Shelia E., the percussionist who was once Prince’s musical director, will make her first local appearance since her former fiance's death at a new North County outdoor concert series.
Inspired by a sold-out David Benoit trial concert last summer, a Fallbrook venue known mostly for weddings and catered events has launched an outdoor series called the “Grand Tradition Jazz and Wine Festival.”
A music-and-fireworks show featuring Top 40/oldies bands the Heroes and Tizer is set for July 4 on the grounds of the Grand Tradition Estate and Gardens in Fallbrook. Grammy-nominated sax player Mindi Abair and Jazz in Pink appear August 7. Latin-flavored funk percussionist Shelia E. (with David Maldonaldo) appears September 17.
Talent coordinator Michael Pritchard, known for booking the now-closed Anthology in Little Italy and Yoshi’s in Oakland, will book the festival’s lineup. He says he hopes the series will grow each year as the Grand Tradition continues to work around its special events. “They sometimes have two or three weddings a day,” he tells the Reader.
Pritchard says he was introduced to the 30-acre Grand Tradition as a possible venue by longtime smooth-jazz DJ Kelly Cole. “We tried our first show last summer with David Benoit and Jane Monheit,” and sold all 2000 tickets, says Pritchard. “We far exceeded what we thought we could do.”
Perhaps the Grand Tradition and Pritchard were inspired to make a move into concerts with the success of the Champagne Jazz series at Thornton Winery in Temecula. That series celebrates its 28th year this year with headliners like Herb Albert/David Benoit, George Benson, Kenny G, Dave Koz, and Dave Sanborn. Thornton Winery, however, only seats 800.
Pritchard says the Grand Tradition Jazz and Wine fest will have folding chair lawn seating similar to Humphreys Concerts by the Bay.
1602 South Mission Road, Fallbrook
“Our long-term goal is to develop a series of 20 to 30 shows each summer that offer as diverse a style of music as Humphrey’s. In this day and age you have to appeal to different niche markets. But first we have to establish an identity as a series. Humphrey’s has been very successful at getting huge acts [Steely Dan, Steve Miller, Bob Dylan] that normally would never play a place that small.”
Tickets for the Grand Tradition Jazz and Wine Festival, are $35 to $65 and are available through grandtradition.com.
Shelia E. is the niece of two famous San Diego musicos. Javier Escovedo cofounded San Diego's premier ’70s punk band the Zeros. Uncle Mario sang and played guitar in the Dragons (1991-2005).