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Jazz on the greens

Posted: September 6, 2008 9:18 p.m.
Updated: November 8, 2008 5:00 a.m.

San Diego saxophonist JB Saxx performs during the Santa Clarita Jazz Festival on Saturday afternoon at Valencia Country Club

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With the jazz music of JB Saxx filling the air at the Valencia Country Club, Montoya Rachal and her husband Louis sat in their chairs on Saturday afternoon, relaxing with each note they heard.

The Torrance couple said it was their first time at a jazz festival in Santa Clarita, but they're no strangers to the style of music.

"We always go to a lot of jazz festivals in the L.A. area," she said.

After hearing about the Santa Clarita Jazz Festival, the two decided to take a drive to see Joyce Coolings perform live.

"We've seen them in concert," she said.

The Rachals were joined by about a thousand other jazz fans who gathered at the Valencia golf course to listen to jazz performers like Kim Waters, the Urban Jazz Coalition and Phyllis Battle perform during the festival sponsored by The Russ Group.

Up to 2,000 people were expected to attend the event, according to Van Russ, promoter for The Russ Group.

Although "mini festivals" that generally ran in the evenings had been held over the past four years at The Paseo Club in Valencia, Russ said Saturday marked the first all-day jazz event.

"We're really excited about the possibility," he said.

Part of the proceeds went towards the Child & Family Center, a local nonprofit organization that provides service to low-income families.

Back at the festival, Lucilla Gonzalez-Borik found a shady spot on the grass to catch a view of JB Saxx.

The Santa Ana resident, who came with her sister Angie Tarrats of Los Angeles, is a big fan of "old school jazz" and was happy to enjoy the music.

During his performance, JB Saxx carried the music off stage and into the audience. While playing the saxophone, JB Saxx mingled with fans, shaking hands, laying on picnic blankets and dancing in the aisles.

Gonzalez-Borik was impressed.

"He went into jazz mode," she said.

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