Saxaphonist J. Boykin

Saxaphonist J. Boykin

*Lawndale, CA – The inaugural Lawndale Jazz and Blues Music Festival was held on September 14, 2013 from 1pm-7pm.

Sponsored by the City of Lawndale and Guitar Center South Bay. The event was held outdoors at Lawndale Civic Center Plaza, 147th Street and Burin Ave.

It was a pleasant day, around 75 degrees with a nice breeze. This festival is a welcome addition to the festival circuit in the Southbay with the demise of the Long Beach Blues Festival. This festival has the potential to grow and be held at a large venue with people willing to pay to attend.

The program got under way with the Howlin’ Blues Boogie Band. As the name states, they really represented the music with a set featuring lots of boogie blues for the spirit and soul. The members of the band featured George Watts-guitar, Job Striles- blistering guitar, Renny Bolden (Boodoo) on bass and Ron Felton on drums. They covered a lot of blues territory with an eclectic set of tunes on “I’m Ready,” “Framed,” “Monkey Around,” by Delroy McClinton, “Hand Jive,” by Johnny Otis, “Okie Dokie Stomp,” “Don’t You Just Know It,” “El Capitan” by Memphis Slim, “Why Get Up,” by The Fabulous Thunderbirds and closed their set with “Got My Mojo Working” by Muddy Waters. You can catch this band on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday at The Eagles Nest in Lawndale. They perform a set followed by a Jam section with musicians in the audience.

Jazz royalty was present at the festival. Pat Chartrand & Friends took the crowd in a different musical direction. They went full steam forward with a set of straight-ahead jazz on the standards “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “Tenor Madness,” “Theme from Pink Panther,” “Yesterdays,” and “That’s All.” The members of the band consist of Pat Chartrand-saxophone (veteran member of Harry James Band and Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey’s bands), Dr. Tom Owens-keyboards, Ana Stagleman-bass and Paul Kreibach-drums. You can catch Pat Chartrand & Friends on occasion at the historic Lighthouse Café in Hermosa Beach for their popular and long running Sunday Jazz Brunch.

J. Boykin Band

J. Boykin Band

The Lawndale Blues Boys cranked it up a notch to energize the festivities with a solid set of blues. The band did justice on each tune performed during their set. They opened with “I Should Have Quit You,” “Caledonia” by B. B. King, “”Momma, Talk to Your Daughter” by Magic Slim, “Messing with the Kid” by Junior Wells, “I Want to be Loved” by Muddy Waters, “Red House” by Jimi Hendrix, “Dust My Broom” by Elmore James, “I Gotta Love Somebody” by Willie Dixon. The make up of the band consist of Magic Boogie-vocals, Albert Violante-bass, Lawndale City Councilmember James Osborne-blazin’ guitar riffs, and Ed Domingo on drums. The festival as well as this band is putting the City of Lawndale on the blues landscape for the blues aficionados. This band is deserving of greater recognition and exposure. Hoping to catch The Lawndale Blues Boys touring at major festival across California and the United States, capped off with a trip to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge in the future.

Kastro Band fired it up on all cylinders with a tight set of original tunes of Latin tinged rock and world fusion. Santana’s influence could be heard throughout their set on the tunes “Ya Camezamos,” “Ensenarme,” “Samba Gitana,” “Searching for Love,” “Adriana,” and the encore tune “They Don’t Know” by Jimi Hendrix. The Kastro Band features Kastro-guitar, Clyde-bass, Hector-percussions, and Neal on drums.

The festival concluded with the smooth jazz sounds of J. Boykin (saxophones) debuting material from his latest CD Pink Sand. They opened with “I Like The Way You Move” with J. Boykin roaming around the venue. They continued their thrilling set with “Sweetest Taboo,” and “People Make the World Go Round” and other gems during his electrifying set.

A great time was had by all at the inaugural Lawndale Jazz and Blues Music Festival. I’m sure organizers were impress with the turnout as well as the positive feedback from attendees.

Ricky Richardson is a Los Angeles based music reviewer, writer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]