Yesterday was the first show of the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and WOW what an event it was.
We arrived on time and our box seats at the front of the stage were in the middle of the venue, so the sun didn’t leave us alone. Make sure if you ever go there to see a show to bring a hat, food and a lot of water. Don’t forget to take a sweater or jacket with you, cause at night it’s chilly.
The bowl is one of the most impressive venues I’ve ever been at. Empty or packed with people, the place keeps amazing me. Throughout the day various acts performed and the music is constantly playing cause the stage turns. So when one band is done, the stage starts moving and the next performer is set to carry on the music.
The tribute to masterdrummer Ndugu Chancler was a really, really good one. His friends honored him by playing his work and highlighted the contribution he made to the world of music.
I met Ndugu for the first time in London where he did a show at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club with Patrice Rushen and Jaki Graham. He was an amazing talent, a very kind man with a great sense of humor. The man couldn’t stop playing music, even if he just sat down his hands and feet would start tapping. While his friends performed the tribute you could see pictures of him and his work on the
big screens. Yes he’s the man behind the drums on Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, but he has played on so many different songs than just that one. He worked with a lot of greats like; Santana, Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis and so many more. Ndugu would’ve loved the honor his friends we’re giving him for sure. All these talented musicians on one stage to celebrate the life and work of a fellow musician and friend Ndugu Chancler.
After the tribute there were performances by Angélique Kidjo, Béla Flack and the Flecktones, Sheila E. and many others . Kool and the Gang closed the evening with their funky set list.
One point of criticism is that the order of the acts could’ve been better. If there’s a tribute planned make sure you show it in the middle or ending of the event. More people would be present and the vibe would be so much better. That way it gets the attention it deserves.
Above all it was a great 1st Playboy Jazz Festival day and we’re looking forward to the 2nd one today.
More about that day tomorrow.
For now enjoy your day and again; Thank you Ndugu for the music.