Jazz Stars Reunion

presented by: Oregon Coast Council for the Arts (OCCA)

Starts:Friday, March 15, 2013  7:30 PMEnds:Friday, March 15, 2013  10:00 PM

Ticket price is $25 per person, $15 for students, and are available at the Newport Performing Arts Center box office, 777 W. Olive St. in Newport, or by calling 541-265-ARTS (2787). Box office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour prior to performance times.


Newport Performing Arts Center

777 W. Olive Street
Newport, OR 97365

Event Description:

The "Jazz Stars Reunion" fundraiser at 7:30 p.m. Mar. 15, at the Newport Peforming Arts Center (PAC) will benefit the PAC acoustics upgrade and remodeling project. Hosted by Twylah Olson, this "reunion" features Gene Diamond, Mel Brown, John Bringetto, Jim Hughart, Yevette Stewart and Jof Lee. 

Gene Diamond (vocals) has performed on television, in concert halls, intimate nightclubs, jazz festivals, and on radio. Included in his stops is the Steve Allen Show, the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Allen Ludden's Gallery, and his own PBS show, "On Tour With Gene Diamond," which had a two-year run. He has appeared as featured vocalist with such groups as Ramsey Lewis Trio, Gene Harris and the Three Sounds, Quincy Jones' Orchestra, Bill Cosby and was an integral part of the Ray Charles Show for over two years. He tours annually with HB Barnum Orchestra, performing at the pleasure of the Canadian Parliament.

Mel Brownis a fixture on the Portland jazz scene and is known throughout the Northwest as a drummer, bandleader and educator. He's been labeled "the gentleman of jazz," and "the musician's musician." Mel performed with Motown legends Diana Ross and The Temptations before applying his distinctive style and consummate skill to the jazz idiom.  His passion is in working with college and high school students, wherein he began the Mel Brown Summer Workshop for student musicians in the l990s. He sees it as his job to "pass on" the knowledge he's received to younger players and enjoys doing it. Mel has served on the Board of the Portland Youth Philharmonic, performed a number of times with the Oregon Symphony and was named to the Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Fame in 1999.

John Bringetto plays trumpet, flugelhorn, saxophone, and flute, as well as performing on vocals. He has played the jazz chair in the Stan Kenton Neophonic, and has backed such singers as Nancy Wilson, John Davidson, Johnny Mathis, Bill Medley, Frankie Avalon and BB King.  After sailing around the world for 10 years playing music in many ports along the way, John and his wife sold their sailboat in Brisbane, Australia and moved to Newport, OR in 2009. An avid educator, John became Band/Choir Director of Newport High School, director of Lincoln Pops Big Band and has a jazz duo, Bringetto-Cameron Jazz Orchestra, which performs regularly along the Oregon Coast.

Bassist Jim Hughart lives in Southern California working primarily in the recording studios where he has participated in recording soundtracks on over 200 record albums, more than 300 motion pictures and countless television shows. He has been honored by National Academy of Recording Artists with the Most Valuable Player Award. He's played bass for Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee and Sammy Davis, Jr. - to name a few - and worked as music arranger and performer for Natalie Cole's "Unforgettable" album, touring with her for over eight years. 

Of special guest vocalist, Ms. Yevette Stewart, the late internationally known jazz critic Leonard Feather said: "Stewart is that rarity, a young singer who has jazz roots (a touch of Dinah Washington?), good taste in tunes and plenty, plenty of soul." Feather heard Stewart when she first came to Los Angeles as part of Christlieb's quartet. And he said in his review: "...Whoever said there were no real jazz singers coming up evidently has not heard Stewart."

The idea of treating the piano as another horn is an important facet of Jof Lee. After three decades of studies, performances, and appearances in venues through Canada, Europe, Japan and the U.S. while based at first in Colorado and then in New York, in the early 1980s Jof relocated to the Pacific Northwest, where he became the musical director/pianist for beloved Portland vocalist Marianne Mayfield, and in the late 1980s began a long and fruitful relationship with the legendary bassist Leroy Vinnegar. He currently works and travels with his own trio, or as a soloist, performing both domestically and internationally. 


Read more about: