*Los Angeles – The Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza celebrated a milestone, Saturday, February 4, 2017. The occasion was the 70th Anniversary of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Every occasion of this caliber calls for some top notch entertainment. Ground breaking recording artist and producer Terrace Martin kicked off the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza 70th Anniversary celebration with a free performance.

Terrace Martin Signage: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Terrace Martin Signage: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The show got underway with DJ Francesca Harding holding it down superbly on the ones and twos with some soulful sounds that had the crowd bopping and swaying in their seats.

DJ Francesca Harding: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

DJ Francesca Harding: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Erica Cookie Alexander, Radio Personality, Accelerated Radio served as Mistress of Ceremony. She engaged the audience with a game of trivia as it related to the history of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. Several participants walked away with $50 Gift cards and one lucky winner took home a $150 Gift Card.

AARP California partnered with Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza to celebrate the start of Black History Month with this free performance. Jennifer Hopson, Associated State Director, Multi-Cultural Outreach at AARP and her amazing team was onsite to engage with the crowd and to give away some tote bags.

Jennifer Hopson: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Jennifer Hopson: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Artist Keenan Chapman created a splendid piece of art of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X that transform in front of our eyes with jazz music as a soundtrack.

Keenan Chapman: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Keenan Chapman: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, District 8, was on hand to welcome everyone and to introduce the opening act.

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Composer/Trombonist/Pianist/Educator, Jonah Levine Collective came out smokin’ on the tune “Round Midnight.” Their brief set also included the tune “False Alarm” from his soon to be release CD.

Jonah Levine Collective: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Jonah Levine Collective: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Attention Deficit. I would be remiss if I didn’t share this review/testimonial from a jazz legend, given props to Jonah Levine Collective. “Composer/trombonist Jonah Levine and his amazing septet recently performed in Los Angeles to a packed house of devoted YOUNG jazz fans from start to finish. Their highly creative music was filled with the fresh compositions and astounding musicianship. In the hands of these bold improvisers lay the future of Modern American Music. It is my opinion, that coming forth from talented youthful hearts and minds like that of Jonah Levine, jazz will open wide, the hungry ears of many listeners around the world. In a word, Brilliant!” Benny Maupin.

Jonah Levine Collective: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Jonah Levine Collective: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson introduced the main performer. Terrace Martin is taking the music world by storm. He is a highly sought after producer/keyboardist/saxophonist. It comes as no surprise that his latest CD Velvet Portraits is up for a Grammy Award. I’m sure that you recalled Terrace Martin’s acclaimed collaboration with Kendrick Lamar on the Multi-Grammy Award winning To Pimp a Butterfly. Terrace Martin appearance at the historic shopping center feature selections from his Grammy nominated CD. Velvet Portraits is a sonic love letter to the City of Los Angeles, with a heavy influence of jazz, G-funk, R&B and West coast Hip-Hop. Terrace Martin opened his set with a couple of tunes from Velvet Portraits. Next up, he invited two special guest to join him, vocalist Rose Gold and saxophonist extraordinaire Kamashi Washington. The group performed “Think of You,” and “I’m for Real.” Their crowd pleasing set continued in high gear for another hour with additional special guest. Guest vocalist Uncle Chuck belted out “Patiently Waiting” that blended the blues and gospel with some sermonizing.

Terrace gave another shout out to Chef T before launching into “Bromali.” He concluded his phenomenal set with a reworking of Donny Hathaway’s “Valdez in the Country” with “Valdez off Crenshaw,” with guest Jonah Levine on trombone, Kamashi Washington on sax and Emile Martinez on trumpet.

Terrace Martin: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Terrace Martin: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Rose Gold: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Rose Gold: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Jonah Levine, Terrace Martin, Emile Martinez and Kamashi Washington: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Jonah Levine, Terrace Martin, Emile Martinez and Kamashi Washington: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Velvet Portraits is available on Terrace Martin’s record label-Sounds of Crenshaw in Association with Ropeadope. Sounds of Crenshaw Records (SOC), reflects the history and energy of the Crenshaw District through the eyes of Terrace Martin.

Ropeadope is an independent record label known for unique recordings that cross genres. Founded in 1999, the label has released over 200 recordings with historically progressive albums from an impressive roster of artists including King Britt, ?uestlove, Col. Bruce Hampton, Mark de Clive-Love and Christian Scott.

Ropeadope has been at the forefront of new music business, tailoring a new model of artist support and unique sound media strategies.

I’ve been fortunate to have witnessed some great free community concerts in and around the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. Free music and cultural community events were held on the 2nd level parking structure, Sear’s backlot, Sear’s Court, outdoor parking lot across from RAVE theatres, and inside the shopping center. Make it a point to join the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in 2017 as it celebrates it’s 70th Anniversary, with free music and cultural events for the entire community. The community is keenly aware of the vital role the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza plays in the vibrant and thriving arts and music scene in Greater Los Angeles. For more information you can like them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media outlets.

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