Jackson Jr.

*Temecula-The 9th Annual Temecula Wine and Music Festival was held on Saturday, May 4th.

Thousands of music lovers were in attendance as the organizers of the event served up a delightful and enjoyable mix of Pop, Smooth jazz and R&B music.  This popular festival was held in a calm, relaxing atmosphere of Vail Lake Resort, 38000 Highway 79 in Temecula.

The festival producer promised and delivered “a world class music and a unique wine tasting experience from Temecula’s award winning wineries all at the Temecula Wine and Music Festival.” And enthusiastic crowds rousing,thunderous applause served as a potent testimonial on this sunny, cool day in the Temecula Valley.

There is a saying that states “April showers bring May flowers.” The month of May also finds Temecula Valley blossoming with a full display of R&B and smooth jazz festivals and concerts. As I write this review the lyrics come to mind, “Up, Up and Away, in My Beautiful Balloon.” This is in reference to the upcoming Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival, and also refers to the music notes that soared from the venue of the Temecula Wine and Music Festival.

The festival got under way with Hawaii Piano legend Rene Paulo waltzing across the ivories to enchant the audience.Vocalist Sherry Williams’ beautiful voiced soared throughout the Temecula Valley during her brief moment in the spotlight. Antonio Pontarelli is an amazing, talented violinist and vocalist. He performed a set that went to another level as he showcased his versatility in Pop,Rock and jazz as the sounds of his violin lifted up into the strastophere.

The flow of the festival continued with a DJ laying down tracks in between acts as he got the crowds involvement and participation with “Cupid Shuffle.” Adding to our enjoyment of the festival were vocalist Slim Man with saxophonist Rodney Young. Pianist Tateng Katindig was another pleasant addition to the festival.

paul jackson jr

Paul Jackson Jr.

The festival featured some All-Star pairings throughout the afternoon.This featured a tight mid-afternoon set by Chris Standring, sax man Kanzaki, Greg Karukas, Michael Paulo (Festival Producer), each stretching out on their respective instruments.Vocalist Brenda Russell joined the band onstage for several tunes including the stand out tune “Get Here.”

The sounds continued to soar to new heights with the final set of the evening. This set featured the LA Dream Band consisting of Patrice Rushen on piano/keyboards, Paul Jackson Jr. on guitar, Mike White on drums, Freddie Washington on bass and Lenny Castro on percussion. Guitarist Paul Jackson Jr. stretched out with some down home dirty blues, afterwards saxophonist Warren Hill rocked out with some smooth jazz grooves on a tune by Edgar Winter entitled “Frankenstein.” The festival concluded with a rousing jam section with many of artists laying it all out to one of the many classic tunes by Patrice Rushen: “Forget Me Nots” with Michael Paula wailing away on saxophone.

The Award winning wineries on site were San Antonio Winery,Canyon Crest Winery, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, INSPIRI Wines,Wilson Creek, Monde De Oro, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Lorimar Vineyards and Winery,Phoenix-Hellas LLC,and South Coast Winery Resort and Spa.

Each year, proceeds benefit a different charity. This year,the festival benefitted the Boys and Girls club of Southwest County, which serves 6-18 year-olds and their families by providing transportation from the Clubhouses and school from 6:30AM-6:30PM every school day.The Boys and Girls Club have exceptional programs that teach leadership,character, science, math, the arts, health,nutrition and sports that assist the youth to climb to new heights in whichever career field that they pursue.

Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer,music reviewer and photographer.Contact him via: [email protected]