*In today’s music industry, having talent isn’t enough and at the 31st Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival is proof of that fact. With well over 10,000 in attendance over the three-day event, festival producer Kimberly Benoit and her staff, has put together a quality event that the whole family can enjoy.
Blankets, lawn chairs, a cot, and tents lined both sides and stretched around the Rainbow Lagoon as the sun mad tracks across the sky.
Benoit’s Health and Wellness Pavilion contained shaded seating, multiple food vendors including classic caterers Shabazz Foods, and newcomer the Grill. Speakers covered everything from cooking to healing your relationships.
The second stage featured many up and coming artists including Sulpacio Jones and Ricky Jones, no relation, who both performed on Sunday.
If you are granted the ability to grace either of the stages adjacent to the Rainbow Lagoon in Long Beach California, you have the talent and that talent has been qualified by the staff of Rainbow Promotions.
What moves your performance into memory? What qualifies one performance over the next? This is an age-old concept that has many correct answers. One of those correct answers is having a beautiful woman to stand next to you. But is that beauty enough?
Friday brought out Maysa, a female singer who outshined all before her and proved that you don’t have to be popular to rock a crowd. Unfortunately for Maysa, Jonathan Butler and his guitar made her vocals forgetful, moving from jazzy solo play to love ballads to up-tempo Rhythm and Blues grooves. He was the exception to the rule, performing with a subdued band and keeping the focus on him, and of course, his guitars.
Saturday, featured several artists who looked to have guest singers grace the stage to pump up the energy of the set. In the past, guest performances from the likes of Randy Crawford, Barbara Morison, Shanice Wilson, just to name a few, were all successful in making an already quality performance even more memorable for the host performer.
2018 brought the likes of Chante Moore,a veteran singer, known for soulful, melodic ballads, and newcomer Honey Larochelle, who looked to prove herself on the main stage for the first time. Moore performed alongside Everette Harp and Doc Powell. Larochelle was brought onstage by Marcus Miller.
Both Moore and Larochelle brought their unique styles to the forefront and gave their all. Moore’s star power along with her winning smile helped boost her performance even in the times when her songs seemed forced.
Larochelle, walking on stage with nothing to lose and everything to gain, brightened the stage in a yellow themed outfit that shined like the sun with energy. Her vocals seemed flawless and came off effortless as she covered many of Marcus Miller’s songs and interacted with his already energetic style.
Ending the night with a standing ovation, Larochelle won the day, boosting Miller’s show both times she took the stage, the second bringing a roaring cheer from the crowd and placing a huge smile on her face.
Sunday continued the unofficial battle of the guitars, and even pianists joined in with Keiko Matsui donning a keytar and rocking a dance move! Matsui played five different kinds of keyboards including the keytar, and a Roger Trotman style vocal tube that used her voice as the tones for her keyboard.
Opening the day was newcomer Jazmin Ghent, whose petite frame was almost overwhelmed by the size of her black and gold saxophone, but she bent the keys backward as she played adjacent to Brian Simpson on the keyboard.
Closing the show was legendary guitarist Stanley Clark who is known for his fast fingers and showed off on both the bass guitar and the cello. The battle for the top spot continued with Clarke going head to head with his entire band!