A sunny and hot day at Huntington Beach ushered in the BB Jazz Festival at the Huntington Beach Central Park on September 12 and 13 and featured headliners Faith Evans, Eric Benet and Joe.
Corky Bennish and his wife Betty Bennish have been putting together the BB Jazz Festival and concerts since 2001 and for this year’s festival they arranged one of the best line-ups of the summer with a wide variety of artists such as Anthony David and Shiela E.
Saturday brought out the energetic Sisqo. His dancers jumped and flipped all over the elevated stage and displayed impressive choreography.
The instrument for this jazz event was the guitar, as every artist used one in his or her show, save Sisqo, who jammed to a pre-recorded track. Elle Varner was no exception performing her original hits from her debut album ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ from a few years back. Her sweet voice settled at highpitches and this combined with a confident stage presence makes her music and her show memorable.
Seeking inspiration from classic singers, Varner admitted that Etta James was one of her favorites just before she began singing one of James’ classics. Emotion pored forth from Varner’s high-pitched harmonies and the crowd was very receptive to them.
Closing Saturday’s show was Faith Evans, who caused a ruckus back stage as she filmed scenes for her reality show ‘R&B Divas.’ Evans looked enthusiastic and lively, as donned a sexy, hourglass figure covered by a modest, white-sequenced pencil skirt and heels.
Sunday brought out a more laid back crowd as chart toppers Joe and Kelly Price were among the festival’s highlights.
Song writing became the central theme to artist Kelly Price’s late afternoon performance as she went down the list of songs that she wrote for other singers including Mace, R-Kelly and others.
“Incredible,” explained Price when asked about her ghost writing experiences, “When I would hear them on the radio, I would literally just freak out, because, number one, you’re talking about artists like Puff Daddy, Faith Evans, 112. One of the most recent in the last couple of years, which was an amazing song writing experience for me, came with a placement on Bonnie Raitt’s last Grammy winning album, ‘Slipstream,’ where I wrote a song that I wanted to get to her years ago.”
Anticipation built as the one and only Sheila E. and her band geared up to perform. Sheila is known as a hard-core performer, even performing with a broken wrist still inside a cast at the Wilshire-Ebell Theater last year and this performance was no different, as she jumped and twirled her drumsticks even coming off the stage and singing to the crowd way back in the general admission grassy hill that overlooked the VIP and stage.
Joe closed out the show, and he was, by far, the ladies favorite.
Upcoming shows by BB Jazz Promotions include Kindred The Family Soul on October 10 at the Huntington Beach Library, 7111 Talbert Ave. Huntington Beach, CA 92648.
For more information on the BB Jazz Festival, tickets for next year’s show or other concerts by the BB Jazz Promotions, go to www.bbjazz.com.