18th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival

Rainbow Promotions presents the 18th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival on the weekend of August 12th, 13th and 14th., 2005. The festival takes place again at the idyllic seaside setting of Rainbow Lagoon Park on Shoreline Drive in Long Beach, California. As the longest-running annual jazz festival in Southern California, the Long Beach Jazz Festival is poised to be the most exciting festival ever as Rainbow Promotions, guided by veteran concert promoter Al Williams, adds an international flavor to its mix of traditional and contemporary jazz.

Williams, who will also perform with his Al Williams Jazz Society on August 14, says of this year�s Long Beach Jazz Festival lineup: �Jazz has been embraced by the world for decades. It is only proper that the Long Beach Jazz Festival reflect that same love for such an enduring genre. We feel that this is one of the most exciting lineups in our proud history, and will also stand as one of the best we�ve ever presented.�

On August 12, japanese pianist Keiko Matsui brings her special brand of jazz to the festival, and is joined by popular Japanese-American jazz ensemble Hiroshima. Closing the first day is the Special Storm, featuring guitarist Norman Brown, soulful crooner Peabo Bryson, songwriter/vocalist/pianist Brenda Russell and the high-energy of saxophonist Everette Harp.

On August 13, afro-jazz stylist Hugh Masekela makes a rare Southern California appearance. Jazz vocalist Michael Franks, British jazz combo Down To The Bone, smooth jazz guitarist Chuck Loeb, bay area jazz guitarist Joyce Cooling bring their special flavor to the festival. And South Floridians Seville will perform a tribute to Motown. And on August 14, dynamic vocalist Rachelle Ferrell, urban soul artist Angie Stone, popular pianist Bob James, former Blackbyrds keyboardist Kevin Toney and the Al Williams Jazz Society featuring vocalist Barbara Morrison command the stage. The highlight of the last day of the Long Beach Jazz Festival is a tribute to the legendary Ray Charles, which will feature former members of his band, former members from his background vocal group the Raylettes, and special guests.

Tickets are available through Rainbow Productions at (562)-424-0013, or online at Ticketmaster.com. Vip tickets - $135 on Friday, and $160 per seat on Saturday and Sunday - include dinner, wine service and backstage access. Reserved box seating tickets are $50 on Friday and $65 per seat on Saturday and Sunday. General admission/lawn seating is $40 (prior to August 10) and $45 at the gate. Friday gates open at 5pm, with showtimes starting at 7pm. Saturday and Sunday gates open at 11:00am.

Bank of America returns as presenting sponsor of the 2005 Long Beach Jazz Festival. Other sponsors include Northrup Grumman, Budweiser, Alize, Jazziz Magazine, Charter Communications, Bet Jazz and Southwest Airlines. Co-sponsors include KTWV-FM, KKJZ-FM and KJLH-FM Los Angeles.

About Rainbow Promotions

Rainbow Promotions is the producer of the Long Beach Jazz Festival, the San Diego Smooth Jazz Festival and multi-mini-concerts presented year-round. For 18 years, Rainbow Promotions has presented the Long Beach Jazz Festival, the city�s second-largest event behind the Long Beach Grand Prix, and averages 30,000 in attendance over the three-day event. For more information regarding the Long Beach Jazz Festival, go to: www.longbeachjazzfestival.com, or www.rainbowpromotions.com.

Read my review of last year's 17th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival.