Sweetbaby J’ai, Palm Springs Jazz Festival Artistic Director (photo by Pat Hendricks Munson)

Originally Posted on the LA Sentinel

Straight ahead, smooth and funky are just a few adjectives being used to describe the upcoming Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival (Oct. 9-11) that will feature a diverse group of singers and musicians including Diane Schuur, Nona Hendryx and dozens of other award-winning, ground-breaking female artists from around the country.

“We have a beautiful line-up coming and we’re going to have so much fun,” said Sweetbaby J’ai, the festival’s artistic director.  “We are bigger and better this year and there is no better reason to move than that.”

Over the past three years, the Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival has proved itself so popular that founders Lucy and Gail, seeking to avoid a scheduling conflict with the Dinah Shore Women’s Pro Golf weekend, moved it from early spring to October.

By moving the festival to October, organizers will now occupy venues at some of the city’s largest hotels and theatres to better accommodate the ever-growing number of attendees and furthermore making it a premiere event to kick off the season here in the desert.

Singer, former member of LaBelle, Nona Hendryx (photo courtesy of PSWJF)

Singer, former member of LaBelle, Nona Hendryx (photo courtesy of PSWJF)

The Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival offers something for everyone.

“As artistic director I like to mix things up. Jazz is an all-encompassing umbrella. We have Diane Schuur who is straight ahead traditional jazz; Nona Hendryx adds the funky twist that is really indescribable. And then we have Jesse J, a popular smooth jazz saxophonist.

“The festival celebrates the musical history and contribution of women. We showcase women in a genre dominated by men. It emphasizes stylistic diversity of women in jazz, however, this is not a women’s event. It is a jazz event that showcases women and, men are welcome,” she said.

The festival will also feature a reception and signing party with Nona Hendryx, a singles workshop, a meet and greet, wine tasting, live Latin music featuring Sunnie Paxson and the Latin Jazz Explosion, nightly after concert parties and a Sunday brunch Tribute to the Divas, saluting Etta James, Anita O’Day, Amy Winehouse and Chaka Khan.