By Ricky Richardson
Pasadena - The 3rd Annual Jazzy Jam-Pasadena: Education for Empowerment Benefit Concert was held on Saturday, May 14, 2011. This worthy benefit concert with the proceeds supporting enrichment programs for children and youth served by Charity Events LA and Flintridge Center was held in Central Park on a cool, overcast day.
An enthusiastic crowd was in attendance at Pasadena's Central Park, which is experiencing a cultural revival with the return of the 3rd Annual Jazzy Jam Pasadena.
The crowd and I were having a church going experience in the Park. The Pasadena City Wide Gospel Choir directed by Pastor Jonathan DeCuir and Carolyn Hopkins replenished our spiritual needs with the following uplifting songs "Souled Out," "Psalm 3," "I Won't Forget It," and "Put a Little Love in Your Heart."
Rapid Reponse were making a return engagement to the Jazzy Jam Pasadena. This professional group consists of Pasadena employees from the Police, Fire and various departments for the city. They took the crowd down memory lane with a set of Old School R&B/Rock & Roll. The crowd eagerly travelled with the band on "Boogie Oogie," "Black Coffee in Bed," "Funky Stuff," "Don't Ask My Neighbor," "Get Ready," and concluded their set with "Rock Steady."
The Supa Lowery Brothers featuring brothers Christopher on trumpet and Wesley on drums. The group were outstanding on their arrangements of "Little Sunflower," and "Funky Good Time."
Vessel(s) & The Band brought an uplifting message in the form of fusion of Worship/Inspirational/Contemporary Christian songs on "This is The Day The Lord Has Made," "I Just Want to Say Thank You," and "I'm Going to Keep Pressing On."
The Jazzy Jam Band, directed by bassist Cornelius Mimms presented a delightful variety show with an all-star group of special guests. Vocalist/guitarist Kori Withers, daughter of legendary singer Bill Withers performed two original tunes. Keep your eyes and ears on the look out for more from this talented young lady in the near future. Cornelius and the band took it up a notch on "Boogie Night," "Rock Steady" featuring Sherine Netters working this tune inside and out, followed by "Soulchestral," "You Got Me," and "Little Sunflower" with violinist Karen Briggs. If that wasn't enough Evelyn "Champagne" King and smooth jazz guitarist Freddie Fox were great on "Happy Feelings," "Love Come Down," and "Shame," with the audience singing along to these oldies but goodies.
Johnny Polanco and Su Conjunto Amistad provided infectious, rhythmic, multilayered Latin music that brought out the salseros to the dance floor. Mr. Polanco is adept at playing thirteen different instruments. He played the trombone, tres and vibraphone on this gig.
Mainstream/Contemporary jazz saxophonist Everette Harp closed out the festival with hits from his extended catalog.
Jazzy Jam-Pasadena was produced by Jacqueline Snell-Brown for Charity Events LA, in partnership with the City of Pasadena, and sponsored by US Band, Old Pasadena Management District, Pasadena Star-News, Rose Magazine, Pasadena Scene, Studio City Sound, Pasadena Water & Power, SEP Music, and AT&T.