To its fans, smooth jazz sounds like air conditioning feels. So a summer weekend festival built around that style of music seems like a good idea.
Add in a fundraising component for local charities and that good idea gets even better.
As a result, Jazz in the Woods is back after taking a year off. The area’s premier smooth jazz event takes place Friday, June 9, and Saturday, June 10, in the open space of the Corporate Woods office park in Overland Park.
The event, presented by the Overland Park South Rotary Club, is two days of sparkling guitars, smiling saxes and lightly funky backbeats, with a bit of rock and blues thrown in. Here’s the lineup:
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Friday: At 6 p.m. it’s Dotsero, a sax-and-guitar outfit that takes its name from a dot on the map in Colorado. Singer Kelley Hunt brings her bluesy Americana sound to the stage at 7:30 p.m. The Elders, a Celtic rock band that has become a Kansas City institution, cap things off at 9 p.m.
Saturday: At 6 p.m. it’s Steve Cole, a Chicago sax man who has played with some of the top names in smooth jazz. At 7:30 p.m. it’s Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal, a blues-and-soul party band from the blues outpost of Lincoln, Neb. (That’s a fact, not a joke.) The night is rounded out by Richard Elliot, a sax hitmaker since the 1980s, at 9 p.m.
The festival site is off College Boulevard, east of U.S. 69 and west of Antioch Road. Admission is $5 at the gate; children under 12 get in free. (The organizers kept the festival free for as many years as they could.) Bring blankets or lawn chairs; don’t bring pets, food, drink, coolers or the grill.
▪ The next concert in the Spirituality and All That Jazz series has singer Molly Hammer performing with pianist Tim Whitmer and band at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 7, at the Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th St.
▪ The Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd., has drummer Danny Rojas with organist Everette DeVan and friends at 6 p.m. Sunday, June 4, followed by tenor saxophonist Steve Lambert’s quintet at 10:30 p.m.; guitarist Matt Hopper at 6 p.m. Monday, June 5, followed by Max Groove’s organ trio at 10:30 p.m.; singer and trumpeter Lonnie McFadden’s quartet at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, followed by Hopper’s Agora band at 7 p.m.; organist Ken Lovern’s OJT at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 7, followed by saxophonist Ernest Melton’s quartet at 10:30 p.m.; Lovern’s trio at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 8, followed by Guitar Elation at 8 p.m. and bassist Gerald Spaits’ quartet at 11:30 p.m.; pianist Tim Whitmer’s quartet at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 9, followed by singer Molly Hammer at 8:30 p.m. downstairs and organist Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 at 10 p.m. upstairs; OJT again at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 10, followed by the Crossroads Quartet at 9 p.m. downstairs and the New Transition Quartet with alto saxophonist Michael Shults at 10:30 p.m. upstairs.
▪ The Blue Room, 1600 E. 18th St., has bassist Robert Castillo leading the Monday jam, at 7 p.m. on June 5; singer Eboni Fondren at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 8; the Wild Men of Kansas City at 8:30 p.m. Friday, June 9; and the band B2 Experience with bassist Blair Bryant at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, June 10.
▪ The Westport CoffeeHouse Theatre, 4010 Pennsylvania Ave., has alto saxophonist Chris Burnett’s quartet with guest pianist and composer Michael Jefry Stevens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, and the Perrilles Project, led by drummer Paul Perrilles, at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 8.
Joe Klopus, 816-234-4751