JUNE 15TH AND 16TH AT HOLLYWOOD BOWL. MULTI-TALENTED ENTERTAINER GEORGE LOPEZ NAMED THIS YEAR’S MASTER OF CEREMONIES
Headliners include George Duke with special guest Jeffrey Osborne, Naturally 7 with special guest Herbie Hancock, Sheila E. and
Bob James/David Sanborn
Celebrating its 35th Anniversary, the Playboy Jazz Festival has become an internationally acclaimed event, featuring a veritable who’s who of the jazz world. Considered one of the premier jazz festivals on the West Coast, virtually every jazz icon has performed at the Festival from legendary giants like Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie to today’s hottest stars and contemporary artists such as Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Esperanza Spalding, Jamie Cullum, Trombone Shorty and countless others.
Now commemorating 35 years of extraordinary performances, captivating music and magical moments, Playboy will again present a stellar lineup of talent for the 35th Anniversary Jazz Festival, Saturday and Sunday, June 15th and 16th, at the renowned Hollywood Bowl.
Featuring a diverse mix of illustrious jazz greats, next generation leaders and Festival favorites, the two-day concert will spotlight the entire genre of jazz with an assortment of world premieres, rare collaborations and highly anticipated artist debuts. Headliners include George Duke with special guest Jeffrey Osborne, Naturally 7 with special guest Herbie Hancock, Sheila E. and Bob James/David Sanborn featuring Steve Gadd and James Genus.
New to this year’s Festival is the multi-talented entertainer George Lopez, who will make his own debut as the new master of ceremonies, taking over for this year from the legendary Bill Cosby, who relinquished the role last summer after more than 30 years. A Grammy-nominated comedian, Lopez is best known to audiences as the star of TV’s groundbreaking hit sitcom, George Lopez, which ran for six seasons on ABC. Lopez also hosted his own late-night talk show, Lopez Tonight, on TBS for two seasons and was named one of the Top 10 Favorite Television Personalities by the noted Harris Poll. He has made more than 200 TV, comedy, talk show and hosting appearances, including co-hosting the Emmy’s and twice hosting the Latin Grammy Awards, making him a natural choice for the role of Festival host.
Returning to the Playboy stage, two-time Grammy-winning pianist and keyboardist George Duke will appear as a special guest with renowned R&B/pop singer Jeffrey Osborne, who is making his Festival debut. The pair reunited on Osborne’s latest release, A Time for Love, a collection of songs expressing Osborne’s longtime appreciation for jazz standards. The illustrious Duke (who has served as musical director and producer for numerous prominent artists including Dianne Reeves, Anita Baker, Gladys Knight and more) also produced Osborne’s breakthrough solo album Stay With Me Tonight and his hit singles “We’re Going All the Way” and “You Should Be Mine” among others.
Back by popular demand, Naturally 7, who made their triumphant Festival debut in 2010, is returning to the show for a world premiere performance with the iconic Herbie Hancock as a special guest. One of the most distinctively unique groups in music today, Naturally 7 has pioneered a dynamic a cappella style they call “vocal play,” where each member of the group uses only their voice to recreate awe-inspiring sounds of different musical instruments. The group’s now famous Paris subway performance of “Feel It (In The Air Tonight)” has garnered over five million hits on YouTube. Hancock, known for transcending the limitations and genres of music, will complement the group’s inventive style with his own modern compositions that have earned him one Oscar and 14 Grammy Awards. Hancock has been an integral part of every jazz movement since the 1960’s. As a member of the Miles Davis Quintet, he was one of the pioneers of the avant garde sound. His innovative recordings during the 70’s, combining electric jazz with funk rock sounds, continue to influence today’s music.
Turning up the heat, the Emmy and Grammy-nominated singer/percussionist Sheila E. is returning for the second time as the leader of her own group in a rare back-to-back appearance. Her electrifying performance last year rocked the house, winning her a standing ovation that stopped the show. Sheila has previously performed at the Festival with her legendary father, percussionist Pete Escovedo and their renowned family band, with whom she still tours. A star in her own right, she has served as the musical director for such superstars as Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and Prince. Known for her mega-hit “The Glamorous Life,” she performed with Prince on Purple Rain and also toured with Ringo Starr and his All-Star band among many others. Last year, she performed at the Oscars alongside Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer.
Reuniting since their Grammy Award-winning dual recording Double Vision in the mid-80’s, keyboardist Bob James and saxophonist David Sanborn will share the Playboy stage together for the first time as part of their summer tour. The pair will be joined by legendary drummer Steve Gadd and acclaimed bassist James Genus. Renowned beyond the jazz world, the Grammy-winning James is known for both his distinguished solo career and as a founding member of the popular contemporary jazz supergroup FourPlay. A six-time Grammy winner, Sanborn has released 24 albums and toured with everyone from Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton and Al Jarreau, to Elton John, The Rolling Stones and a host of others. One of the most sought-after session and touring musicians in the world, Gadd has played with such top artists as Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin and Chick Corea just to name a few. Currently a member of television’s popular Saturday Night Live band, James Genus is considered one of the most versatile, in-demand bassists on the scene today. Well-known for his talents on both acoustic and electric bass, Genus has played with such noted artists as Chick Corea, Michael Brecker, Branford Marsalis and others.
Described as “The undisputed Queen of African music” by the London Daily Telegraph, Grammy-winning vocalist Angelique Kidjo is returning to the Festival with special guest renowned world music artist and trumpeter, Hugh Masekela. Known for her dynamic, uplifting music, Kidjo’s appeal cuts across genres as well as generations. Her breathtaking voice and exuberant spirit can be heard on her latest release, Spirit Rising (her first live album), which features special guests Josh Groban, Dianne Reeves and Branford Marsalis among others. Kidjo has also collaborated with such other renowned artists as Carlos Santana, Alicia Keys and more. Masekela is best known for his Grammy-nominated hit “Grazing in the Grass,” which sold over four million copies and made him an international star. An innovator in the world music and jazz scene, he played an integral role in Paul Simon’s classic album Graceland, one of the first pop records to introduce African music to the broader public. He now continues to tour internationally as a performer, composer, producer and activist. Over four decades since his first Grammy nod, Masekela was nominated again this year for his release Jabulani.
A Festival favorite who never fails to ignite the crowd, conguero Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band are returning with special guest James Carter for a heated performance of Olé Coltrane, a Latin interpretation of the music of the legendary John Coltrane. The Grammy-winning Sanchez, known for his incendiary style and mastery of Afro-Cuban rhythms, and multi-instrumentalist Carter, whose influences include everything from funk and fusion to rock and acoustic jazz, are the perfect pair to express the spiritual passion and earthy sensuality found in Coltrane’s Spanish-influenced Olé sessions. The result is a kaleidoscopic swirl of music that illuminates Coltrane’s work in a whole new light.
Joining Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band for their return to the Playboy stage, is legendary guitarist Lee Ritenour, who also produced the ensemble’s popular album, Act Your Age, featuring Patti Austin, Chick Corea and Dave Grusin. A three-time Emmy Award-winner also nominated for 11 Grammy’s, Goodwin and his 18 piece group have taken the big-band tradition into the new millennium with an original, contemporary sound featuring Goodwin’s witty, intricate, hard-swinging compositions. The Grammy-winning Ritenour has recorded over 40 albums, and charted over 30 hits during the course of his 50 year career. A pioneer in the contemporary jazz and funk genres, he has graced the albums of such diverse artists as Pink Floyd, Simon & Garfunkel, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, B.B. King, George Benson and many others.
Making his highly-anticipated Festival debut, multi-talented vocalist and songwriter Gregory Porter continues to rack up a steady stream of accolades and awards since exploding onto the international music scene with his acclaimed 2010 debut, Water. Declared “the brilliant new voice of jazz” by The Huffington Post, his recent Grammy-nominated 2012 follow-up, Be Good, features a groove-driven collection of everything from quiet ballads to up-tempo burners. With a voice that can caress or comfort, and a powerhouse band, “Gregory Porter has most of what you want in a male jazz singer, and maybe a thing or two you didn’t know you wanted,” says The New York Times. His fans agree.
Returning for a second time is The Robert Glasper Experiment. A versatile keyboardist, Glasper has long kept one foot planted firmly in jazz and the other in hip hop and R&B. He has worked extensively with rapper Q-Tip, served as the music director for Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) and toured with multi-platinum R&B singer Maxwell. His most recent CD, Black Radio, won the 2013 Grammy for Best R&B album. The CD stakes out new territory transcending any notion of genre, drawing from jazz, hip-hop, R&B and rock, while his two previous CD’s for Blue Note won acclaim in the jazz world. His new Experiment band is plugged in and eclectic, distilling countless influences from multiple musical worlds into a singular voice.
The youngest musician ever to be voted onto the DownBeat critics’ poll, 21-year-old Grace Kelly will make her Festival debut with her mentor, Phil Woods, who will also appear with her as a special guest. One of the youngest artists to ever play the Festival, the Asian-American saxophonist, vocalist, songwriter and bandleader is clearly poised to become one of the next generation’s jazz leaders. Already, she has performed over 500 concerts throughout the world and released eight full-length albums, one a year since she was 12 years old. In addition to Woods, she has worked with such renowned artists as Dave Brubeck, Jamie Cullum, Esperanza Spalding, Dianne Reeves, Toots Thielemans and numerous others. An NEA Jazzmaster, the list of musicians saxophone player Phil Woods has performed with reads like a Who’s Who of jazz: Benny Goodman, Clark Terry, Michel Legrand, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Barnet just to name a few. Revered for his body of work, Woods was inducted into the American Jazz Hall of Fame in 1994.
Igniting audiences wherever they play, The Pedrito Martinez Group featuring Ariacne Trujillo is also making their Festival debut. Indeed, the future is on fire for the Cuban-born Martinez, whose roots are firmly planted in the Afro-Cuban Rumba tradition and the bata rhythms and vocal chants of the music of Yoruba and Santeria. A founding member of the noted Afro-Cuban Band Yerba Buena, Martinez has been featured on over 100 albums and has toured and played with such renowned artists as Sting, Paul Simon, Cassandra Wilson, Joe Lovano and more.
Also making her long-awaited debut is India.Arie, known and cherished by fellow fans and musicians as a poet, songwriter, musician, singer, producer, advocate and friend. Since the release of her first album, Acoustic Soul, in 2001, she has won four Grammy Awards, received 21 Grammy nominations, four NAACP Image Awards, and received numerous awards and accolades from Vogue, Essence, Billboard, MTV, VH1, BET and more. Her last studio release, Testimony Vol. 2: Love and Politics, sold over eight million albums, hitting #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart, and #3 on the Billboard Top 200. Recently, she performed for President Obama at The Apollo Theatre and was praised by The New York Times as “one of the most determinedly virtuous songwriters in R&B or pop. India.Arie strives to make faith, goodness and positive thinking seductive.” She continues to seduce audiences everywhere with her music.
Still touring non-stop since their Grammy-nominated 2010 debut, Backatown, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue are bringing the party back to the Playboy stage for their second appearance. Continuing to refine and expand the signature sound that Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews dubbed “Supafunkrock,” the group stirs together old-school jazz, funk and soul, laced with hard-rock powerchords and hip-hop beats, pushing the envelope further musically and creatively. Their latest album, For True, is evidence of the band’s explosive growth that continues to win raves from critics and fans alike. Hailed by many as New Orleans’ brightest new star, Trombone Shorty performed at the White House celebration of Black History Month, which aired on PBS in February 2012. Later that year, he also received the President’s medal from Tulane University in recognition of his community service.
Widely considered one of jazz’s great orchestras, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra is returning to the Festival for a world premiere performance celebrating Quincy Jones’ 80th birthday, featuring special guests Patti Austin and Hubert Laws. Unique from most jazz ensembles because its core consists of three bonafide leaders, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra has been an integral part of the jazz scene since 1986, when Grammy-nominated bassist John Clayton, saxophonist/flutist Jeff Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton began their big-band venture. The goddaughter of Quincy Jones, Grammy-winner Patti Austin is the ultimate jazz/R&B crossover artist. One of the world’s most popular and versatile vocalists, Austin has 19 solo albums to her credit and capped her star-studded career in 2008 with a Grammy for her critically-acclaimed Avant Gershwin album. Later this year, her new CD, The Excellence of Ellington, will be released as a vocal tribute to “The Duke.” Rounding out the celebration is internationally-renowned flutist Hubert Laws, known as one of the few classical artists who has mastered the genres of jazz, pop and rhythm-and-blues. Recognized as an NEA Jazzmaster, he has 26 solo recordings to his credit and was chosen the #1 flutist by the DownBeat readers poll ten years in a row.
One of the most prominent, influential figures in 20th century blues and roots music, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Taj Mahal is making his Festival debut with his Real Thing Tuba Band. Though his career began more than four decades ago, he has broadened his scope over the years to include music representing every corner of the world. His most recent album, marking his 40th anniversary as a recording artist, Maestro, features performances by Ben Harper, Ziggy Marley, Angelique Kidjo and Los Lobos.
Bringing the intricate rhythms and harmonies of their native South Africa to the Festival stage for the first time, Ladysmith Black Mambazo continues to celebrate over half a century of joyous and uplifting music. Influenced by the sounds and sentiments of Christian gospel music, the group was founded in the early 1960’s by leader Joseph Shabalala. Renowned for their groundbreaking performance on Paul Simon’s now classic Graceland album, the famed a capella group has created a musical and spiritual alchemy that has touched a worldwide audience.
Honoring the late Dave Brubeck, The Brubeck Brothers Quartet—making their first appearance on the Festival stage—is a dynamic ensemble driven by the musical vision of the legendary piano great’s sons Daniel Brubeck (drums) and Chris Brubeck (bass and trombone), who are joined by guitarist Mike DeMicco and pianist Chuck Lamb. A Playboy Festival favorite, Dave Brubeck’s association with Playboy dates back to his performance at the very first Playboy Jazz Festival in Chicago in 1959. With Chris Brubeck’s compositions as a vehicle, the quartet (also known as BBQ) has played with many acclaimed chamber groups and musicians, including the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Russian National Symphony Orchestra. The esteemed quartet has performed at concert series, colleges, and jazz festivals across North America and Europe including the Newport, Detroit, Ravinia, Las Vegas, Sedona, Spokane & Monterey Jazz Festivals. Their appearance will make a fitting tribute to an artist who gave festivalgoers so many memorable moments.
Making his Festival debut, versatile and iconoclastic pianist Eric Lewis (ELEW) will present an innovative world premiere collaboration with the noted JazzAntiqua Dance Ensemble, Pat Taylor, Artistic Director. Considered a musical revolutionary, ELEW has made a substantial impression on the music world with his unique melding of ragtime rock and pop, that he calls Rockjazz. A Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition winner, he has performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and toured with Josh Groban. The JazzAntiqua Dance Ensemble, founded by artistic director and choreographer Pat Taylor in 1993, celebrates the jazz tradition as a vital thread in African American heritage and a defining element of the American experience. The ensemble’s work pays homage to Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Miles Davis and has appeared with such musicians and composers as Marcus Shelby, Dwight Trible and Munyungo Jackson.
Opening Saturday’s show at 3:00 p.m. is the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Jason Goldman. The LAUSD Beyond the Bell Jazz Band under the direction of Tony White and J.B. Dyas will open the show on Sunday at
Darlene Chan, president of FestivalWest Inc., is the producer for the Playboy Jazz Festivals for the 35th consecutive year. Hugh Hefner is executive producer and Richard Rosenzweig is president emeritus of the Playboy Jazz Festivals.
Single day tickets will be available through Ticketmaster starting February 28th at 6 p.m. PST. Patrons can purchase tickets online at www.ticketmaster.com, over the phone by calling (213) 365-3500 or (714) 740-7878, at any Ticketmaster outlet or by downloading a ticket order form available at www.playboyjazzfestival.com. There is also a link to the Ticketmaster website on the Playboy Jazz Festival website. Tickets may also be purchased at the Hollywood Bowl Box Office beginning in early May, exact date to be announced.