Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Watts will host on Oct. 7 its 20th Jazz At Drew concert series on the university campus, 1731 E. 120th St. Legendary rock-soul group Earth, Wind & Fire will headline the concert.
Organizers say that Jazz at Drew’s mission is two-fold: to fundraise for campus initiatives and to provide the South Los Angeles community with excellent entertainment as a part of its commitment to equip the area with the resources it needs to be a successful and thriving community.
Members of Earth, Wind & Fire over the years have been ardent supporters of the fundraiser’s mission as well as the university’s mission of educating compassionate health professionals that are dedicated to eliminating health disparities by providing access to quality healthcare services to underserved populations. The musical lineup this year will also include West Coast Get Down featuring Kamasi Washington, Miles Mosley, Cameron Graves, Ronald Bruner; percussionist extraordinaire Sheila E, Latin soul group DW3, and jazz great Eloise Laws. The Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center Band will open the show.
As one of the most chronically underserved areas in the county, South Los Angeles is not home to many large-scale concert events. As a result, residents often have to travel to other parts of town to see their favorite acts and spend hundreds of dollars on tickets to attend. Jazz At Drew has a multitude of pricing tiers to accommodate any budget and remain accessible, not just for enthusiasts in the know but also to local residents with a general interest in the festival experience.
In its prime, Jazz At Drew was regularly referred to by top publications as a “potent secret weapon for jazz in the Southland.” However, many journalists and high-profile enthusiasts lamented the fact that the event always seemed to have too low of a profile for the calibre of entertainment that it offered. Don Heckman, a veteran of both the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, once commented: “One can only hope that this superb event will no longer be an insider’s secret.” Now in its second year of operation after a near two-decade hiatus, the re-emergence of Jazz At Drew signals the return of one of LA’s best kept secrets as an established entity within the local community and the greater Los Angeles jazz scene.
The Metro Green or Blue lines stop at the Willowbrook-Rosa Parks Station, a 10-minute walk south on Wilmington Avenue to the campus.
Tickets are available at jazzatdrew.brownpapertickets.com or by phone at (323) 357-3669. For more details, visit their Facebook page at www.cdrewu.edu.