Written by The Jazz Gypsy
THIS YEAR’S THEME “JAZZ – THE WAY U LIKE IT!” SUPERSTAR PERFORMANCE ROSTER SWINGS FROM CHARLIE WILSON, KEM, THE WHISPERS AND AMEL LARRIEUX TO MICHAEL FRANKS, BRIAN CULBERTSON, EVERETTE HARP AND JACKIEM JOYNER SPECIAL PAIRINGS OF KIM WATERS & KENNY LATTIMORE and “SMOOTH SIDE OF SOUL” FEATURING NAJEE & ALEX BUGNON with HOWARD HEWETT
Rainbow Promotions presents the 24th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival, Friday-Sunday August 12-14, 2011, a festive summertime setting at Rainbow Lagoon Park in Long Beach. In keeping with this year’s people-pleasing theme, “Jazz—The Way You Like It,” Rainbow Promotions has once again prepared the perfect cross pollination of “fan favorites” from the worlds of contemporary jazz and R&B to tantalize the tastes of the festival’s perennial attendees.
This year’s mighty line-up features electrifying legendary singer Charlie Wilson (former member of the GAP Band), Quiet Storm popular artist KEM, thrilling bandleader/multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson, the magnificently mellow Michael Franks, slow jam treasures The Whispers, all-around jazz sax master Everette Harp, plus two very special pairings : smooth groovin’ saxophonist Kim Waters with R&B singer Kenny Lattimore and the “Smooth Side of Soul,” collaboration with saxophone legend Najee, veteran piano man Alex Bugnon and R&B crooner supreme Howard Hewett. And that’s just a taste of a three-day musical feast!
As one of Southern California’s longest running and eagerly anticipated annual music events, the Long Beach Jazz Festival brings music lovers from around the world –year after year- with its always dynamic blend of sounds and unique coastal venue offering relaxation for every generation. A family affair, party people of all ages enjoy the festival grounds, the various food vendors with mouthwatering multi-cultural on-site prepared delights and desserts and, of course, some of the finest music and top artists for everyone’s listening pleasure.
Veteran promoter and musician Al Williams, as is his tradition, will be gracing the stage on Sunday afternoon with his eclectic Al Williams Jazz Society, celebrating the popularity of their latest CD, Something to Groove About. Williams states, “More than ever before, we really listened to the people to bring them the jazz and jazzy R&B stars they love the best. I truly believe this is one of the most exciting 3-day lineups we’ve had in quite some time…and we’ve had some thrillers!”
On Friday August 12, Brian Culbertson brings his full throttle band of rhythm and horns as the headliner of opening night, followed by jazzy R&B mavericks “Smooth Side of Soul featuring Najee, Howard Hewett and Alex Bugnon. The evening will begin at sundown with the sweet sounds of singer/songwriter Kori Withers (daughter of the R&B griot Bill Withers, as seen in his acclaimed new documentary, “Still Bill”).
On Saturday August 13, romance and reminiscing will fill the air with soulful swingin’ harmonies of The Whispers, poetic jazz man Michael Franks (who will be drawing from his latest release Time Together), the dynamic duo of Kim Waters & Kenny Lattimore, jazzy neo soul princess Amel Larrieux, and effervescent sax great Everette Harp (playing straight ahead and contemporary jazz). The day will begin with the heartbeat of the drums as the Long Beach Jazz Festival presents this year’s winner of “The Next Great Drummer!”
On Sunday August 14, soul lovers will be knocked out by the one-two punch of adopted “LBC” Godfather Charlie Wilson and firmly established superstar KEM. Jazz will be in plentiful supply thanks to Al Williams’ Jazz Society and urban jazz up-and-comer saxophonist Jackiem Joyner, plus horn-fortified funkologists Down to the Bone, and this year’s winner of the festival’s annual “Jazz Search” Winner (tba).
Tickets are available through Rainbow Promotions at (562) 424-0013, or online at www.longbeachjazzfestival..com VIP tickets--$155 on Friday and $180 per seat on Saturday and Sunday—include dinner and wine service. Reserved box seat tickets are $60 on Friday and $75 per seat on Saturday and Sunday. General admission/lawn seating is $45 (prior to August 5th) and $50 at the gate. Friday-Gates open at 5pm. Saturday and Sunday-Gates open at 11:00am.
This year’s sponsors for the 24th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival are US Bank, Budweiser and Charter Communications
About Rainbow Promotions
Rainbow Promotions is the producer of the Long Beach Jazz Festival and other concerts throughout the year. For 23 years, Rainbow Promotions has presented the Long Beach Jazz Festival, one of the city’s major events. For more information regarding the Long Beach Jazz Festival, go to www.longbeachjazzfestival.com or www.rainbowpromotions.com