The Long Beach Jazz Festival is coming upon its 20th anniversary this summer and organizers have called on some famous friends to celebrate. Jody Watley, Lalah Hathaway and Leela James are among those scheduled to perform during the Aug. 10-12 event at Rainbow Lagoon Park, along with surprise musical guests.
Watley will join Everette Harp and Chris Standring on Aug. 12 for the “Soul Express” show. “Chris goes on first, Everette comes on after and does his set and I come on last,” Watley tells Billboard.com. “We use one band and they all join me on the stage in the end. But, I do the longer set; it seems like I’m the artist to get everyone up and out of their beach chairs.”
Other acts on the bill include Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, Jeff Golub, Tim Bowman and Warren Hill performing Friday as “Guitar & Saxes” and Rick Braun, Jonathan Butler, Richard Elliot and Peter White performing Saturday as “Jazz Attack.”
In addition, on Friday, bandleader Gerald Wilson is scheduled to receive the Al Williams Lifetime Achievement Award for his 60+-year career in jazz.