32nd Annual Playboy Jazz Festival: June 12-13, 2010

The biggest jazz event of the summer is just around the corner! Get your tickets now for the 32nd annual Playboy Jazz Festival happening June 12-13, 2010.

The rich tradition of legendary jazz performers as well as new, up and coming talent continues to excite audiences through this amazing event. And this year's lineup is a force to be reckoned with!

The legendary George Benson, Chick Corea, Manhattan Transfer, Kurt Elling, and Los Van Van! are just some of the headliners for this fabulous weekend of jazz. Below is the complete lineup for both days.

Saturday, June 12, 2010 -
2:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
  • Chick Corea Freedom Band with Christian McBride, Roy Haynes, Kenny Garrett
  • Sax for Stax featuring Gerald Albright, Jeff Lorber, and Kirk Whalum
  • Kurt Elling with special guest Ernie Watts
  • Pete Escovedo Orchestra featuring Shelia E., Peter Michael, and Juan Escovedo
  • Marcus Miller Band with featured guest artist Christian Scott
  • The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra salutes Louie Bellson
  • Javon Jackson Band with special guest Les McCann
  • Naturally 7
  • Jake Shimabukuro
  • Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue
  • El Dorado High School under the direction of Richard Watson
Sunday, June 13, 2010 -
2:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.

  • George Benson
  • Manhattan Transfer
  • Bobby Hutcherson and Cedar Walton Quartet
  • Salif Keita
  • Robert Randolph & The Family Band
  • Esperanza Spalding
  • Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
  • Tiempo Libre
  • Cos of Good Music with Dwayne Burno, Ndugu Chancler, Mark Gross, Jay Hoggard, D.D. Jackson, and Ingrid Jensen
  • Jazz Mafia's Brass Bows and Beats
  • L.A. All District High School Jazz band under the direction of Tony White and J.B. Dvas
Don't miss out on the biggest jazz weekend of the year! Come join Hugh Hefner and host Bill Cosby at the Hollywood Bowl for this landmark jazz event. Tickets start as low as $20. Get yours and I hope to see you there! I'm getting mine!

For more information, visit

The 32nd Annual Playboy Jazz Festival is presented in cooperation with the L.A. Philharmonic Association, KJAZZ 88.1 FM, and 94.7 The Wave.

ALL ABOARD!!!!!! The Night Train!!!!

Talk about a song with many different sounds and a complicated history! Jimmy Forrest's 1951 Night Train has been recorded, re-recorded, sound tracked, and just flat out covered by so many jazz & blues greats as well as rock 'n' roll musicians.

What's so special about this song is that there were so many hands that made it great. The opening riff of Night Train was created in 1940 by a small group led by Duke Ellington along with Johnny Hodges under the title "That's the Blues, Old Man." Forrest's long tenor solo in the middle of the song makes the song unmistakably recognizable. After Forrest departed from Ellington's band, he inserted his own solo over a stop-time rhythm while still using that familiar, earlier riff. Forrest recorded the song on United Records and had a major R&B hit.

Here's Jimmy Forrest's original

With so many bands and musicians covering this song, it's easy to see how "Night Train" gained its popularity. Here are notable recordings:

Louis Prima and Sam Butera

Oh, you got to love these guys! Such energy! Just listen to them wail! Notice their crazy, wild antics versus Keely Smith's cold, manikin persona. Made for a great show in Vegas!

James Brown

James Brown gave the Night Train soul when he brought it to Motown. Got to love that sax!

Oscar Peterson

Now this is a pretty cool cover. Pianist Oscar Peterson puts a mellow groove to the song by slowing it down, making it a smooth listen.

And for MY personal favorite...

Marvin Berry and the Starlighters - Back to the Future

OH! This has got to be one of the best covers of "Night"... period! Besides it being in probably one of the best and most classic movies of all time, this version of "Night Train" really shows off that tenor solo that made the song so unique. Awww.... love the "Night Train." Enjoy!

Takin' Five...

The Jazz Spazz

"Jazz does not belong to one race or culture, but is a gift that America has given the world."

—Ahmad Alaadeen