Kelly and I went to Day 1 of the Playboy Jazz Festival last weekend. It was a very fun time, but I have to say a little light on the “jazz.” The LAUSD band and Christian McBride Big Band were both fairly straight-jazz, but otherwise the rest of the bill was more funk (Soul Brothers), Salsa (Global Gumbo Allstars) and blech (Boney James.)
Sheila E put on a fiery show with scantily-clad Carnival dancers and screaming lead guitars. I felt like I was in a Miami Vice episode.
All in all, it was kindof a strange scene. We were up in the very back row where the party was in high gear. The crowd was getting pretty wasted and for the most part oblivious of the music until Sheila showed them a glimpse of the Glamorous Life.
Unfortunately the lineup was undoubtedly representative of the type of music that you hear on it’s sponsor’s station “The Wave.” Boney James (who for those of you who don’t know him is effectively Kenny G with a different hat) was the headliner.
The main highlight of the day was Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. They rocked the house and had even me dancing.
Sharon Jones, on the other hand, is no stranger to getting a crowd going. As the shade overtook the venue, she and her ten-piece Dap Kings played a set of burning soul that by the end had the crowd dancing in the aisles. Ian Hendrickson-Smith bellowed his baritone saxophone amid the horn lines, drawing a heavy funk in the process. A version of “When the Saints Go Marching In” brought the white handkerchiefs back out, continuing the second line feel of the Soul Rebels.
I still vastly prefer seeing her at someplace like the Wiltern, but she was well worth the price of admission. As for Ozomatli, I was surprised how many people were filing out during their set. I’ve always thought they were a bit overrated…now they are old too. –Uncle Eb/John