It’s time once again for cool Jazz on a warm summer afternoon. The 19th Annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival will take place this weekend in front of the famed Dunbar Hotel on historic Central Avenue in South Los Angeles. Showtime is from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 26-27.
The free two-day event, sponsored by Councilman Curren D. Price Jr. (Ninth District), pays homage to the vital role Central Avenue played in establishing Jazz music and African American culture in Los Angeles. More than 35,000 persons are expected to attend the event which will be even larger this year with three stages, including one inside the Dunbar Hotel where Jazz legends ranging from Count Basie and Art Blakey, to Lionel Hampton and Sarah Vaughn once performed the biggest hits of the day.
Though these and many more legends who performed there are long gone, the music lives on. Among this year’s performers are the Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Ernie Andrews and Mongorama featuring Justo Almario. Also, BET and Centric will present artists Terrace Martin, Malcolm Jamal Warner (of “Cosby Show” fame), and a number of surprise guests.
The festival will also include several community engagement components with the addition of new Health and Wellness, Youth and Arts pavilions. The Health and Wellness pavilion will offer information on health screenings, the Youth pavilion will feature family-friendly activities and the Arts showcase will feature a collection of local art and live art demonstrations.
Parking is free on a first-come, first-served basis at 43rd Street and Avalon Boulevard, and also at 4016 S. Central Ave. Several Metro bus lines and Dash lines run directly to the site.
The Jazz Festival is among a number of special events and revitalization programs taking place in the “New Ninth” which includes local destination points such as L.A. Live, Exposition Park and U.S.C.