*Beverly Hills – The Playboy Jazz Festival Free Community Concert was held on May 5, “Cinco de Mayo” in the City of Beverly Hills.
This is the 19th Annual Playboy Jazz Festival Free Community Concert in Beverly Hills. The concert was held at the Beverly Hills Civic Center Plaza with excellent acoustics. The sun toyed with the crowd on this sometimes overcast, otherwise sunny day.
Brad Williams, KJAZZ 88.1 FM, radio host served as Master of Ceremonies. The Beverly Hills High School Jazz Band,directed by Bill Bradbury got the show under way with a performance of select music representing various styles of jazz,including blues, swing, rock and Latin.Master of Ceremonies Brad Williams stated “he is always ecstatic whenever he sees a talented group of young jazz musicians.”
The band was outstanding on their arrangements of the tunes “Summertime,” “Something,” by the Beattles, “Rock With Me” by Michael Jackson, “Milestones” by Miles Davis and a funky version of “Chameleon” by Herbie Hancock.
After a short pause for the cause,the stage was set for the crowd and I to jump, jive and swing. Needless to say, we left this up to The New Jump Blues musical group.
The New Jump Blues is lead by dynamic frontman Antonio “Huggy Bear” Fargas. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls; this is the actual “Huggy Bear” from the popular TV program Starsky and Hutch.
The New Jump Blues is a tight combo of veteran musicians that are known for their rousing performances featuring lead singers who blend up tempo elements of blues, jazz and calypso with dazzling choreography in a lively revue-style show.
The New Jump Blues exploded unto the stage for a high energy set of music. They slowed the tempo down briefly for a ballad or two. The rest of the time the tempo was upbeat on the tunes “All She Wants to Do is Mambo,” featuring Antonio Fargas on bongos.Their crowd pleasing set continued with “Cow,Cow Boogie,” “Don’t Roll Those Blood Shot Eyes at Me,” “One Mint Julep,” and another tune about adult beverages “Rum and Coca Cola” with a calypso beat.
The Playboy Jazz Festival Free Community Concert in Beverly Hills is the first in a series of events being held in conjunction with the upcoming 35th Anniversary Playboy Jazz Festival,June 15th and 16th,at the landmark Hollywood Bowl.
“Our Beverly Hills concert has become a popular kick-off for the annual Playboy Jazz Festival season,and this year’s roster of talent promises a lively afternoon of upbeat jazz entertainment at the Civic Center’s attractive outdoor performing arts venue in celebration of our 35th Anniversary Festival,” stated Richard Rosenzweig, President Emeritus of the Playboy Jazz Festival.
For more information regarding the community concert series or the Playboy Jazz Festival,please visit www.playboyjazzfestival.com Tickets are currently available.
Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer,music reviewer and photographer.Contact him via: [email protected]