Central Avenue, adjacent to the historic Dunbar Hotel, was transformed once again to host the thousands of community members, jazz fans, and entire families who came out to experience the 12th anniversary of the Central Avenue Jazz Festival July 28-29.
The free, two-day event, hosted by 9th District Los Angeles City Councilmember Jan Perry, paid tribute to the rich culture and heritage of Central Avenue as it was known during its heyday from the 1920s to the 1940s, celebrated jazz legends, and featured world-class jazz, Latin jazz, and blues.
“Last year we had over 30,000 visitors over the two-day period,” Perry said. “This yearâ€™s event is even bigger. It is a great opportunity for people to come together and enjoy two days of great food, fantastic music, and a broad collection of some of our finest craftsmen and artisans.”
In addition to hosting one of the 9th Districtâ€™s most anticipated annual events, Perry and her staff which included a small â€˜armyâ€™ of volunteers, offered an abundance of community service and program information to senior citizens, the homeless, youth and others.
Saturdayâ€™s program featured Clora Bryant and guests who participated in a panel discussion, the Paul Bryant Trio, vocalist Ernie Andrews, Phil Ranelin, Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars and the Arthur Blythe Quintet
The Sunday line-up was equally as exciting and featured Buddy Colletteâ€™s Jazz America, the CJS Quintet, winners of the Chuck Niles Award, Henry Franklin featuring Michael Sessions, Roy Gaines and several surprise guests, the Gilbert Castellanos Latin Trumpet Summit, Charles McPhearson, and the Sandra Bookers Underground Jazz Movement
The co-sponsors of the Central Avenue Jazz Festival were the Dunbar Economic Development Corporation, the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and the KJAZZ. Los Angeles Jazz Society.
While everyone certainly took away their own personal memory of this historic weekend, Perry noted that the highlight she will always remember is that of 80-year-old Clora Bryant who, during her riveting performance, kicked her leg high into the air demonstrating her youthful spirit and agility.
Calvin Hicks, noted Los Angeles photographer, said, “I look forward to the Central Avenue Jazz Festival each year and would not miss it for anything. The music is sensational, the food choices are many, and it is a pleasant way for us to come together for two days of fun and free entertainment.”