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Veteran Master of Ceremonies and always the crowd pleaser, Bill Cosby, delivered his usual style in introducing the artists and adding his special touch to the two-day event.
photo by Malcolm Ali
Playboy Enterprises Founder Hugh Hefner speaking to press at Playboy Jazz Festivalphoto by Malcolm Ali
Terrance Blanchard Photo by Malcolm Ali 2011 Playboy audience photo by Malcolm Ali photo by Malcom Ali Naturally 7 photo by Malcolm Ali 2011 playboy audience photo by Malcolm Ali 2011 Playboy audience photo by Malcolm Ali 2011 Playboy audience photo by Malcolm Ali Eloise Laws and family photo by Malcolm Ali Willis Edwards, guest, Tavis Smiley and Steve Bradford photo by Malcolm Ali 2011 Playboy audience photo by Malcolm Ali Fred Westley photo by Malcolm Ali Buddy Guy photo by Malcolm Ali Despite less than typical forecasted Southern California weather, jazz fans of all ages jammed the 2011 Playboy Jazz Festival, which presented celebrated Jazz giants, next generation stars and festival favorites, during the two-day event recently at the Hollywood Bowl.From the first one-of-a-kind Playboy Jazz Festival in 1959 in Chicago, to the first such event in Los Angeles in 1979, the Playboy Jazz Festival has become an internationally acclaimed festival and emerged as the West Coast's premier jazz event.Since that landmark first gathering, the Playboy Jazz Festival has been responsible for exposing nearly a million people to more than 300hours of jazz, presented by countless hundreds of musicians in some 150 configurations.Virtually every jazz legend has performed at the Festival and many of today'smost popular artists- including Los Van Van, Bobby McFarrin, Kenny G, Jamie Cullum, Sharon Jones a& the Dap Kings, Ozomatli, and Naturally 7 - received their first major exposure on their stage at the Hollywood Bowl.Among the headliners for this year's concert were Buddy Guy, Dianne Reeves, The Roots with special guest Terence Blanchard, Fourplay, Harmony 3 and Naturally 7. Additional artists included The LAUSD City high School Big Band, the Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet, Cos of Good Music, SFJazz Collective, Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra, the Pullum High School Big Band, Carlos Varela, Geri Allen and her Timeline Band, Lee Konitz and Robben Ford, Bill Cunliffe and the Resonance Big Band, and Still Black, Still Proud.Veteran Master of Ceremonies and always the crowd pleaser, Bill Cosby, delivered his usual style in introducing the artists and adding his special touch to the two-day event.Festival attendees, which exceeded the usual 33,000 that usually fill the Hollywood Bowl each year, represented the complete cross-section of the melting pot of Los Angeles. From athletes and artists to elected officials, union workers, moms, dads, children and grandchildren, this year's events delivered on its reputation of delivering the premier jazz event of the year.It is the unabashed opinion of this writer that anyone who wishes to kick off the summer, next year, with two days of extraordinary performances, the warmth and ambiance of what is best about Los Angeles, and just pure enjoyment, make your plans now to attend the 34th Annual Playboy Jazz Festival next year, around this time, at the Hollywood Bowl.