*Los Angeles – The 2018 edition of Jazz at Drew was welcomed and greeted with much fanfare. The festival took place on Saturday, October 6th, on the campus of Charles R. Drew University, from 12pm-9:00pm.
The overcast day gave way to a bright, beautiful, sunny day in the Greater Los Angeles area. The weather and festival venue made for an idea setting for music enthusiast to sit back, relax and chill while enjoying the sounds of Jazz, Latin Jazz, R&B and Soul.
It is still hard to fathom the fact that the re-emergence of Jazz at Drew continues to remain of the LA’s best kept secrets as an established entity within the local community and the Los Angeles jazz and R&B scene. The pendulum is shifting in a positive direction considering the caliber of talent and crowd reaction for the 3rd Annual Jazz at Drew.
The Crusaders-A Tribute Band- kicked off the festival with the signature, unique sounds of The Jazz Crusaders, aka, The Crusaders. The crowd were digging their arrangements/interpretations of “Stomp and Buck Dance,” “Put It Where You Want It,” “Keep That Same Old Feeling,” “Street Life” with the vocal styling of Vivian Love, ad concluded their amazing set with “Way Back Home.”
DW3 is a popular, Los Angeles based R&B, and soul band made a return engagement. The crowd love their engaging performance, and the group returned the love with another crowd pleasing set. DW3 wasted no time in connecting with the crowd on the tunes “Yearning,” “Georgy Porgy,” “Only Girl,” “On the Floor,” “Mary Jane,” “Close the Door,” “The Lover in You,” “Oh, My Love,” and “Before I Let You Go.”
Jazz Funk Soul is a triple threat, Trifecta of world class, internationally known musicians. The group consisted of Jeff Lorber- keyboards, Everette Harp- Saxophones, Paul Jackson Jr.,- guitar, Darryl Williams- bass and Gordon Campbell- drums. They had the crowd grooving throughout their funkified set of tunes “Speed of Light,” “Rain Song,” “Serious Business,” and “Tune 88” which allowed the band members to stretch out.
The Pete Escovedo Orchestra injected a healthy dose of Latin jazz and salsa into the proceedings. The band featured two in-demand musicians, Justo Almario- saxophones and Joe Rotundi- keyboards. The infectious Caribbean rhythms laid down by the band spiced up the dance routines of the audience. The band performed “In the Stone,” “True or False,” “Whatcha Gonna Do,” “Let’s Stay Together” featuring Breanna Lee on vocals and “La Cuna.”
The S.O.S. Band– (abbreviation for Sounds of Success) rocked the house and they had the party people up and dancing, and singing throughout their set. The set consisted of the tunes “Just the Way You Like It,” “The Finest,” “Just Be Good to Me,” “Borrowed Love,” “Tell Me If You Still care,” “Weekend Love,” and “Take Your Time” (Do It Right).
Miki Howard showcased her vocal styling and multiple vocal range to the delight of the captivated crowd. She performed superbly on the tunes “Ain’t Nobody Like You,” “Until You Come Back to Me,” “That’s What Love Is,” “Come Share My Love,” “Good Morning Heartache,” and “Under New Management.”
After 7 was the headlining group to close out the 3rd Annual Jazz at Drew. This talented trio of crooners wowed the crowd with a thrilling set of original tunes from back in the day, a medley of tunes as back up singers and several new tunes.
It was a sight to witness the crowd shay-shaying back to their vehicles after a day long festival of outstanding to-rated performances.
Jazz at Drew’s mission is two-fold: to support CDU students in health professions and biomedical science through scholarships and professional development opportunities and to provide the South Los Angeles area with excellent entertainment as a commitment to engage the community.
Proceeds from Jazz at Drew fundraiser will also support CDU pipeline programs that seek to engage youth in math and science grades pre-k through 12 from under-served communities. CDU therefore values concert guests not only as customers, but as donors and supporters of CDU’s mission of cultivating diverse health professional leaders who are dedicated to social justice and healthy equity for under-served populations through outstanding education, research, clinical service, and community engagement.
Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]