By Rog North
March 30, 2015
By Rog North
The 2015 Miller Lite El Paso Blues & Jazz Festival ( El Paso Blues & Jazz Festival) will take place on May 16-17 at Chamizal National Memorial, 800 South San Marcial Street. The Festival, produced by The El Paso Music Society, will feature internationally known artists blues groups Smokin’ Joe Kubek featuring Bnois King, and The Mark Hummel Little Charlie Combo, jazz guitarist, Nick Colionne, and jazz saxophonist, Jessy J plus additional performers to be announced. Local performers include Billy Townes & Mike Hamilton and Marty Olivas & Case Closed.
“Our goal is to develop a sustainable two-day blues and jazz festival in El Paso,” say Festival Director and President of The El Paso Music Society, Jim Murphy. “The community event will be free to all ages and will provide a comfortable festival setting, a VIP area, free professional workshops, an artist merchandise area, and affordable crafts, food and beverage vendors,” he says.
The El Paso Music Society is dedicated to the preservation of American blues and jazz history. The 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization was begun in 2014 to produce Miller Lite El Paso Blues & Jazz Festival as a way of bringing musicians and music aficionados together for a weekend of music and family fun.
Smokin’ Joe Kubek is an American Texas blues electric guitarist, songwriter, and performer. In the 1970s during his teen years, he played with the likes of Freddie King and in the 1980’s began performing with Louisiana-born singer, Bnois King. In 1991, Kubek released his first full-length album entitled Steppin’ Out Texas Style on Bullseye Blues Records, and released over a dozen albums including his latest in 2013, Road Dog’s Life on Delta Groove.
Mark Hummel is a Grammy nominated Blues Music Award winning American blues harmonica player, vocalist, songwriter, and long-time bandleader of The Blues Survivors. Since 1991, Hummel has produced the Blues Harmonica Blowout tour, of which he is also a featured performer. He has recorded over a dozen album including The Hustle Is Really On in 2014 on Electro-Fi. Hummel will be leading a Harmonica Master Class workshop at the Festval.
Charles Baty, known as Little Charlie, is a blues guitarist best known for his work with Little Charlie and the Nightcats. Baty will be leading a workshop at the Festival entitled The Guitar According to Charles Baty.
An additional workshop, Jazz Piano Styles Through Our Timeline, will be led by Ruben Gutierrez, assistant professor of music at El Paso Community College. He currently teaches piano, music theory and music technology at EPCC.
Nick Colionne is a smooth jazz guitarist who was nominated as Guitarist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year by the American Smooth Jazz Awards in 2010 and received the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award for his ongoing commitment to mentoring children and his work in the community and nationally in support of breast cancer causes.
Jessy J, born Jessica Arellano, is a smooth jazz saxophone player who had the #1 Jazz Song of the Year, Tequila Moon, in 2008, and had the #1 album, Hot Sauce, on the Billboard Jazz Charts in 2011. In 2008 she was named Radio and Records “Debut Artist of the Year”.
In addition to performing with Case Closed on the Festival stage, trumpet player, Marty Olivas also will be leading a performance of the El Paso Youth Jazz Ensemble.
Mike Hamilton has been writing, recording and producing music for over 20 years. After graduating from Parkland High School in El Paso, Hamilton received a scholarship to Boston’s Berklee College of Music, one of the top music schools in the country. After graduation he became an Assistant Professor of Contemporary Writing and Production at Berklee and wrote a book for Berklee entitled Producing and Mixing Hip-Hop/R&B, which he still teaches for the online school today. He also currently teaches music production and choir at the Delta Academy in El Paso and will be releasing a new gospel and contemporary jazz CD later this year.
Billy Townes is a multi-faceted keyboard player, record label owner and producer, studio owner (BT Productions) and movie producer who released his latest album, Alchemy, in 2012. Townes has recorded 12 albums of music, including five on his own label, Shade Records, which also is home to Marty Olivas, Ruben Gutierrez, jazz singer, Candice Reyes and other recording artists. Townes also has co-written, produced and directed two movies, Borderlords, and Borderlords 2, fictional crime dramas about two warring cartels in a border town.
Jim Murphy, also know by his musical name, Austin Jimmy Murphy, is an award winning festival director who in 2003 won the prestigious Keeping The Blues Alive Best Promoter/Best Festival award from Memphis-based Blues Foundation for his work with the New York State Blues Festival, which he founded in 1992 and managed for 12 years. Murphy also is a songwriter and record producer who won an award for a 4-CD boxed set A History of Blues, which he released in 2013. He also produced and directed the 2009 and 2010 Chamizal Blues and Jazz Festivals in El Paso.