It's September, that time of year when Long Beach establishments start jazzing things up. The Long Beach Public Library and the Long Beach Historical Society Museum, along with Nick's Tuscan Grill, Lola's Kitchen & Wine Bar, Monterey and Grillfire restaurants, will play host to the 8th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival.
The smooth tunes that mark the four-day musical festival, now an annual tradition in the city each fall, starts Thursday night and the library and culminates in an all-star jam at Monterey on Sunday.
"The community has really supported the shows with large attendance numbers and enthusiastic response," said jazz musician, festival producer and Long Beach resident Steve Adelson. "The musicians as well, have shown a genuine inspired spirit in presenting their art."
For Adelson, the festival captures the very essence of jazz, wherein the flames from the stage spread to the floor. It's not only the connection between the musicians and their music that makes the jazz engine hum, Adelson explained, it's also the completed triangle between musician, music and muse – the audience.
"It's very gratifying to experience the positive interaction between audience and performer," he said. "The LBJF has become a large four day party for the fans and the musicians. And did I mention it's free?"
In the heat of a performer's blistering musical moment, those spontaneous musical connections might seem like happy accidents, moments of fleeting, blinding brilliance. But for this magic to happen, months of production and preparation take place behind the scenes. As brilliant as he can be on his instrument known as the Chapman Stick (catch him and his band on Saturday afternoon at the library), Adelson believes his real talent is the leadership he demonstrates in delivering this gift of music to the jazz and Long Beach communities.
"It's very gratifying to give the artists a stage to showcase their music and equally rewarding to see and hear the positive feedback from the fans," Adelson said. "The level of musicianship from our artists is extremely high and at the same time entertaining. That scenario is a very important goal when I consider each year's roster."
The centerpiece of this year's festival is renowned drumming legend Omar Hakim (Weather Report, Sting) who plays with the Trio Oz along with piano whiz Rachel Z. on Saturday afternoon at the library.
Other notable performances will include bass virtuoso Bakithi Kumalo (Paul Simon) and his band kicking off the festival at the library on Thursday night, Long Beach's favorite jazz-rock fusion machine Primo jams at Monterey on Saturday night, and Long Island's own jazz drumming legend John Favicchia brings his Dharma All-Stars to the library on Friday night.
"The Long Beach festival is becoming a very famous festival on Long Island," said Favicchia, who has been Adelson's colleague and collaborator for more than a decade. "Steve gets so many calls, and he does a great job of switching it up year to year. He does a tremendous job."
For more information about the Jazz Festival, visit www.longbeachjazzfest.com.
All events will be held at Long Beach Public Library unless otherwise noted.
Thursday Sept. 23
7:00pm - Bakhiti Kumalo Band
8:30pm - Joe Deninzon Group (swing)
Friday, Sept. 24
7:00pm - Edmar Castaneda (harp)
8:30pm - John Favicchia's Dharma Allstars
9:30pm-Heather Parris Group at Lola's
9:45pm-Steve A Stick-Tet (trio+) at Monterey
9:45pm-Joe Vicino Group at Grillfire
9:30pm- Moth To Flame at Tuscan Grill
Saturday, Sept, 25
12:00 noon - Pete Levin Trio
1:00pm - Steve Adelson Stick-Tet (w/special guest Bob Franceschini and others)
2:30pm - Phil DeGruy (17 string guitarp)
3:45pm - The Trio Of OZ feat. Rachel Z and Omar Hakim
5:00pm - Primo
6:45pm-Kerry Kearney-Steve A Band at Grillfire
7:00pm- Alan Bates - Steel Pans at Historical Society
9:30pm-Lil Cliff and The Cliffhangers at Lola's
9:45pm-Primo w/Dean Brown at Monterey
9:30pm- Moth To Flame at Tuscan Grill
Sunday, Sept. 26
12:00 noon - Michael Barnett Group (w/Diane Hoffman)
12:45pm - MLK Percussion Ensemble
1:30pm - Alex Fox Group
3:00pm - Dean Brown Band
4:15pm - Oz Noy
5:30pm - Guitar Summit (Heavyweight Jam)
5:00pm-Mike Barnett Group at Lola's
7:00pm-LB All Stars Jam (closing party) at Monterey