Rainbow Lagoon Park in Long Beach played host to the 25rd annual Long Beach Jazz Festival. This year’s festival included an incredible lineup of jazz artists who electrified concert-goers for three days under the beautiful Long Beach skies. Friday night, opening night, started off with The Blackbyrds, The Isley Brothers and Eric Darius. Saturday was an all-day affair amid 90-degree weather. But scorching heat didn’t seem to bother the attendees who filled the park as far back as beyond the lagoon to Shoreline Drive. The lineup on Saturday included Shilts, Leela James, Diane Reeves, Kirk Whalum, Poncho Sanchez, Warren Hill & Maysa, and ended with legendary guitarist Jonathan Butler,
Sunday was another scorching day under the sun and again the Marina was packed to the hilt. Chrisette Michelle charmed us with her soulful, sultry-ness and even brought jazz-goers to “church” with her rendition of “Praise Him”. Rick Braun and Richard Elliot, Larry Graham and Graham Central Station also filled the Sunday lineup. Sunday’s main highlight was the appearance of Keith Sweat! While Keith Sweat might not be the poster boy for jazz artists, he fit in well with this year’s theme “Jazz and Beyond” in which the event’s founder Al Williams describes as “Jazz, R&B and everything in between”. Sweat livened the crowd and had them singing along to many of his recognizable hits.
The concert closed beautifully with The Dream Tour featuring Grammy-winning Saxaphonist David Sandborn and pianist Brian Culbertson. The Dream Tour is the title of the duo’s summer tour set behind Culbertson’s new album, “Dreams”. “Dreams” was number 1 on the Jazz charts and it incorporates Culbertson’s usual R&B flare with his masterful jazz skills.
We at The Power Player Lifestyle Magazine would like to congratulate The Long Beach Jazz Festival for another fantastic year. It was a delight to see so many amazing jazz artists converge in one place over a three-day span. We hope to see you for another 25 years! – Report Brent Lowe
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