Contemporary jazz artist Sweet Baby J’ai performs during last year’s inaugural Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival in Palm Springs.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF PALM SPRINGS WOMEN’S JAZZ FESTIVAL
Originally Posted to Palm Springs Life by Michelle Roe
A few years ago, Gail Christian and her partner, Lucy Debardelaben, hosted a Jazz on Sunday brunch at the former Dink’s restaurant during Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs.
The event sold out.
Feeling they had tapped into an opportunity for women to come together to celebrate music, they partnered with talented contemporary jazz artist Sweet Baby J’ai, to produce the inaugural Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival in 2013.
- See related story: Cindy Bradley Trumpets Jazz Music at Palm Springs Festival
“This is a fantastic opportunity to see amazing jazz artists,” Christian adds. “Jazz is a real American art form that should stay around and everyone should have access to jazz and women musicians. We even had a call from a woman from Calgary, Canada, who wanted a ticket. She had seen a post card about the jazz festival. Now that’s exciting.”
Hitting a High Note
Christian and Debardelaben’s (pictured at right) overnight success is the hard-earned culmination of years of experience and dedication to promoting women’s concerts.
Christian, a retired newscaster, and Debardelaben, a finance professional, met in Washington, D.C., and have produced a myriad of musical events under L & G Events, such as the Michigan Women’s Festival.
After an argument about who would dig the car out of the snow, the duo decided to head west to California, Christian’s home state. The two currently reside in Palm Springs.
- “We love Joshua Tree and love national parks!”
- “We love gambling!”
- “We just discovered the Opera!”
Initially, Christian and Debardelaben’s passion for cultural pursuits led them to explore organizing such a musical event. They both like jazz and thought an initial brunch would be fun.
“In California, culture can be as simple as having lunch,” Christian says. “We thought we would bring women together for an event showcasing female jazz musicians and bring them the audience they deserve.”
Their idea, obviously, hit a high note and continues with the 2014 edition promising to be a tribute to all things jazz featuring world class musicians, film screenings, jazz age cabaret style shows, comedy, female bands, and dancers.
“It’s not about how big a star you can attract, but how good an artist you can attract,” Christian says. “If the music’s good, the people will come.”
You won’t want to miss:
- Helen Sung is an acclaimed pianist from New York. She is the 2007 winner of the Mary Lou Williams Piano Competition.
- Mimi Fox is a top rate guitar player and winner of 6 consecutive Downbeat Magazine international critic’s polls.
- Cindy Bradley, the 2011 American Smooth Jazz Award Winner for Best Brass Player and Best New Artist of the Year, who has been compared to jazz greats Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan.