*Los Angeles – Los Angeles City Councilmember Curren D. Price, Jr., and The New 9th in conjunction with Coalition for Responsible Community Development in partnership with Concerned Citizens of South Central presented the 22nd Annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival, Saturday, July 29 and Sunday, July 30, 2017.
This is one of the largest and longest running jazz festival, dubbed South LA Party, with a rich cultural history.
The two-day festival expected and drew a huge crowd of jazz aficionados and salseros from all over Greater Los Angeles area, with dozens of performers on three stages. The festival was held along the historic core along Central Avenue between King Boulevard and Vernon Avenue.
From 1920-1955, Central Avenue was the heart of the African-American cultural hub in Los Angeles. Central Avenue was also known as Harlem of the West, for it’s active rhythm and blues and jazz music scene.
Although Central Avenue is no longer the vibrant, thriving jazz center from back in the day, the legacy of Central Avenue is preserved annually with the Central Avenue Jazz Festival.
Keeping the jazz torch burning forever were outstanding musical sets by jazz legends and by young lions on the scene.
The line-up for the 22nd Annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival were LAUSD Beyond the Bell All-City Big Band, Braxton Cook, Jimmy McConnell Super Big Band with guest vocalists Heidi Allyce and Sylvia Boyd, Darryn Dean, Aaron Shaw and Black Nile, Roy Gaines and His Orchestra Tuxedo Blues, Pan-African People Arkestra, Don Littleton & Elephants in the Park, Ernie Andrews, West Coast Get Down featuring Ryan Porter and Kamashi Washington,Billy Mitchell and Circle of Friends, Phil Ranelin and Barbara Morrison.
The Dunbar Hotel Lobby featured the future of jazz LAUSD Youth Jazz Combos, The Connect Band, A Place Called Home, Jazz America Youth Jazz Combo and Devin Daniels.
MusicUNTOLD, a non-profit gave a special 90th Birthday tribute to trumpetress, Clora Bryant, under the direction of Councilmember Curren D. Price, Jr. Councilmember Price presented Clora with a Proclamation, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, 2nd District, California State Assemblymember Reggie Baron Jones-Sawyer, Sr, Rick Baptist, Vice President, Musicians Local 47 and a Professor from UCLA Ethnomusicology Department, lauded Clora Bryant in words and Awards presentations. Clora Bryant was the lone female trumpetress to collaborate with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. She is also known as the only female player in a jazz band in the movie “Anna Lucasta,” starring Sammie Davis Jr., Eartha Kitt and Dorothy Dandridge. She was also the first female jazz artist to tour Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Clora Bryant’s family was also in attendance to witness this special occasion and special presentations.
The festival also included pavilions for Youth-featuring arts and crafts, face paintings and interactive musical activities. Health Pavilion-offers health, vision and dental screenings and guides for healthy lifestyles. Arts Pavilion-Art show and live art demonstrations by local artists. Business Development & Employment Resources Pavilion-Resources and information will be available on site for emerging businesses, entrepreneurs, job seekers and employers.
Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]