Sunset Jazz at Newport Kicks Off 10th Season

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Joe Rothman loves jazz music. As the former co-producer of the West Coast Jazz Party with fellow Newport Beach resident John McClure, Rothman is a jazz impresario who in 2009 came up with the idea of presenting outdoor jazz and cabaret entertainment on Wednesday nights during the summer under the title Sunset Jazz at Newport.

This was around the time that Fashion Island discontinued their outdoor music series, so the timing was right.

And to make Sunset Jazz at Newport unique, he presented the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa with the idea of combining live music with an outside restaurant experience, with table service in their Rose Garden, offering appetizer, dinner and drink options.

It was the right idea at the right time, said Rothman.

“We were successful from day one,” recalled Rothman. “We had 17 years of experience” with other jazz events, as well as a good mailing list and a loyal following.

And of course, the Marriott’s Rose Garden itself is perfect for al fresco jazz.

“For 350 seats the venue is beautiful, we bring in special sound equipment, and looking out at the ocean is not bad,” said Rothman.

Sunset Jazz at Newport kicks off its 10th anniversary season on July 10 with a weekly series featuring 11 concerts by noted names in the jazz world.   

Sunset Jazz at Newport is co-presented by The Jazz Cruise & Blue Note at Sea, the world’s only full ship charter cruises dedicated to “Straight-Ahead & Contemporary Jazz,” together with Rothman and McClure. Media sponsor is the nation’s top jazz station, KJAZZ. Yamaha is the official piano of Sunset Jazz at Newport.

Taking place in the Marriott’s Rose Garden (and the Seaview Terrace on 7/10, 7/17 & 8/14), Sunset Jazz at Newport will present performances starting at 6 p.m. and concluding at 8:30 p.m. Doors will open at 5 p.m. with table service featuring food and beverages.

The opening night concert on July 10 Wednesday features THE JAZZ CRUISE ALL-STARS featuring Shelly Berg, Ken Peplowski, Joe Labarbera, Rickey Woodard, Grant Geissman and Mike Gurrola. This amazing band returns to give jazz lovers a sampling of The Jazz Cruise, the world’s only full ship charter cruise dedicated to “straight ahead” jazz. Pianist Shelly Berg is Musical Director of The Jazz Cruise, while his fellow musicians are all Jazz Cruise veterans

 The 10th Anniversary Concert Schedule:

 JULY 10: THE JAZZ CRUISE ALL-STARS featuring Shelly Berg, Ken Peplowski, Joe Labarbera, Rickey Woodard, Grant Geissman and Mike Gurrola. This is an all-star taste of The Jazz Cruise to kick off the 10th Anniversary.

JULY 17: THE FOUR FRESHMEN– In Concert and singing the hits “Day In, Day Out,” “Route 66,” “Come Fly With Me” and many others.

JULY 24: TEKA & HER NEWBOSSA QUINTET– An exciting evening of Brazilian Bossa Nova meets Classic American Jazz.

JULY 31: CHAMPIAN FULTON TRIO featuring Kevin Kanner, Mike Gurrola and special guest Andy Martin.

AUG. 7: CHUCK REDD-TOM SCOTT QUINTET featuring Tom Rainer, John Clayton, and Matt Witek.

John Pizzarelli

AUG. 14: JOHN PIZZARELLI QUARTET– A special concert celebrating Sinatra, Jobim and Nat King Cole.

AUG. 21: JACKIE RYAN sings The Bergmans & more with the Bill Cunliffe Quartet.

AUG. 28: BYRON STRIPLING-BOBBY FLOYD QUARTET with Joe Labarbera and Bruce Forman.

SEPT. 4: EMMET COHEN TRIO and “The Wonder From Down Under” James Morrison.

SEPT. 11: BARBARA MORRISON’S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION with The Peak Experience featuring Rickey Woodard.

SEPT. 18: THE TOM KUBIS BIG BAND returning Live & Unleashed with guest vocalist Nicole Kubis.


11 concerts for the price of 10. $299 General (open seating); $499 Blue (reserved), $628 Gold (reserved).

Individual seats: $29 General; $49 Blue; $62.

Special pricing: The Four Freshmen, John Pizzarelli Quartet, Emmet Cohen Trio and The Tom Kubis Big Band: $39/53/64

Tickets are available by calling (949) 759-5003 or going to

The Marriott is located at 900 Newport Center Dr., across from Fashion Island.

Hotel reservations at the special Sunset Jazz at Newport rate are being offered (space available). Sunday thru Thursday each of the performance weeks at $169 standard/$194 ocean view. Self-parking: $10 for each Wednesday and $15 overnight; Wine corkage: $25. No outside food allowed.


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