*Nationwide, during the summertime people gather for good food, good friends and good music. This summer is proving to be no exception as Rainbow Productions prepares to kick off its 27th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival at the Rainbow Lagoon in beautiful downtown Long Beach this weekend.
Starting bright and early Saturday August 9, the lineup includes R&B talent Tyrese, Jazz Pianist Ramsey Lewis, the soulful Rachelle Ferrell, Saxophonist Najee, Michael Lington and Jesse Boykins III.
“The Long Beach Jazz Festival has now become a staple in the Sothern California market,” says Najee, “It has become very prestigious and I am honored that they bring me back.”
Sunday, August 10’s lineup includes the beautiful Lalah Hathaway, Will Downing, classic crooner Al Jarreau, Daley and Hiroshima. Taking over for her father as Festival’s Producer, Kimberly Benoit plans to continue the long legacy that her father established 27 years ago aboard the Queen Mary. In later years, the festival was moved to the Rainbow Lagoon and is now attracts thousands to Long Beach yearly.
“The [Long Beach Jazz] Festival holds a very special place in my heart,” explained Benoit, “because my father, Al Williams, was the visionary behind this event. It’s a place where people can get together and have an evening of music and ambiance and it’s like a big family reunion. You see family members and friends that you haven’t seen in a while. It’s a beautiful gathering of people and music.”
Benoit has been heavily involved with the festival for several years and stands behind her family’s legacy that she hopes will be passed along to her children when the time comes.
“It’s important to me,” added Benoit, “Not enough families are involved in businesses that are continued through the generations. And that’s what we are looking for. My kids work with us, my husband works with us, my aunt works with us, so it’s a family business. It’s very important for us to continue that legacy.”
This year’s theme is “A Healthy Taste of Jazz” and this year they will erect two stages, the main stage where the big name artist will perform, and a second stage where promoters allow lesser known acts to perform. For the second year, Benoit and her team will be having a Health and Wellness Pavilion that promotes healthy choices on everything from exercise to seeing the right doctor. For more information on the Long Beach Jazz Festival go to http://longbeachjazzfestival.com.