Los Angeles Music Preview: 2017 PLAYBOY JAZZ FESTIVAL (The Hollywood Bowl)

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by Tony Frankel on June 2, 2017

in Music,Theater-Los Angeles


OK, you’ve heard about it for years. But now you’re ready to take the plunge (and you should be) to attend the world famous Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. These two marathon days, June 10 & 11, 2017, can seem a bit intimidating, so let me help you out, and offer clips of a few of the acts that’ll be on hand.

Each day begins at 3:00 pm and for the next eight hours or so you will be exposed to all forms of jazz, from be-bop to fusion and improvised to arranged. Prepare to enter into realms unknown as the word “jazz” encompasses musical varietals as vast as those in modern music. You’ll also see both headliners and newcomers.

Already you may be thinking, “How do I plan ahead to see just the acts I want to see?” Well, that’s the beauty of the festival–you don’t have to plan because it’s a party. In fact, the line-up you see listed when you buy tickets is not the order of appearance; that will be known on the day you go. We do know that George Lopez is returning this year as Master of Ceremonies.

British newcomer Jacob Collier, a Quincy Jones protégé and first-time Grammy winner this year is on board; the Arturo Sandoval Latin Big Band is sure to get all 17,000 attendees on their feet; musical director Stefon Harris and special guests Roy Ayers and Warren Wolf offer a salute to late jazz vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson; and headliner Marcus Miller (with special guest Rahsaan Patterson) salutes the great Al Jarreau, who died last February. Also headlining: Grammy Award winner Lalah Hathaway, Common, Corinne Bailey Rae, Gregory Porter and TajMo’ (the Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ band). See the full line-up here.

The more laid back you are at the festival, the happier you’ll be. It can be hot during the day (bring hats and sunscreen), and sometimes a neighbor is a little too loud when your favorite act is on, but relax. This is as much a communal event as it is a celebration of jazz. And it’s continuous, so you can take a break anytime.

The good news about breaks is that the Bowl has updated their food choices: Chef Suzanne Goin and restaurateur Caroline Styne have introduced new offerings. This year premieres the newly-built Plaza Marketplace–located in the completely renovated Box Office Plaza–which offers pre-entry shopping for picnics on the grounds. Goin’s “grab-and-go” prepared foods will be available along with fresh breads, cheeses, snacks, and wine; you can also arrive hours before the show starts with a sit-down relaxing lunch; or snack throughout the day; or have a meal delivered to your box, or… the choices are seemingly unlimited.

Check out these food options:
The Wine Bar by a.o.c
the backyard
Kitchen 22
Street Food and Snacks
Marketplace East & Plaza Marketplace
Buzz McCoy’s Marketplace and Sushi
Lucques at the Circle

It’s an awesome line-up this year; I’ve either seen or heard the performers, and it’s actually a bit startling that they’ll all be in one place. I’m happy just thinking about it!

The 2017 Playboy Jazz Festival
The Hollywood Bowl
Saturday and Sunday, June 10 & 11, 3:00
for tickets, call 323.850.2000 or visit The Hollywood Bowl

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