The Muckenthaler Jazz Festival

If you’re a fan of outdoor concerts but don’t fancy the ticket prices or parking shenanigans of the Irvine Amphitheater, the Muckenthaler Jazz Festival is bound to strike a chord with you.

Created by a plethora of jazz pioneers, such as Howard Rumsey, Dr. Glenn Cashman and Eric Fütterer, the Muckenthaler Jazz Festival has been drawing Grammy-Award winning musicians like Llew Matthews and Bill Cunliffe since its inception seven years ago. And throughout the next six weeks, an exceptional line-up of musicians will be making appearances at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1999.

The perfect setting for such an event, the Muck is an 18-room villa on 8.5 acres of Fullerton soil that was donated by Harold Muckenthaler in 1965. Each year, it produces more than 100 performances, gallery exhibits and classes, en route to serving more than 30,000 people.

“We offer extraordinary exhibitions, performances and engaging educational programs to Orange County’s diverse communities and beyond,” their website reveals. “We are a celebration of the human spirit through the arts.”

Sponsored by Fütterer, a celebrity voice teacher, the Muckenthaler Jazz Festival will commence on Thursday, May 24, at 7:30, with the Carl Saunders Quartet. In the weeks that follow, a different group will take the stage every Thursday night until Glenn Cashman and his Southland Big Band, which features Los Angeles’ top jazz and studio performers, close out the series on June 28.

The complete schedule is as follows: May 24, the Carl Saunders Quartet; May 31, Gonzalo Bergara; June 7, Luther Hughes & the Cannonball Coltrane Project; June 14, Tom Ranier Trio with Abe Laborial & Steve Schaffer; June 21, Dale Boatman & the California Jazz Arts Society (CalJAS) Allstars; and June 28, Glenn Cashman and The Southland.

The Carl Saunders Quartet, which is led by one of the most talked about jazz trumpeters of the 90’s, features bop-based improvisation and “long lines of perfectly placed notes, created in an unpredictable but ultimately logical fashion,” said LA Jazz Scene’s Scott Yanow.

Guitarist Gonzalo Bergara, who blends Blues, Latin and Swing, leads a quartet that’s heavily influenced by Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club of France, traditional Jazz and a hint of his native land, Buenos Aires.

Luther Hughes & the Cannonball Coltrane Project, a group that originally formed as an homage to the 1959 Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago, are best known for transporting their audience into the past via arrangements and original compositions inspired by jazz giants Adderley and John Coltrane.

The Tom Ranier Trio, comprised of Ranier on piano, Abe Laborial on bass and Steve Schaffer on drums, will join forces for a collaboration that’s sure to be rich in style and musicianship.

Local vocalist/guitarist Dale Boatman, who’s also the president and founder of The California Jazz Arts Society (CalJAS), will share the stage with the best musicians from the CalJAS, which is a non-profit and charitable corporation that promotes and helps fund music programs for students and the general public.

Glenn Cashman and his Southland Big Band will close out the festival on June 28. Known for his free-wheeling, compositional approach to improvisation, the saxophonist has been inspired mostly by Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter and Coltrane.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 on the day of the concert, and $100 for the entire series.

With the right venue, affordable prices and a wonderfully talented group of musicians, there’s no reason not to check out the Muckenthaler Jazz Festival.

For questions about the event, please contact or dial 866-411-1212.



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