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Producers of the 34th annual Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl Saturday and Sunday, June 16-17 have added three more artists to the talent lineup, and set the order of appearance for the performances.
Joining the roster of Grammy-winning jazz greats and rising stars are multi- Grammy-nominated R&B pianist/composer Patrice Rushen, New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian star Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, and Latin jazz bandleader Louie Cruz Beltran.
Rushen (pictured with frequent collaborator Leon “Ndugu” Chancler) will perform on Sunday with Terri Lyne Carrington’s Grammy-winning Mosaic Project, along with other surprise guests from the Project’s latest album.
On Saturday, New Orleans vocalist/percussionist Big Chief Monk will play with The Soul Rebels, bringing the distinctive rhythms of the Mardi Gras Indians from the CrescentCity to the Festival stage.
Beltran will appear on Saturday with his contemporary salsa group, the Louie Cruz Beltran Latin Jazz Orchestra.
A classically trained pianist, Rushen is a successful solo artist (“Forget Me Nots”) and one of music’s most sought after musicians. She has performed or produced recordings for such legendary stars as Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Prince, Boys II Men and George Benson. Rushen was also the first woman to serve as musical director of the house bands for the Grammy, Emmy and NAACP Image Awards telecasts, and the only woman to serve as musical director/composer for People’s Choice Awards and HBO’s Comic Relief.
Known for his longtime collaborations with Big Chief Bo Dollis in The Wild Magnolias, Big Chief Monk (aka Monk Boudreaux, pictured at left) is head of the Mardi Gras Indian tribe known as the Gold Eagles. In recent years, he has toured and recorded with the Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars, a band featuring musicians Tab Benoit, Cyril Neville and Dr. John. Big Chief Monk performs regularly in his hometown with John Lisi & Delta Funk and in 2010 appeared in “Bury the Hatchet,” a feature-length documentary by Aaron Walker about the Mardi Gras Indian tradition.
Louie Cruz Beltran, leader of the Louie Cruz Beltran Latin Jazz Orchestra, has performed with such great artists as Tito Puente, Francisco Aquabella, Ray Baretto, Natalie Cole and Gladys Knight, among others. Beltran’s most recent album, “Paint the Rhythm,” spent 12 weeks on the Media Base national smooth jazz charts, reaching No. 11; his single “Esperando” hit No. 4.
Saturday’s complete lineup, from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. (in order of performance):
- LAUSD/Beyond the Bell All-City Jazz Band under the direction of Tony White and J.B. Byas;
- Louie Cruz Beltran Ensemble (Beltran is pictured at right);
- Cos of Good Music under the direction of Dr. William H. Cosby , and featuring Farid Barron, Dwayne Burno, Ndugu Chancler, Tia Fuller, Matthew Garrison, Ingrid Jensen, Babatunde Lea and Erena Terabuko;
- Soul Rebels with special guests Leo Nocentelli, Zigaboo Modeliste. Ivan Neville and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux;
- Global Gumbo All-Stars featuring Richard Bona, Laurel Loueke, Francisco Mela and Alfredo Rodriguez;
- Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings;
- Christian McBride Big Band;
- Sheila E.;
- Boney James;
- Ozomatli and surprise guests.
Sunday’s full roster, playing out from 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. (ditto):
- Calabasas High School Jazz “A” Band under the direction of Joshua Barroll;
- KG Omulo;
- The Cookers featuring Eddie Henderson, Billy Harper, Craig Handy, David Weiss, George Cables, Cecil McBee and Billy Hart;
- Terri Lynne Carrington’s Mosaic Project featuring Gretchen Parlato, Carmen Lundy, Tia Fuller, Ingrid Jensen, Helen Sung, Linda Taylor, Mimi Jones and Patrice Rushen;
- Preservation Hall Jazz Band;
- Keb’ Mo’;
- Ramsey Lewis Electric Band (check out Lewis’s short YouTube invite );
- Robin Thicke;
- Spectrum Road featuring Cindy Blackman Santana, Jack Bruce, John Medeski and Vernon Reid.
Cosby, the famed comedian, Grammy-winning recording artist, author, philanthropist, community activist, and educator, will intro the artists for his 31st turn as Playboy Jazz emcee.
Playboy Jazz Festivals throw the annual two-day bash in cooperation with the L.A. Philharmonic Association. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, who also founded the festival, is Executive Producer. Dick Rosenzweig is President Emeritus of Playboy Jazz Festivals; George Wein is Producer Emeritus; and Darlene Chan of Festival West Inc. books the talent.
Historically, both days have sold out before the weekend, drawing around 35,000 fans, and as of today, good seats are still available, according to Playboy Jazz spokesperson Nina Gordon.
The mailing list for box seats in the garden and terrace sections has been full and closed since 1987, so those longtime hardcore fans traditionally get the first shot. Single-day tickets in the rest of the house range from $170 “super seats” dead center behind the boxes to the $27.50 cheap seats way up at the top (which still aren’t bad thanks to big video screens and sound towers), and are available through Ticketmaster (ticketmaster.com  or 213-365-3500) and all Ticketmaster outlets.
Photos: Courtesy Playboy Jazz Festival except Hollywood Bowl by Stephen K. Peeples.
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In addition to his “Peeples Place at KHTS” blog, Stephen K. Peeples is a features writer/reporter for KHTS News (www.hometownstation.com ) and SCVNews.com , and host, writer and co-producer of the weekly “House Blend” music and interview television show on SCVTV, community television for the Santa Clarita Valley (www.scvhouseblend.com ). A former SCV music and entertainment columnist for The Signal (2004-2011) and drummer with SCV jazz group RainTree (www.raintreejazz.com , 2010-2011), Peeples is a Grammy-nominated record producer (“Monterey International Pop Festival,” MIPF/Rhino, 1992), an award-winning radio producer (“The Lost Lennon Tapes,” Westwood One, 1988-1990) and an award-winning online editor (The Signal website, 2007-2011). For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.stephenkpeeples.com.