Music With a Message

The Gardens on El Paseo strikes up its 20th annual concert series.

Stephen Cipoletto Arts & Entertainment

The Gardens on El Paseo's 20th annual concert series closes with shows on March 3, 10, and 17 in Palm Desert.

The music of the Coachella Valley is as accessible as the lawn in front of Saks Fifth Avenue at The Gardens on El Paseo in Palm Desert.

With tickets at just $15, the Gardens’ 20th annual concert series is easy on the pocket, as well as the ears, and each concert benefits local charities. “It’s a great cause,” says marketing and office coordinator Deja Kreutzberg, “and a great value. Good wine, light bites, plus music — and all of it local.”

All music talent for the series hails from the valley, and many have deeply planted roots in the desert. The lineup this year will bring the soul, jazz, blues, and of course, the funk. But this is typically a sit-down event; dancing is not likely to break out unless someone is particularly moved — and that just may happen with these artists, whose melodious methods may make a body mambo ’neath the stars.

The Smooth Brothers headline the March 3 event, which benefits Desert AIDS Project. The band serves bluesy jazz piping-hot, as Dave Thomasson is pound-for-pound one of the best sax players around, backed by the guitar of John Carey and the keys of Theo Coakley.

Benefitting Angel View, the John Stanley King Band showcases its bottomless well of musical grit on March 10. They are apt to segue from “Hound Dog” into “A Horse With No Name” into “Sway” by Michael Bublé — and somehow, they make it work, rendered in their trademark rock’n’soul.


The Gardens on El Paseo concert series spotlights Coachella Valley music talent.

Will Donato closes the concert series March 17. If you have any question about his funk sensibility, check out clips of his band playing Portugal’s 2016 Algarve Jazz Festival. A few seconds will tell you he can sense the funk a mile away. The show benefits the United Cerebral Palsy of the Inland Empire.

Each concert is one hour; tickets are sold the day of the event. The wine starts flowing at 5:15 p.m., just enough time to relax before the music begins at 6.

The Gardens on El Paseo Concert Series,

For more information on El Paseo, visit