For the Long Beach community, September brings the end of beach season and the start of school, cooler temperatures and a four-day celebration of all things jazz.
Steve Adelson, Long Beach resident and lifelong musician, started the now annual Long Beach Jazz Festival nine years ago and has watched the celebration grow into a city tradition — one that brings both musicians and fans together through a common love for the smooth sounds of jazz.
"The festival has blossomed into a high level event featuring world class entertainers in the jazz genre," Adelson said. "Great musicians from around the world now send me solicitations to perform here. There is a very high level of creative output. Attendance has risen dramatically each year, and the word-of-mouth network has given Long Beach Jazz Festival great credibility."
Guitar great Charlie Hunter will join in the positive vibes and high energy that is the Long Beach Jazz Festival for the first time this week, alongside crowd-favorite and three year festival veterans The Stephane Wrembel Group performing gypsy swing.
World-renowned jazz drummer Omar Hakim and eight-year returnees Chieli Minucci & Special EFX will also take to the stage.
"The total experience is always excellent," lead guitarist Chieli Minucci said. "Steve Adelson is a friend of ours and a wonderful musical host. The festival adds a sense of culture and excitement."
As a producer, Adelson finds the event's developments gratifying, especially when positive feedback rolls in from fans and local businesses.
"The public now looks forward to the festival as the South Shore's musical highlight each year and I get very positive feedback all year from fans, in Long Beach and from out of town," he said. "It's a way of giving to the community I live in and at the same time giving many creative artists an opportunity."
At the end of last year's festivities, Adelson expressed his desires to expand the event in the future, hoping to add more bands at the public library and restaurants citywide.
"The musician pool has risen to a new level," Adelson said of the performances starting Thursday. "We have players I never would have imagined visiting Long Beach to perform. The festival presents an international and high caliber roster. I anticipate higher attendance."
Performances will take place at the main stage of the Long Beach Public Library and local restaurants, including George Martin's Grillfire, Lola's Kitchen & Wine Bar, Avenue Cafe and Sutton Place. A detailed schedule of events can be viewed here.
Schedule of Performances
Long Beach Public Library-Auditorium
- 7 p.m. - Gail Storm solo piano and vocals,
- 8 p.m. - Bakithi Kumalo group (bassist from Paul Simon)
- 7 p.m. - Vicki Genfan solo (guitar),
- 8:15 p.m. - Chieli Minucci and Special EFX (full band)
- 12 p.m. - Connie Crothers solo piano
- 1 p.m. - George Cables Trio
- 2:15 p.m. - Charlie Hunter duo
- 3:30 p.m. - Steve Adelson Stick-Tet (w/ Bryan Carrott, Frank Bellucci, Nydia "Liberty" Mata)
- 5 p.m. - Trio of Oz w/Rachel Z and Omar Hakim
- 12 p.m. - Mike Barnett Band w/Diane Hoffman
- 12:45 p.m. - Onaje Allan Gumbs Trio
- 2: p.m. - Stephane Wrembel Trio w/David Langlois
- 3:15 p.m. -Oz Noy Trio
- 4:30 p.m. -Dean Brown Band, followed by Dean/Oz annual jam
- Sept. 16 - Sutton Place - 4 to 6:30 p.m. -Steve Adelson Trio (happy hour)
- Sept 16 - Avenue Café -9:30 p.m. - Dianne Hoffman Quartet
- Sept. 16 - Nick's Tuscan Grill 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. - Stickman Steve Group
- Sept 16 - Lola's - 9 p.m. - Lloyd Haber Group
- Sept. 16 - George Martin's Grillfire - 9 p.m. -Kerry Kearney Group
- Sept.17- George Martin's Grillfire - 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Carrott-Stick Trio (jazzy dinners)
- Sept. 17- Long Beach Historical Society - 7 p.m. -Nydia "Liberty" Mata (steel pans)
- Sept. 17-Lola's - TBA
- Sept. 17- Sutton Place - 9 p.m. Dean Brown Band
- Sept. 18-Lola's - Mike Barnett and Friends