August 17, 2017 

By Ricky Richardson 

Contributing Writer 


Long Beach-Rainbow Promo­tions, LLC. Celebrated three memorable decades of jazz, Latin Jazz, Smooth Jazz, fusion, funk, R&B, and Soul with 20,000 music aficionados, August 11-13 at its 30th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival.


The event was held at the Rainbow Lagoon.


The Long Beach Jazz Festival featured some of the music industry’s top notched artists, performing in front of a huge receptive audience. The festival also included a vast array of food and art.


The festival kicked off with a welcome from Mistress of Ceremony Pat Prescott, Radio Personality, 94.7 The Wave.


Al Williams, founder of the Long Beach Jazz Festival along with his daughter Kimberly Benoit-president of Rainbow Promotions LLC., came onstage to welcome the crowd and thank them for their continued support as the festival celebrates another milestone.


It only got better and better as the evening progressed. Rachelle Ferrell is an amazing vocalist with an incredible range. She showcased her powerful vocal range during her time in the spotlight, performing some of her classic hits from the past and some recent tunes including, “I Can’t Explain,” “I forgive You,” and “Run to Me.


The momentum continued to build up on day two with additional crowd pleasing performances.


Before the crowd and I could relax, an explosive ensemble took the festival by storm. This set entitled “30 Years of Long Beach Jazz” featured a stellar group of musicians, NduguChancler-drums, Bobby Lyle-piano/keyboards, Craig T. Cooper-guitar, Alphonso Johnson-bass, and Bridgette Bryant on vocals. They hit all of the right notes that had the crowd grooving throughout their set that featured the tunes “The Genie,” “I Love Your Smile,” “The Sweetest Taboo,” “How Do You Do” (That Thang You Do), and “So High.”


Saturday’s line-up also featured performances by Nathan East with his sons Jordan and Noah East as he performed “Life cycles,” Eleven/Eight,” Over the Rainbow, and “Higher Ground.”


Will Downey Balladeer/Crooner wowed the crowd on the tunes “I Can’t Help Myself,” “Million Ways to Love a Women,” “You Know How to Hold Me,” “You Got the Best of My Love,” and “Love Roller Coaster.” do you get the feeling that love was in the air as Will Downing worked his way into and melted the hearts of the women. The evening closed with an excellent set by Boney James.


Jazz patrons were also treated to a health and wellness pavilion while the music played. They were provided with useful health information and a panel discussion on nutrition.


On deck for the final day of the Long Beach Jazz Festival was Al Williams Jazz Society playing a couple of tunes that had the crowd tapping their feet to the beat.


Saxophonist Najee and a splendid set by Ramsey Lewis and Urban Nights contributed tremendously to the success of the festival.


Conguero Poncho Sanchez return­ed once again to close out the festival. 

Category: Arts & Culture