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Playboy Jazz Festival Lineup
  • June 12, 2012 : 11:06
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The 34th Playboy Jazz Festival is less than a week away. And with some of the best musical artists in the industry attending, along with Bill Cosby as the Master of Ceremonies, it is one festival not to miss out on. Check out PlayboyJazzFestival for the complete list and to buy your tickets.

The Lineup:


The Boston Globe really did all the selling of James as a live performer we needed them to: "Let's make something perfectly clear: James is not a smooth jazz player…his music is muscular and gritty, whereas most smooth jazz has all the texture and complexity of a cue ball.... James swaggered across the stage like a blacktop hero draining treys on an overmatched opponent. He even weaved his way through the audience, never missing a beat and all but daring the crowd not to have a good time.”


Coming off a Grammy win for their debut album The Good Feeling, The Christian McBride Big Band kicks off their summer tour season with a stop at this year’s Playboy Jazz Festival. Bassist, composer, producer, (re)arranger and bandleader, McBride comes from a long line of Philadelphia-born bassists and is considered something of a virtuoso in his field, having already appeared as a sideman on close to 300 recordings. Though separately, the band members are no strangers to the big stage, this will be the largest venue McBride’s ensemble plays together to date. 

KEB' MO - Listen HERE

Anyone interested in the passing of crowns, the lineage of the blues guitar, knows a thing or two about Keb’ Mo. His music is nothing if not born of the Delta Blues. His songs have all the raw howl you might expect from a Robert Johnson type and his efforts have earned him three Grammys across two decades. Like any good blues singer, his songs are from the heart, reflective of the trials and tribulations of the time; Keb’ Mo’s voice has been heard on countless political issues including Vote for Change and the No Nukes Group.


A quarter big band, a quarter Bob Marley, a quarter counterrevolutionary and a poet to boot, K.G. Omulo and his accompanying band bring with them a stage presence that is hard to match. Whether you’re there for the sound or the message you will not be disappointed; hypnotic percussion keeps the pace while a boisterous horn section accents in all the right places. Omulo’s lyricism might only be matched by a shredding electric guitar a la Jimi Hendrix, and when the whammy bar starts to wail, bodies start moving to the beat. 


The music scene circa Los Angeles 1995 was what one would call eclectic at best; ska, punk, jazz, salsa, reggae and rap all came together in the melting pot that was L.A. of the nineties to breed some pretty genre-bending bands. While the results on paper sounded questionable, the practical reality of the fusion was unparalleled. As band member Jiro Yayaguchi describes it: “You drive down Sunset Boulevardroll down your windows and all the music that comes out of each and every different car…that crazy blend that's going on between that cacophony of sound is Ozomatli.”

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read more: entertainment, music, playboy jazz festival, music festival, bill cosby


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