Joyous Jazz at Long Beach Jazz Festival

By Ricky Richardson

Long Beach - The 28th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival was held Friday, August 7th through Sunday, August 9, 2015.

This premiere Southern California jazz festival of the summer took place on the well-manicured, grassy knoll of the Rainbow Lagoon Park, blessed with soothing sunshine and pleasant ocean breezes.

Presented by Rainbow Promotions, this MAHVELOUS jazz festival drew a multi-cultural diverse crowd of music lovers. Thousands attended the festival all three days, or a portion, to picnic, mingle, and dance or to relax,

Yes, the party people arrived prepared to groove & jam to wonderful soundtrack of jazz, contemporary jazz, Latin jazz, Soul and Neo-soul.

Friday evening, we kicked off the weekend while enjoying the amazing musical artistry of Mark Allen Felton, The Stanley Clarke Band, Earl Klugh and Jeff Bradshaw & Friends featuring Chrisette Michele and Frank McComb.

Saturday, Day 2 - the extended play CD was provided by the lively sounds of Andrew Gouche, Jazz All-Stars with Marc Antoine, Brian Simpson and Jackiem Joyner, Down to the Bone, Eric Darius, Jonathan Butler, Stephanie Mills and Brian Culbertson on the Main Stage.

Kevin O'Neal Quartet played an outstanding set of straight-ahead jazz on the McDonald's Pavilion Stage. He also gave a comical shout out to the fellow bass players on the line-up.

The B-side of the Long Beach Jazz Festival LP continued without skipping a beat courtesy of Marcus Johnson, Mara Hruby, Al Williams Jazz Society with the power house, show stopper Barbara Morrison, Keiko Matsui, Gerald Albright, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds. Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band closed out the show. The band had the audience sashaying (dancing) to the parking lot with some picante sauce in their steps.

The McDonald's Pavilion Stage was jamming with The Euro Zambrano Trio, Lotis Jackson and Britt J, Rick Parma & Chitown Soul featuring Marian Marie and JMD Band.

"A Healthy Taste of Jazz" at the Jazz, Health and Wellness Pavilion is just what the good doctor ordered in the prescribed measured amount. Jazz patrons were educated, engaged and empowered with the tools for leading a healthier life. Dr. Parthenia Grant moderated an inspiring, uplifting panel entitled "Transforming Health Care Through Telemedicine" featuring a distinguished panel - Kiki Shepard, Founder of the K.I.S. Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes awareness of Sickle Cell Disease and research to find a cure. Karen Davis, MD, Medical Consultant for the California Telehealth Network, and Eric Brown, President and CEO of the California Telehealth Network (CTN). CTN is the leading agency in California focused on connecting people to help improve access to quality, affordable healthcare through innovative use of technology and broadband services.