kevin & kirk whalum

The Whalum brothers: Kevin & Kirk

*Pasadena – The 4th Annual Jazzy Jam Pasadena 2012, Education for Empowerment Benefit Concert was held on Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 26 at Old Pasadena Central Park. Charity Events by Jacqueline, which was founded by event producer Jacqueline Snell Brown and Pasadena Arts Council.

Several thousand music aficionados endured May gray weather on an overcast,windy Saturday afternoon to unofficially welcome Summer at Central Park in Pasadena.Pat Prescott of 94.7 The Wave and Adai Lamar of Radio Free 102.3FM served as co-host of the 4th Annaul Jazzy Jam Pasadena, which is fast becoming the go to event to kick off summer festivities in Southern California.

The festival got underway by showcasing the amazing talents of the youths of the community. The Girlie Girlz got the festival underway with their sensational sounds and dance moves. They opened the show with “Who’s Loving You,” and a shout out to mothers “Thank You Mommy.” The Rising Star Chorus followed with “God Bless America” coupled with some high stepping dance routines.

The festival had an uplifting theme most of the afternoon. The Greater LA Cathedral Choir transformed the festival grounds into an outdoor church setting. This chor is a highly anointed,energetic, and soulful based community choir well known for their dynamic vocal delivery, innovative musical arrangements and their cutting edge interpretation of the gospel through the ministry of music.Their captivating set consisted of the tunes “He is a Mighty God,” “We Serve a Mighty God.” Special guest vocalist Nysa Shanay joined the choir to perform “God, I’m Gonna Sing Your Music Right.”

Smooth Jazz bassist Michael Haggins and Friends plus The DB Factor picked up the tempo and delivered a set of soothing smooth jazz tunes from his his previous CD’s World of Dreams,Traffic and Daybreak.The crowd and I were grooven to “Traffic,” “Daybreak,” and “In Your Lifetime.”

Our spirits kept soaring during the performances of Romaine Jones and Jasmine Colbert. Romaine sang “I’m Going Higher, Closer to my Dreams,” and “Gotta Keep Pressing On. The crowd and I experienced a paradigm shift throughout Jasmine Colbert set on “Love Revolution,” and “Get-up; The Light is On.”

Gee Mack & The Polysester Players took the crowd and I back to school with some old school funk and R&B to the delight of all in attendance. The band thoroughly entertained the crowd and I with the following tunes “Make My Funk the P-Funk,” “What You Won’t Do for Love,” “Double Knit Boogie,” and “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green.

The Paris Escovedo Project spiced up the festivities with some fiery hot Latin sounds.It didn’t take long for the salsa dancers to get up and move on “Ma Mita Linda,” “Sauvecito,” “Que Vida.Special guest vocalist Greg Esparza joined the group to perform “Latin Lady,” and “Eden.”

The Jazzy Jam Pasadena All-Stars consists of dynamic musicians who are leaders in their own right. This tight band performed a musical tribute to Whitney Houston,Teena Marie,Vesta Williams and Donna Summer, four fabulous singers who left us too soon.

Saxophonist Kirk Whalum closed out the festival with his distinct soulful, passionate and stirring sounds with his brother Kevin with material from his latest CD Romance Language.

Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]