As the festival got under way for the second day, Saturday afternoon had an amazing line-up of artists with diverse styles for everyone to enjoy. There was Contemporary jazz by bassist, Jennifer York and notable saxophonist, James Moody featuring vocalist, Marlena Shaw and saxophonist/bassist, Gerald Albright. Also, R&B performed by Billy Paul, Jean Carne, and Michael Henderson was just fantastic. Saxophonist, Michael Lington, and cunning saxophonist/keyboardist, Boney James both gave skillful musical renditions in smooth jazz. Saturday was indeed an incredible evening with Boney James artful and crafty interpretations, which gave the audience just what they wanted, a high energy level blowout-take no prisoners performance.
Sunday was more of the same with drummer, Al Williams featuring vocalist, Barbara Morrison. Both, Williams and Morrison are jazz musicians in their own right however, Morrison is also known as a blues artist as well, having recorded jazz as well as blues. Angela Bofill a prominent R&B artist delighted the audience with her soulful vocals; Bofill was thrilled as the audience desired to hear more of her sultry sound as she attempted to leave the stage. The masterful percussionist, Poncho Sanchez captivated the audience with his Afro-Cuban rhythms, while pianist, Keiko Matsui engaged the audience with her western classical/modern style of jazz. In addition, Matsui husband, master flutist, Kazu Matsui, treated the audience as he joined her on stage for a duo performance.
With the last two performances of the evening yet to come, one can’t help but feel that the evening was coming to a close much to quickly. The thought of having to wait another year to enjoy such a wonderful event-well, it’s just something you don’t want to think about. So, just throw yourself back into the moment of the evening when Najee an accomplished saxophonist/flutist stepped onto the stage, the crowed was already on their feet, Najee truly gave a remarkable and memorable performance. However, legendary pianist George Duke was not to be out done. Duke captured the audience’s energy with his electrify performance in returned they embraced him with warm affection, applause, and a passion to hear more of Duke’s intricate variety of musical artistry. To sum-up this year’s 15th Annual Long Beach Festival one can only say; well done and brace oneself for the following year. Yet, don’t forget to secure you tickets early, are you just might find yourself on the outside looking in due too another sell out crowd.