July 14, 2016 by Helen Borgers

Bill Cunliffe 1

Photo courtesy of Bill Cunliffe

Exciting and diverse! These are good words to describe the talents and performances of Bill Cunliffe. His interests and influences range from Bach to melodies for children to Gershwin to American Musicals to Pop to his own compositions and arrangements. He is a Grammy winner, along with having won numerous other awards, including the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. He played in the Buddy Rich band, doing two tours of Europe with Frank Sinatra.  He has worked with Ray Brown, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Art Farmer, James Moody, and Joshua Redman. And he leads numerous ensembles of various sizes, from trios to big bands, sometimes plays solo, and guests with notable orchestras around the world.


From Bill's recent release, Playground Swing, a jazz album of melodies for children 

On August 3rd, from 6pm to 8:30pm, Bill will bring his group, Imaginacion, to the Sunset Jazz at Newport Summer Series at the Newport Beach Marriot Hotel and Spa. The program is called “From Rio to Havana,” and will feature music inspired by Brazil and Cuba, some from Bill’s own pen, some from Brazilian and Cuban composers.

The tune, "Havana," from Bill's Imaginacion 

Along with some of the best players in any genre,

Kye Palmer, trumpet

Francisco Torres, trombone

Rob Hardt, reeds

Jerry Watts, bass

Dick Weller, drums

Giancarlo Anderson, percussion

Bill will play piano, and guest vocalist Carol Bach-y-Rita will sit in.

Carol Bach-y-Rita singing "Eu Vim Da Bahia" from her album, What Love Is 

KJazz has a special premium available for a short time (due to limited numbers), offering you a pair of blue tickets (preferred seating) for this swinging evening of music in the Rose Garden at the Newport Beach Mariott. It’s a beautiful, outdoor venue, with tables and chairs, overlooking the rolling green hills of a golf course, and beyond that is the ocean. The sun goes down as the music is playing, and there’s a gentle breeze, as you enjoy music meant to be heard by the seaside. It’s the perfect way to spend a summer evening AND help KJazz bring you the music you love on the radio!


Bill's arrangement of "Heat Wave" from Imaginacion. 

A $90.00 donation will make you a member of KJazz for a whole year, with all the member perks, and give you this terrific night of jazz.


Doors open at 5pm, and there’s table service available, offering a great menu and lots of beverages. More details about the Sunset Jazz at Newport Summer Series is available here or at (949)759-5003.

On-air personality, Helen Borgers, can be heard on KJazz 88.1 FM from 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday. As a jazz broadcaster, Helen has been invited to give pre-concert lectures at various performing arts centers, served on panels in jazz conventions all over the world, and lectured about the history of jazz in middle schools, high schools, and colleges. She has also written articles for international jazz publications and regularly emcees concerts, festivals, and club dates throughout southern California.

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