In Music

Grammy-winning jazz guitarist Norman Brown will take the stage at 3 p.m. on Sunday. (PHOTO: Norman Brown Facebook)

4 award-nominated must-see acts at the Fresh Coast Jazz Festival

One day might already be in the books for the brand new Fresh Coast Jazz Festival, but the smooth sounds are by no means ready to start taking their Labor Day vacation. In fact, the backend of the festival features arguably some of the event's biggest names – or at least some of its most awarded and nominated performers, including multiple Grammy winners and a total of more than 20 nominations scattered across the four remaining headliner acts.

To help learn more about these exceptional musicians, here's four remaining major acts at the Fresh Coast Jazz Festival – and why you have to tune in this holiday weekend.

Ronnie Laws

Getting his start in the '70s on the famed Blue Note Records, Ronnie Laws has maintained a spot as one of the country's finest jazz musicians across almost half a century, playing his sax across 18 albums and performing along greats like B.B. King, Quincy Jones and more. His work even helped inspire one of his fellow performers at this year's Fresh Coast Jazz Festival, Sunday headliner Norman Brown. And if he's good enough for a Grammy winner, he's good enough for you to see during this special Midwest stop.

Ronnie Laws will perform at Uihlein Hall at the Marcus Center at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31.

Lee Ritenour

Lee Ritenour has been a prolific jazz guitarist across four decades, releasing more than 30 albums over that time and also earning 16 Grammy nominations – including a win in 1985 for Best Arrangement on an Instrumental for "Early A.M. Attitude" off his album "Harlequin." And in case that wasn't enough of a resume, he spent much of his early career as a hired gun studio session guitarist, playing alongside The Mamas & The Papas, Tony Bennett and even contributing to Pink Floyd's iconic "The Wall," on the track "Run Like Hell." And you should run like hell to make it to this impressive headliner show on Saturday night.

Lee Ritenour will perform at Uihlein Hall at the Marcus Center at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31

Raul Midón

Raul Midón may not have the long prolific careers yet of the previous two acts, but the flamenco-tinted musician has already cemented himself as one of the most impressive and notable big names in the genre.

Getting his start as a session singer for Latin music stars like Shakira, Jose Feliciano and more, Midón released his debut album – "Gracias a la Vida" – in 1999 and since then contributed a song to Spike Lee's film "She Hate Me," performed on high-profile shows like "The Late Show with David Letterman" and netted back-to-back Grammy nominations in the Best Vocal Jazz Album category for "Bad Ass and Blind" and "If You Really Want" in 2017 and 2018. Oh, and he's done all of that while blind since birth. Come witness for yourself during his Sunday showcase that hearing is believing.

Raul Midón will perform at 1:30 p.m. at Uihlein Hall at the Marcus Center on Sunday, Sept. 1.

Norman Brown

What's better than seeing two Grammy-nominated jazz performers in a single weekend? How about three Grammy-nominated jazz performers? Indeed, the first annual Fresh Coast Jazz Festival will come to a golden finish with contemporary jazz and R&B star Norman Brown, whose scored two Best Pop Instrumental Album nominations across his impressive career – including one win in 2002 for his work on "Just Chillin'." Awards are just a part of his achievement, however, as he's performed with the likes of Dave Koz and Boney James, and collaborated with Stevie Wonder and Boyz II Men.

And here's an odd fun fact: If you've ever watched The Weather Channel, you've likely heard a little of his work as he's contributed music to the network's "Local on the 8s" segments and more. As for your entertainment forecast this weekend, there better be a 100 percent chance of Norman Brown.

Norman Brown will perform at 3 p.m. at Uihlein Hall at the Marcus Center on Sunday, Sept. 1.


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