2 Foothill cities, 2 wine and jazz benefits, this Saturday only

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And there’s no reason to miss either free-flowing, beat-filled soiree.
Organizers of the Pasadena Wine Festival will offer free admission to anyone who shows a ticket for the nearby Sierra Madre Wine and Jazz Walk benefiting City of Hope.
“As far as we’re concerned, the big wine event (this weekend) is in Sierra Madre, because it goes to a great cause,” said Russ Meek, sommelier and managing partner of redwhite+bluezz, which, along with Pasadena Entertainment, produces the Pasadena Wine Festival. “Anyone who goes to that (one) gets into ours for free.”
Meek said he hopes the offer will encourage festival-goers to “cruise around” to both events benefiting deserving causes.

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Keeping cool: Pasadena Jazz Festival swings into the Arboretum

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Bring chairs, blankets and fellow music enthusiasts to the hottest coolest jazz extravaganza in the San Gabriel Valley.
This weekend, the 14th redwhite+bluezz Pasadena Jazz Festival will set up shop for a two-day outdoor concert at the scenic Arboretum.
Over the years, the festival has boasted more than 50 performances and 275,000 festival-goers, and this year seems no different.
Expect jazz with a twist — reinventing the tradition with a little bit of funk, blues, rock and more.
Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 28-29, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia. (626) 304-0333, coolpasadena.com

(File photo)

Lush scenes from the Pasadena Wine Festival at the Arboretum in Arcadia

>>EAT

The Pasadena Wine Festival took up residence for two evenings this weekend at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden. Attendant vinophiles shared the space with the Arboretum’s resident peacocks, while looking up at a backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains set off by a canopy of lights. Amid these surroundings, they sampled food and wine — lots of wine — from labels the world over. And they did this all night, for two nights, in a row. How did they ever stand it?

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(Photos by James Carbone / Correspondent)

That’s genius: By day, Kjerstin Williams is a robotics engineer; By night, she croons a smooth tune in Pasadena-area joints

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>>THINK

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Kjerstin Williams is the second of three geniuses featured in Rose Magazine’s cover story. If you’re not green with envy over her day job — working with robots at Applied Minds — then her night job ought to do the trick: she’s a jazz singer, and a good one, at that.

With her pixie-blond hair and bubbly personality (we dubbed her a RoboVixen) Williams resides somewhere on the bridge between science and art — a spectrum that’s often at play on the Caltech campus, where science reigns supreme, but a musical subculture has thrived.

Williams has even performed at Carnegie Hall with the Caltech-Occidental Concert Band.

She harmonizes regularly around town with The Conspirators, a quartet of Caltech musicians. At top and below is a photo series by Jonathan Prentice of a recent session at the Pasadena Jazz Institute.

Swing along and read the full story on Williams in Rose Magazine.

Also check out Williams’ Web site for a performance calendar and to listen to some of her tunes. She’s already rolled out the red carpet for you.

For a firsthand glimpse into the playful duality of Williams’ life, follow her on Twitter.

Portrait by Walt Mancini. Performance photos by Jonathan Prentice: Kjerstin Williams and The Conspirators perform at the Pasadena Jazz Institute in July. Laurence Yeung on guitar, Jim Van Deventer on tenor sax, Jimi Hawes on upright bass, Michael Ferrara on drums and special guest Bill Watrous on the trombone.


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Pasadena Jazz Institute says farewell to Paseo Colorado, searches for new joint

>>GO

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Pasadena Weekly has the details on Pasadena Jazz Institute‘s move from the Paseo Colorado mall to … well, somewhere.

“… on Saturday, following performances by the eight-piece band The Big
Pill
, the PJI’s lease expires, forcing (owner Paul) Lines to close up shop and look
for another location.”

After three years of music-making in the massive restaurant space that used to house Delmonico’s Seafood Grill, Paseo’s management has found a permanent tenant, reports Andr Coleman in the Weekly.

“The space, slated to become a banquet hall after Lines and company
leave, was certainly roomy enough, but the increased wait time for
drinks and appetizers produced a financially detrimental domino effect:
Customers unhappy with waiting left smaller tips, which brought
turnover among bar staff, resulting in less rapport developing with
bartenders and servers, all ending with fewer customers.”

But first, there’s this weekend’s mini-farewell tour:

Friday, “Come To A Jazz Party,” with performances by five bands: Elizabeth Lamers, The Bill Watrous Quartet, The Matt Falker Trio, The San Gabriel 7 and Nick Mancini Collective. Music starts at 6 p.m.

The Big Pill will headline Saturday’s final-ever show — the true requiem for Pasadena’s jazz dream.

Cost is $10 at both events. Think of it as a memorial offering.

Pasadena Jazz Institute, Paseo Colorado, 280 E. Colorado Blvd., Ste. 206, but not for long. (626) 398-3344

(File photos)