Summertime always brings a favorite tradition—live musical performances in the park. There is a positive energy for people as they listen to a familiar song with family and friends while enjoying food and sunshine. This Sunday, that summer tradition continues with the 12th annual City of Gardena Jazz Festival being held at Rowley Memorial Park.

The annual event attracts Jazz lovers from all over Southern California and offers a music-filled afternoon for the whole family.

The award-winning Long Beach Poly High School Jazz Combo, which has been recognized regionally and internationally, will kicking off the festival. Additionally, the group has been recognized several times by the Grammy Foundation as a product of one of the most outstanding high school music programs in the United States. “We want to highlight different youth organizations, not just from L.A., Gardena or Torrance,” stated Evette Benjamin, administrative aide of the Gardena Community Center which organizes the event.

“These headliners are what the kids aspire to be, and this gives them that opportunity. We want to give every child, every young person, the opportunity to be a headliner.”

To view examples of their talent, the group has several performances posted to YouTube.

Headlining the event will be nine-time Grammy nominee, saxophonist Dave Koz. Gathering fellow saxophone artists Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot and Mindi Abair and playing as “Dave Koz and Friends,” they will perform songs from their album, “Summer Horns.”

The album features arrangements of Jazz classics such as “Take Five” and “God Bless the Child.” Among other numbers featured on the 2013 disc is the anthem to summer, “Hot Fun in the Summertime.”

Vocalist Raffia is also scheduled to perform.

A singer whose style is a fusion of Jazz, R&B and Soul, her music has been featured on radio stations worldwide since the release last year of her EP, “Let it Go.”

Raffia has also worked as a background singer for such diverse artists as Aretha Franklin, Melissa Etheridge, Anita Baker, Christina Aguilera and Chante Moore.

Star Search winner, and Grammy-nominated singer, Karina Pasian will also perform.

A classically-trained vocalist and pianist who speaks three languages, Pasian was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B for her first album, “First Love,” and has worked with producers Quincy Jones, Da Internz and Harmony Samuels.

Other performers on the lineup include Jazz saxophonist Euge Groove, who has performed with Tower of Power, the group Exposé, and Tina Turner. His most recent album is titled “Sunday Morning.”

Keyboardist Brian Simpson will also be featured. Simpson has worked over the years with such artists as Janet Jackson, Teena Marie and George Duke. He also has had the distinction of serving as musical director for Dave Koz for 15 years and David Sanborn for eight years.

The Gardena Jazz festival started as a free event in 2003 but now boasts a $20 ticket price. At press time tickets were still available, but have sold out in past years.

Rowley Park is located at 13220 S. Van Ness Ave., Gardena. The gates will open at 10 a.m. and performances start at 11:30 a.m. Alcoholic beverages and fire pits will not be allowed and coolers will be checked.

For more information, contact (310) 217-9500 or check the website, www.gardenajazzfestival.com.