2017 Artists

We celebrate our fifth season with these amazing artists!

A message from Music Director Sweet Baby J’ai

The Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival continues to create stories of its own – anecdotes that you’ll be able to share many years from now about women in jazz. Regarding her experience at the Festival, legendary jazz vocalist/pianist Diane Schuur described it as, “One of the greatest moments in music. It was very magical. There is an intuitive quality that happens when women get together.”

In 2017, a collection of extraordinary musicians will descend on sunny Palm Springs for a compelling musical tapestry with delightful surprises. Female artists; singers, instrumentalists, composers and arrangers come from near and far to celebrate their contributions to jazz in all of its forms —straight ahead, contemporary, funk, blues and Latin. Making this, not only a memorable weekend for the musicians, but audiences alike, who don’t often see this kind of unique and special coming together. From multi-platinum award winning performers to rising stars, you don’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind, fabulous weekend of music!

On behalf of Lucy and Gail, our Board of Directors, our wonderful staff and volunteers, committed donors, partners, sponsors, musicians, venues, and ticket buyers who support our efforts to bring women’s jazz and blues to Palm Springs -thank you and we hope to see you in our warm musical desert paradise in November!

2017 Artists

Friday Night Featured Artists for the Golden Age of Jazz

Jazzmeia Horn

One of the most talked about jazz singers to emerge in recent years, 26 year old, Dallas native, Jazzmeia Horn is the talk of the New York Jazz scene. While most singers her age have opted for smooth jazz Ms. Horn’s music is clearly influenced by the likes of Sarah Vaughn and Betty Carter.

“…the most talked-about jazz vocalist to emerge since Cécile McLorin Salvant and Gregory Porter both became stars about five years ago.” in New York Times

“Horn has a thrilling presence, with a musical sensibility that strikes a deft balance between mid-century jazz and contemporary neo-soul” – DownBeat Editors’ Picks
Here she sings that old standard, “I Remember You.”

Melissa Aldana

Still in her 20’s, Melissa Aldana had already received more major award for her music than most musicians acquire in a lifetime. The Washington Post described her music as ” a new sense of possibility and direction in jazz.” She is the only woman to win the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. She is part of a new generation of young female jazz artists that are being called “the new face of jazz music.” has received raves from the likes of the New York Times saying, “…she’s coolly formidable….”, and JazzTimes wrote, “Jazz’s Next Tenor Sax Great. In focus, in control, deeply determined yet accessible.”

Her latest album is called Back Home. Here she appears with her trio Crash.

Pamela Williams

Claudia Acuña

At every Festival we recognize and praise the contributions of women musicians from Latin America. Chilean vocalist Claudia Acuña appeared on the New York jazz scene in the late 90’s and has been a leading voice in Latin jazz ever since.

“…strength and grace…”- Ben Ratliff, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“…she has mastered the essential elements of jazz with startling effectiveness.” – Don Heckman, THE LA TIMES

“Claudia has great instincts, and is one singer who is actually a musician – one of us.” – Branford Marsalis

Enjoy the beautiful ballad “Tu, Mi Delrio”.

Saturday Night 2017 Featured Artists

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Miki Howard

Miki Howard Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum recording artist Miki Howard has moved from being one of the biggest artists on the R&B charts to one of the coolest smooth jazz singers on the scene today. Miki has had two #1 singles (“Ain’t Nobody Like You” and “Ain’t Nothin’ In The World”), five Top 10 singles. Her musical artistry continues to amaze audiences as she moves comfortably from one genre to another. Howard recorded an entire album of Holiday songs, “Miki Sings Billie”, including her favorite Holiday tune, “Don’t Explain.”

Here she sings an old Dinah Washington song, “This Bitter Earth.”

Ann Hampton Callaway

Kandace Springs

A jazz/neo-soul singer from Nashville, 27 year old Kandace Springs is definitely on track to become a household name in jazz music. She transforms jazz and soul into a personalized sound you will not soon forget.

“On a more serious note, the potent and focused singer-keyboardist Kandace Springs gave her chilling take on the haunting racial disparity lament ‘Strange Fruit,’ blending the influences of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone.” — DownBeat

Here’s “Thought It Would be Easier” from her album Soul Eyes.

 

All-Star Musicians

2017 brings together an amazing group of artists! Each year we are honored to feature some of the great jazz musicians of the day. Many have their own albums and performed at jazz festivals around the world. We also feature newer artists to bring together working greats and soon to be greats.

Karen Hammack
Karen Hammack

A highly in-demand pianist who has toured all over the world as musical director with the likes of pop legend Melissa Manchester, Jazz and Gospel great Niki Haris, and currently with Grammy-nominated world music artist Perla Batalla. Karen Hammack has joined these artists at Royce Hall to the Kennedy Center. Because of her mastery of different styles she has performed and recorded with Michael McDonald, Don Was, Jackson Brown, jazz greats Chuck Berghofer, Bill Frisell, Eric Marienthal and Larry Koonse, vocalists Tierney Sutton, Gretchen Parlato, and Kate McGarry. Karen studied jazz at Orange Coast College and studied privately with famed jazz pianist Terry Trotter. For the past fifteen years she has been part of trumpeter Bobby Rodriguez’s Jazz Adventure which brings the wonderful history of jazz to young students all over Southern California. Karen is also an accomplished singer-songwriter and jazz composer.

Sunnie Paxson
Voted on of Los Angeles’ Best Jazz Performers in Los Angeles Magazine and listed in Jazz Week’s as one of the Top 100 Artists for radio spins, contemporary jazz pianist, songwriter, producer, and performer Sunnie Paxson is known for her driving grooves and memorable melodies. She worked extensively with Stanley Clarke, Harvey Mason, Michael Paulo, Everette Harp, Sekou Bunch, Michael Sembello, and many more.
Linda Taylor

Guitarist, composer for over 17 years on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” with Drew Carey and new host, Aisha Tyler. Has toured, recorded and/or performed with Art Garfunkel, Maia Sharp, Terri Lyne Carrington, Tracy Chapman, Sheila E., Christopher Cross, Carlos Rios, Edwin McCain, Don Was, Jim Keltner, Edward Roth, Richard Perry, Kirk Whalum, Namie Amuro, Chante Moore, Wayne Brady, Vesta Williams, Thelma Houston, Marilyn McCoo, Louis Price, and more.
Film scoring includes “Through The Cracks” directed by Mark Ryan, and “Anatomy Of A Breakup” directed by Judy Minor.