MINDI ABAIR; "Stars" (Peak Records) ****

Today is the final day for Salt Lake City International Jazz Festival. But there will still be a lot of music from the 4 p.m. opening to the final note at about 11 p.m.

The Chase Baird Group, the Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra, Trancha and Rick Braun and Richard Elliot will take the stage today.

Also on the bill is Ellis Hall & the Truth featuring saxophonist Mindi Abair.

Abair's smooth sax has been heard in songs by Mandy Moore and the Backstreet Boys, but her solo work is her pride and joy.

Her 2006 CD, "Life Less Ordinary," debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz Chart, and her follow-up solo CD, "Stars," peaked at No. 4.

Abair's sax and vocals are a bright sunshine mix that endears the audience to her grooving compositions. "Stars," like its predecessor, is a mix of instrumental and vocal-fronted tunes. And they all definitely lie in the smooth-jazz sound.

Still, there is something about the contagious melodies and her rhythm & blues sensibilities that makes it hard not to start the CD over once it ends.

In fact, after the show tonight (Abair is scheduled to hit the Yardbird Stage at 8:20 p.m.), there will undoubtedly be a bunch of new Abair fans looking for "Stars."

If you go ...

What: Salt Lake City International Jazz Festival

Where: Washington Square, 400 South and State Street

When: today

How much: $10 at the gate


E-mail: [email protected]