First Takes: Good Vibes

JazzTrax Desert Festival and the Indian Wells Arts Festival



Mindi Abair and her lead guitarist Jay Gore perform at Big Bear Lake. Abair is on the lineup of musicians playing at Art Good’s JazzTrax Desert Festival during the Indian Wells Arts Festival.

Patricia Benter

Right: Mindi Abair and her lead guitarist Jay Gore perform at Big Bear Lake. Abair is on the lineup of musicians playing at Art Good’s JazzTrax Desert Festival during the Indian Wells Arts Festival.


After almost 20 years of producing the Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival, Art Good began a JazzTrax festival at Big Bear Lake. This year, Good (who moved to Palm Springs in 2002) inaugurates a JazzTrax Desert Festival in conjunction with the Fifth Annual Indian Wells Arts Festival (March 30-April 1).

In the last couple of hours of last year’s arts festival, organizer Dianne Funk was helping pack up the souvenir booth when Good walked up and started buying one of everything. They struck up a conversation and Funk said, “I want you to take a walk with me.”

“I took him around the venue, because I have been planning to have a music element for quite a few years,” she says. Good liked what he saw, particularly in the tennis courts.

“We just feel it’s the perfect match,” Funk says, laughing at her accidental pun.

Good lined up an impressive roster of smooth jazz talent for the three-days: Mindi Abair, Candy Dulfer, Paul Hardcastle & the Jazzmasters, Greg Karukas, Marion Meadows, Robert Parker Jr., Shilts, and Chris Standring. The sunken court will be filled with beach chairs, high-top tables, four rows of cushioned seats, and then bleachers.

Good’s reputation guarantees to bring the arts festival publicity and attendance well beyond the Coachella Valley. His weekly, five-hour radio show not only is syndicated nationally, but also is streamed online to an international audience. “You meet people from all over the world at JazzTrax festivals,” says Good, who also has produced jazz cruises and multiple-artist Christmas concert tours. His JazzTrax Desert Festival, however, is his first music event in association with an arts event. “I almost consider the [arts] festival my lead-on act.”

Also new to this year’s arts festival: a rock sculpture demonstration by David Falossi; a display of paintings incorporating Braille created to be touched by Judith Lepuschitz, who is donating a painting for silent auction to benefit Guide Dogs of the Desert and the Braille Institute (sponsored by Palm Springs Life); and a free chance to win a golf car donated by Fairway Golf Cars and painted by Snake Jagger.

Information: 346-0042 or www.iwaf.net; (866) TRAX-TIX or www.jazztrax.com.
Palm Springs Life

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