Bucket of blues, bag of jazz fill bill for 29th Playboy fest
James, Guy, Holloway dominateA trio of blues greats are among the headliners announced Thursday for the 29th annual Playboy Jazz Festival, set for June 16-17 at the Hollywood Bowl.
Etta James, the high priestess of the blues with a dozen top 10 R&B hits, will bring her Roots Band on Sunday, when the festival will celebrate the 80th birthday of tenorman Red Holloway, a legendary bluesman like fellow Chicagoan Buddy Guy, who will perform Saturday.
Producer George Wein has programmed some mainstream heavies who outnumber the smooth jazz contingent this year.
The Phil Woods Quintet, Terence Blanchard, the Randy Brecker-Bill Evans Soulbop Band, the James Carter Organ Trio and the Count Basie Orchestra under the direction of Bill Hughes constitute the former category.
The velvet smoothies include Chris Botti and Bowl habitue Norman Brown's Summer Storm, featuring Peabo Bryson, Marion Meadows and Jeff Lorber.
On the Latin side, Cuban-born trumpet virtuoso Arturo Sandoval will debut his Mambo Mania Big Band on Sunday. Johnny Polanco y Su Conjunto Amistad, said to be the "hottest" salsa orchestra in Los Angeles, will hold forth Saturday, as will renowned salsa singer Issac Delgado. From West Africa on Saturday will come Angelique Kidjo, the young singer who blends African musical traditions with elements of R&B, funk, jazz, Caribbean rhythms and Congolese rumba.
Direct from New Orleans, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas will update the Louisiana Creole tradition Sunday.
Returning as master of ceremonies for his 27th season, Bill Cosby will again sit in on drums Saturday with his handpicked group, the Cos of Good Music XI. They include Dwayne Burno, Carter, Ndugu Chancler, Vincent Herring, Jeremy Pelt, Larry Willis, Ron Johnson and vocalist-guitarist Ray Parker Jr.