Photo and Text By Ricky Richardson
Los Angeles - The beautiful, well manicured lawn of the Playboy Mansion was the perfect setting for the annual Playboy Jazz Festival Press Conference. Los Angeles County High School For The Arts Jazz Combo- Daniel Richardson-saxophone, Greg Diaz-trumpet, Michael McTaggart-guitar, Christopher Bowers-keyboards, Garrett Lang-bass and Max Wrightson-drums provided entertainment for the arriving guest.
This year's line-up is as eclectic as ever with a mixture of musical genres to please everyone who will attend the 28th Annual Playboy Jazz Festival, presented in co-operation with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.
The birth place of jazz will be celebrated at this year?s event. Several well known musicians from the Crescent City - New Orleans will be featured performers to the delight of festival goers. The entourage from New Orleans consists of Branford Marsalis Quartet (from the first family of jazz), Elvis Costello and The Imposters featuring piano and songs of legendary Allen Toussaint with his New Orleans Horn Section - The River in Reverse Tour 2006. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band will play some early traditional/Dixieland jazz. Expect to see impromptu Secondline dancing throughout the Bowl.
The Playboy Jazz Festival will feature a marvelous smorgasbord of world music. Senegalese master musician Baabal Maal featuring Daande Lenol, The Spanish Harlem Orchestra is considered one of the pillars of contemporary Latin music, Latin pianist Eddie Palmieri and His Afro-Caribbean Jazz All-Stars with special guest violinist Regina Carter and saxophonist David Sanchez. The powerful concoction of Latin flavored jazz mix with funk and salsa explains why Ozomatli is making their fourth appearance at the Playboy Jazz Festival within the last 10 years.
The jazz purist has a lot to be proud of this year. Singer and pianist Jamie Cullum is an up and coming crooner that will please the crowd. Jazz legend and trailblazer tenor saxophonist Benny Golson Quartet, as well as the Golden Striker Trio - feature three legends that has performed with a who?s who of the jazz world. This trio consists of Ron Carter, Mulgrew Miller and Russell Malone. Los Angeles based Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with Vibraphonist Stefon Harris will perform a tribute to Milt Jackson. Hiromi is a sensational pianist from Japan guaranteed to mesmerize the audience the same way she has mesmerize the jazz community. The Cos of Good Music featuring a stellar group of musicians such as Dwayne Bruno, Ndugu Chancler, Gerald Clayton, Kevin Eubanks, and Steve Turre. McCoy Tyner Trio with the Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Lesa Terry and the Women's Jazz Orchestra of Los Angeles and Elder Edward Babb and the McCollough Sons of Thunder.
Fans of popular contemporary, smooth jazz will be in for a treat this year. The atmosphere at the Bowl will "Feels So Good" with the long awaited debut of trumpet great Chuck Mangione who will captivate the crowd with his boundless energy and the pure joy that one feels while listening to his live performance as well as his recordings on previous CDs. Renowned bassist Stanley Clarke/George Duke Project will liven up the afternoon with a funk driven set. "Groovin For Grover" is a celebration of the music of Grover Washington Jr. featuring Gerald Albright, Jeff Lorber and Kirk Whalum. This show will benefit The Grover Washington Jr. Protect The Dream Foundation.
Finally, the 28th Annual Playboy Jazz Festival organizers believe in encouraging and supporting up and coming jazz musicians. The future of jazz will be represented with the dynamic sounds of Elder Djangirov, trumpeter Christian Scott (From New Orleans), and the always entertaining Los Angeles County High School For the Arts Jazz Ensemble directed by Jason Goldman.
Everyone is happy that Mr. Bill Cosby has returned to be the Master of Ceremonies.
George Wein serves as the Producer of the Playboy Jazz Festival for the 28th consecutive year. Darlene Chan is Associate Producer for both the Playboy Jazz Festival and Festival Productions, Inc. Hugh Hefner is Executive Producer and Richard Rosenzweig is President of the Playboy Jazz Festival. Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is once again the official sponsor of the 28th Annual Playboy Jazz Festival. This is the organization?s fourth year sponsoring the festival.
Tickets for the Playboy Jazz Festival is available by mail order. You can call (310)450-1173 to request a mail order form or visit www.playboy.com/jazzfest.