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New Artists Share Center Stage with Established Talent at Verizon Music Festival This Fall in LA

LOS ANGELES Budding entertainers have tried many ways to gain recognition Star Search, Showtime at the Apollo and American Idols just to name a few; however, the 2002 Verizon Music Festival, which comes to Los Angeles September 30-October 6, is the perfect showcase for new talent to share center stage with established artists.

This year’s Verizon Music Festival "emerging talent" artists, who were selected based on their performances, recordings, media attention and industry buzz, The emerging talent line-up at premier performances includes jazz vocalist Lea DeLaria appearing with the Jazz Classic featuring Patrice Rushen and Ndugu Chancler at Center Theatre in Long Beach on October 1 at 8:00 p.m. and smooth jazz trumpeter Chris Botti appearing with Al Jarreau at Wadsworth Theater on October 4 at 8:00 p.m.

In addition, folk and blues vocalist/guitarist Toshi Reagon performs with Ozomatli at California Plaza on October 3 at 6:00 p.m.; Mexican rock/jazz group Quetzal joins Julieta Venegas at California Plaza on October 5 at 7:00 p.m.; and jazz pianist Gerald Clayton appears with Ray Charles, Soulive, Kátia Moraes and others at Old Central Park in Old Pasadena on October 6 at noon.

George Wein, CEO of Festival Productions, Inc. and producer of the Verizon Music Festival, added, "While being selected for the Verizon Music Festival is much simpler than artists trying to impress judges or seeing for whom the audience claps loudest, it is still a long and thoughtful process. There’s an abundance of great talent from which to choose, and we’re pleased to present this year’s exciting line-up to concert-goers."

Lea DeLaria’s long and varied resume includes her success as a stand-up comedian for two decades, an actress, author and now jazz singer. After performing at leading comedy clubs across the nation, she began gaining even more exposure through staring in the Broadway revival of On The Town as well as the recent Rocky Horror Picture Show and guest spots on Friends, Matlock, The Drew Carey Show, One Life to Live and in her motion picture debut, The First Wives Club. In 2001, she switched gears and signed a four-record deal with Warner Brothers Records, resulting in her first jazz album, Play It Cool.

Chris Botti, whose evocative, atmospheric trumpet improvisations have put him in the forefront of contemporary jazz, is one of the most popular and promising new arrivals of any musical genre. After two years on the road with Sting as a featured soloist in the Brand New Day band, it’s no wonder that his fan base continues to grow. In fact, his new CD, Night Sessions, was written and recorded between Sting’s concert dates. The Oregon-bred trumpeter also has performed in the studio or on stage with Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Natalie Merchant and others.

Toshi Reagon, daughter of Sweet Honey in the Rock founder Bernice Johnson Reagon, is poised to follow in her mother’s footsteps footsteps that lead to rave reviews, loyal fans and extraordinary music filled with messages and meaning. Her trademark performances showcase her booming, earthy voice, strong songwriting and stellar guitar work. Reagon’s compositions range from folksy, retro funk and blues highlighting her political activism to soulful stories about relationships.

Quetzal is known as one of L.A.’s finest bands; and to prove it, their audiences are always large and always satisfied. Stemming from the Los Angeles Chicano Movement, the eight-piece ensemble combines Mexican indigenous music with rock and Caribbean influences. The members of this politically active group bring together musicians of Cuban, Chicano and Brazilian backgrounds, all contributing to Quetzal’s unique sound, danceable rhythms and lyrics that fill the soul and feed the mind.

Gerald Clayton, a gifted young pianist, is a senior at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Since his sophomore year, he has been a member of the school’s jazz combo and jazz big band, which opened the 2000 and 2001 Playboy Jazz Festival and performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival. A recipient of the 2001 Spotlight Award, Gerald was presented the 2002 "Level 1" award by the National Foundation for the Advancement for the Arts and elected a Presidential Scholar in the Arts.

The 2002 Verizon Music Festival in Los Angeles features seven days of concerts with Teddy Pendergrass, Jazz Classics featuring Patrice Rushen & Ndugu Chancler, Béla Fleck, Ozomatli, Al Jarreau, Julieta Venegas and Ray Charles. Concerts are scheduled at Royce Hall, Center Theatre, California Plaza, Wadsworth Theater, Conga Room, Pasadena’s Central Park, Temple Bar, Jazz Bakery and the World Stage.

All tickets for the Verizon Music Festival in Los Angeles are available through Ticketmaster outlets, including Tower Records, Robinson-May, Wherehouse Music (select locations), Tu Musica and Ritmo Latino by calling 213-365-3500 and online at ticketmaster.com ). Service charges apply on all phone, outlet and online sales. For full Verizon Music Festival information, call 212-501-1390. In Southern California, call 310-450-1173, or visit the festival Web site at verizon.com/musicfestival ).

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 133.8 million access line equivalents and approximately 29.6 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and nearly 248,000 employees, Verizon’s global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit .www.verizon.com ).

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Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Lea De Laria, Chris Botti, Reagon, Quetzal
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