The Playboy Jazz Festival Free Community Concert Series returned to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, Sunday, June 2nd. This was the second concert of the series leading up to the 35th Anniversary Playboy Jazz Festival at the historic, landmark Hollywood Bowl, Fathers Day Weekend, June 15-16, 2013.
A capacity crowd attended this free outdoor event that was held on the newly remodeled Entertainment Promenade, outside of the RAVE Theaters, on a beautiful sunny, Sunday afternoon. Sharron King, Capri Capital Partners and Jason Lombard, Community Outreach Director/Media Relations-Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza were present to enjoy the marvelous concert.
The show got underway with some Old School Jams played by DJ Paradise who had the crowd dancing before the show as well as between bands, with Tammy Mack KJLH Radio 102.3FM serving as Mistress of Ceremonies.
The entertainment portion of the program got underway with an exciting set by Harmony Project Jazz Ensemble directed by Amos Delone. Harmony Project motto is "Building healthier lives and communities through music. " This wonderful, engaging project offers hope and creative outlets through music for youths in various schools, from different cultural backgrounds.
The group performed a diverse mix of classical jazz and bossa nova. Their set list featured covers of various jazz standards and a classic pop tune on the songs "Chameleon" by Herbie Hancock mixed in with "Swan Lake." They continued with "Wonderful World" featuring vocalist Darryn Dean, who has already landed some professional gigs in the past. "Song for My Father" by Horace Silver, "Meditation," "with a solo by keyboardist Jamael Dean, who also has his own jazz group. These are the grandkids of world famous drummer Donald Dean. They concluded their set with "We Are Family," by Sister Sledge. We all felt like family on this Sunday afternoon.
Several thousand people came to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in historic Leimert Park Village to get their groove on...their music groove on, that was served up delightfully by Patrice Rushen, Ndugu Chancler (aka 1 +One) with special guest guitarist Paul Jackson Jr. The group featured Reginald Hamilton on bass. The band showcased their straight-ahead jazz chops on the tune "I Mean You" by Thelonious Monk.
With an All-Star cast on stage of their caliber, they all shared the love by delving into each others catalogs of memorable hits and solo projects that found the crowd rocking and swaying in their seats as well as dancing throughout the promenade. The band played several tunes by Ndugu Chancler before the spotlight was placed on Ndugu Chancler and Patrice Rushen for several tunes by Ndugu. A burst of energy overcame the crowd as the party got underway with Patrice Rushen's tunes "Remind Me," "Haven't You Heard," and "Forget Me Nots." Guitarist Paul Jackson Jr., demonstrated why he is a top in demand guitarist, arranger and composer during his time in the spotlight.
The public is invited to return to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza for the popular BHCP LIVE!. This is a series of free concerts held outdoors on the promenade throughout the summer. It will be wise to Like Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza on Facebook, bookmark and/or save the link below in your favorites, etc. www.crenshawplaza.com click on events, then click on BHCP LIVE! Return to this site to view the various shops inside the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza as well as to check out the various events taking place in and around the mall.
For more information regarding the Playboy Jazz Festival Community Concert Series or the Playboy Jazz Festival, to to www.playboyjazzfestival.com
Tickets are currently available, with the festival less than two weeks away, Saturday, June 15th, and Sunday, June 16th.
Ricky Ricardo is a Southern California based music reviewer, writer and photographer with an emphasis in World Music