By Jenny Peters
There’s truly no better place to be on a sunny weekend in June than at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, joining in the festive celebration of the annual Playboy Jazz Festival. Marking its 41st year in 2019, this festival has lit up the Bowl for two full days and nights of the best jazz, blues and R&B on the planet since 1978, when Hugh Hefner was at the height of his game.
Tickets are now on sale for both Saturday June 8 and Sunday June 9, with prices ranging from $25 to $186 for each day, with concerts starting at 3 p.m. and going until about 10:30 p.m. Comedian George Lopez has been the host each day (ever since longtime host Bill Cosby turned out to be the world’s worst nightmare); both days feature top acts and popular newcomers performing a wide range of musical styles.
Saturday’s lineup includes a crazy mash-up of musical styles, ranging from Kool and the Gang all the way to Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. Jazz legend (and recent Oscar nominee for “Blackkklansman”) Terence Blanchard hits the stage with The E-Collective and special guest Quiana Lynell; plus, an all-star lineup celebrates the life of drummer Ndugu Chancler, including musicians Doc Powell, Patrice Rushen, Ernie Watts, Byron Miller and (on drums) Rayford Griffin, along with vocalists TC Carson and Josie James.
Other headliners on Saturday feature Sheila E., Angelique Kidjo, Terrance Martin and Jazz in Pink.
Sunday brings more incredible music, with Boz Scaggs leading the pack. That guitar virtuoso closes the full second day, but Maceo Parker and his booming sax and dulcet voice have people excite to see who he brings to the stage earlier. His Maceo Parker Big Band features Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson, Donald Harrison, David Weiss, George Cables, Cecil McBee and Billy Hart.
Also in the lineup during the all day to evening affair is New Orleans favorite the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, as well as The Family Stone, led by Jerry Martini, a founding member of Sly & the Family Stone
As anyone who has been to the Playboy Jazz Festival over the past 40 years knows, the two-day extravaganza is not only about the music, but much more. There’s always an incredibly festive atmosphere all weekend, as people dress to the nines, bring enough food and libations to share with friends and perfect strangers sitting nearby and even throw some Mardi Gras beads to those strolling by to add to the fun.
The Hollywood Bowl is one of Southern California’s iconic places and the Playboy Jazz Festival is one of the most-fun events that happens during its annual season, which is always presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. For the complete Hollywood Bowl 2019 season schedule, go to www.HollywoodBowl.com.