By: Shumon Hutchinson
Long Beach, CA
|Day 1 Artist Line-up August 13, 2011|
|Kori Withers Najee Alex Bugnon Howard Hewitt|
Click Artists names to see more Photos By: Mann
Promoter Al Williams pen's Brian Cullbertson as Day 1 Headliner
Summer weekends in Los Angeles are always buzzing with jazz concerts and festivals throughout the county. At any major venue and now even metro area you turn to, you are almost sure to find some of the best artist in jazz performing for eager fans. But even with the multitudes of other shows around the city, Al Williams of Rainbow Promotions has continued to bring one of the most rivaled jazz festivals to Long Beach, California for an astounding 24 years running.
Kicking the festival off on Friday evening , Kori Whithers opened the show to set the tone for what was surely to be a night filled with wonderful jazz music and unmeasured entertainment. Being the daughter of legendary artist Bill Withers, Kori effortlessly gave what anyone would expect of her and more as she played keyboard and sang for the packed house at the Rainbow lagoon in Long Beach, CA.
As the sun gave way to a beautiful full moon, it was now time for the “Smooth Side of Soul” collaboration featuring Najee on saxophone, flute and clarinet, Alex Bugnon on keyboard, and Howard Hewett with some of the best vocals in the business. It officially became party time at the Long Beach Jazz Festival as audience members were asked to waive their hands in the air and sing along to songs they’ve been singing for over 20 years.
Before it was time to call it a night, Brian Culbertson gave the crowd yet another high voltage performance, closing out the show. Brian showcased his keyboard and trombone skills, and also treated the audience to quite a few soulful dance moves and some great storytelling. This line up was perfect to start what would be an awesomely crowd pleasing weekend event.
The Saturday event for the Long Beach jazz festival included a full day of entertainment on two stages, including performances by Amel Lurrieux, Everette Harp, the classic tunes of Michael Franks, the timeless music of The Whispers, and a close out collaboration of Kim Waters and Kenny Lattimore.
A great mixture of music, food, people and fun are the things that make any music festival a success and this year’s Long Beach Jazz Festival did not disappoint. The artists in this year’s line ups brought moments of laughter, joy, spiritual thankfulness, dancing, singing and an overall appreciation from the fans as they enjoyed the various jazz and R & B music that they were treated to. The Long Beach Jazz Festival is an awesome experience as their legacy continues.
Ending the weekend after such a great line up was no easy task. But with 24 years of experience, Rainbow Promotions was right on the mark with closing day performances by Jackiem Joyner, the Al Williams Jazz Society, featuring none other than Al Williams himself, Down to the Bone, Kem, and Charlie Wilson. No wonder Sunday was a sold out event. The Long Beach Jazz Festival has a large annual following, and many learned the hard way this year to get their tickets early.
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