27th Annual Playboy Jazz Festival
A new vocalist this year was big-voiced Ledisi, who merged gospel, jazz and blues. Missing from Ramsey Lewis' scheduled lineup was 15-year-old singer Renee Olstead, a crowd favorite of the past two years who always delivered far beyond her years.
The festival's always-diverse format offered the 20-dancer Jazz Tap Ensemble and Caravan Project, and the daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra from Los Angeles, a 45-member symphonic ensemble accompanying rappers, a surprising visual and aural feast.
Addendum: The two high school big bands that performed proved they were quite ready for prime time with solid section work. Absent this year was Bill Cosby as emcee (Kevin Eubanks of The Tonight Show filled the role) and his star-studded Cos of Good Music.
Visit the Playboy Jazz Festival on the web or call 310-449-4070.