Home » Jazz Articles » Hot Fun In The Summertime: The Leimert Park Jazz Festival Celebrat...

6
In Pictures

Hot Fun In The Summertime: The Leimert Park Jazz Festival Celebrates The Culture Of Black Los Angeles

By

Sign in to view read count
When Diane Robertson moved into LA's Leimert Park neighborhood (the cultural center of Black Los Angeles), she knew she wanted to do something to celebrate the community and bring the people together. So, in 2015, she organized the first Sutro Avenue Summer Soiree. But after a great deal of thought and hard work, in 2020 Robertson, along with Dwight Trible and The World Stage, transformed this street party into the Leimert Park Jazz Festival. Sadly, due to the Covid crisis the first annual event was limited to "streaming," but on Saturday August 28th the Leimert Park Jazz Festival went "live" and in person at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

Blue skies, mild temperature, and a cool breeze cooperated to make this a glorious day long celebration of African American music, art and culture for the estimated thousand people in attendance, most of whom were masked. Hosted by Southern California's favorite jazz DJ, LeRoy Downs, the music kicked off with the multi-cultural, Afro-centric rhythms of the mostly female band, Adaawe. Vocalist extraordinaire and Executive Director of The World Stage, Dwight Trible, then brought his band up to the stage where his searing and dynamic, signature singing style energized the afternoon crowd.

Later, veteran saxophone master Azar Lawrence electrified the listeners with a set of the "fire" music that had baptized him nearly fifty years ago when, upon his arrival on the New York City jazz scene, he first joined Elvin Jones' band followed by more than five memorable years with McCoy Tyner. On this night Lawrence grabbed hold of the audience's ears with a soulful rendition of the John Coltrane classic, "Naima," and never let go. After the sun went down, the evening segment of the festival featured the "sabroso" Latin jazz sounds of Mongorama followed by the straight ahead jazz of veteran drummer Albert Tootie Heath's band with guest guitarist, Jacques Lesure.

Then finally, after more than six hours, the last notes faded into the air, the crowd dispersed and the lights went out on a very successful Leimert Park Jazz Festival.
View Slideshow
FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter Since 1995, shortly after the dawn of the internet, All About Jazz has been a champion of jazz, supporting it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to rigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment

Tags

More

Popular

Read Ramsey Lewis: Life is Good
Read Meet Abe Goldstien
Out and About: The Super Fans
Meet Abe Goldstien
Read Herbie Hancock: An Essential Top Ten Albums
Read Matthew Shipp: A Dozen Essential Albums
Read Bill Charlap's Stardust

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.