Jon Mayer with Ernie Watts plays Pete Carlson’s Jazz for Jazz Lovers

On Thursday evening, February 12th, at 7:30 p.m. the Jon Mayer Quartet will take center stage at Pete Carlson’s Jazz for Jazz Lovers Series. Concert tickets are $25.00 students and active military are free. Pete Carlson’s Golf & Tennis is located at 73-741 Hwy 111 in Palm Desert. Non-profit concert proceeds benefits young musicians in the Coachella Valley.

The Jon Mayer quartet includes Jon Mayer on piano, Ernie Watts on saxophones, Chris Conner on bass, and Roy McCurdy on drums. These four world class musicians will perform straight ahead jazz with an emphasis on hard swinging be-bop music.

Jon Mayer, a New York native has been on the jazz scene since the mid 1950’s. He graduated from the famed High School of Music & Art in Manhattan and attended the Manhattan School of Music. Mayer was first influenced by Charlie Parker and played the alto sax. He later switched to the piano and played on the thriving New York jazz scene with Kenny Dorham, Tony Scott, Pete Laroca, and Ray Draper. Mayer has the distinction of recording with 2 of the greatest jazz saxophonists, Jackie Mclean, and John Coltrane. In the late 1950’s Jon worked in Paris, France with Chuck Isreals and Arnie Wise. He also performed at the Blue Note with Chet Baker, Kenny Clarke, and Pierre Michelot. Throughout the 60’s & 70’s Mayer played in New York and Europe with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Big Band, Dionne Warwick, Sarah Vaughn, and the Manhattan Transfer. Jon’s compositions have been recorded by Les McCann, Nancy Wilson, and others. Mayer played with Les McCann’s Magic Band, showing his artistry with a supple, relaxed rhythmic feel and keen sense of melodicism as a soloist. Like Charlie Parker, Mayer’s goal as an authentic musician is to play fast, clean, and the pretty notes. Mayer has recorded with Ron Carter, Billy Higgins, Ernie Watts, Jackie Ryan, and many others. Jon’s philosophy of playing is simple, he conveys the emotional range and feeling he perceives in the people he admired when he first started playing, like Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Carl Perkins, and Horace Silver. These musicians got Mayer’s endorphins kicking, opening up his psyche and making him want to do what these inspiring musicians have done with his own original voice. Mayer’s energy makes him search for new depths, to grow, and explore his potential. Jon Mayer has 10 recordings as a leader and has played on over a dozen other recordings.

Ernie Watts is a master of the saxophone and is one of the most prolific, versatile, and greatest living saxophonists. He has been playing over 50 years and has 18 recordings as a leader and played on over 500 recordings. He received a Grammy Award with the Charlie Haden Quartet. He has toured with the Rolling Stones, played in their film “Let’s Spend the Night Together”, and soloed on Frank Zappa’s “Grand Wazoo” album. Ernie has played every genre of music including jazz, R&B, rock, and pop. Watts attended Berklee College of Music on a Down Beat scholarship and toured with Buddy Rich’s Big Band. Ernie played with the U.S. state departments tour of Africa with Oliver Nelson’s group, and played in the Tonight Show Band under Doc Severinsen for 20 years. Ernie’s solo can be heard on Marvin Gaye’s original Motown albums in the 70’s, and was a first call player in the LA studios for 25 years. Watts has received 2 Grammy Awards as a jazz instrumentalist. Ernie recorded and toured with German composer Torston Dewinkle, played on the film “Grease” soundtrack, “The Color Purple”, and on the TV sitcom “Night Court”. Watts recording “Analog Man” won the 7th Annual Independent Musician Award for Best Jazz Album. Ernie worked on vocalist Kurt Ellings album entitled “Dedicated to You” which won a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Each year Ernie Watts tours Europe with his quartet, plays in Asia, and in summer jazz festivals all over the world. He produces music on his own Flying Dolphin record label for his bands in both US and Europe. Ernie is known for his unforgettable trademark sound.

Bassist Chris Conner from Toronto has been on the LA jazz scene for over 30 years. He has worked with Ed Bickert, Moe Koffman, Rick Wilkins, Pat Labarbera, Eugene Amaro, and Rob McConnell. Chris plays with the West Coast Blossom Bank Band, The LA Swing Savant Band, in international jazz festivals, The Hollis Gentry Acoustic Quartet, and the Bruce Cameron Latin Jazz Ensemble. Conner performs in most of San Diego, and LA’s top jazz venues. Chris arranges and composes, and has written for Bobby Caldwell, and Gary Puckett. Conner has toured and recorded with Johnny Hartman, Chet Baker, Freddie Hubbard, Sal Nistico, Bob Crosby, Buddy DeFranco, Phil Woods, Don Menza, Bill Holman’s Big Band, Katie Reed, and Oscar Peterson.
Drummer Roy McCurdy is a mainstay on the LA jazz scene. He began playing professionally at the age of 17 while attending the Eastman School of Music. McCurdy started with Roy Eldridge and Eddie Vinson, and later joined Art Farmer- Benny Golson’s Jazztet. Roy next played with the Mangione Jazz Brothers, Bobby Timmons, Betty Carter, Sunny Rollins, and Coleman Hawkins. McCurdy became a long standing member of Cannonball Adderley’s groups for over 10 years. He made 24 albums with the Adderley brothers, 18 with Cannonball, and 6 with brother Nat. McCurdy sites many influences like Louis Bellson, Shelly Mann, Sam Woodard, Buddy Rich, Papa Joe Jones, Philly Joe Jones, and the bands of Duke Ellington, Jimmy Lunceford, and Lionel Hampton. Roy has played or recorded with Count Basie, Wes Montgomery, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McCrae, Joe Williams, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, Art Pepper, John Heard, Ron McCurdy, Jackie Ryan, Joe Zawinul, and Blood Sweat and Tears. McCurdy has performed on nearly 200 recordings, and since 2010 is an adjunct professor in the jazz studies department of the Thornton School of Music at USC in Los Angeles.

Don’t miss this exciting evening of great jazz!!!