Entertainment Lead Story Music West Edition

Large crowds brave heat for Central Avenue Jazz Festival

By Kristina Dixon

Contributing Writer

SOUTH LOS ANGELES — The 23rd annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival drew large crowds July 28 and 29. The event was held along Central Avenue between King Boulevard and Vernon Avenue.

The crowd came early in preparation to save their seats to see some of the finest performers in the jazz world.

“Where else can you get a free summer concert complete with medical screenings, enjoyable physical activities and art classes,” said City Councilman Curren Price Jr. “This festival truly has something for everybody.”

The storefronts along Central Avenue remained open and conducted business as usual. The temperature peaked at 98 degrees. Bubbles were blowing in the air as a mix of west coast, smooth and Latin jazz were heard blaring from each of the four sound stages.

There were an endless amount of vendor and information booths and interactive activities available. The GRoW @ Annenberg Health and Wellness Pavilion provided confidential health screenings and prizes. The new 9th District Business and Jobs Pavilion had important information for business owners and job seekers. The Arts Pavilion featured artwork from local artists.

Meanwhile, children stayed busy with the interactive Balfour Beatty Youth Pavilion where they played street soccer matches in the middle of the street. Inside Central Avenue Park, the youth participated in drum circles and crafted acrylic art hosted by ArtActiveLA and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

This year’s headliners were the Pete Escovedo Orchestra and Myron McKinley Trio. Both acts held the crowd until sunset, which was worth the wait. Jazz lovers packed the front of both stages to dance, socialize and sweat to the sounds. Special guest appearances from the Fox 1990s sitcom, “Living Single,” T.C. Carson and Erika Alexander, surprised the audience at the Etta James Stage.

A saxophone player from the Monk Institute Alumni All Stars plays a solo during the 23rd annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival last weekend. Festival-goers braved 98 degree heat to listen to the music.
(Photo by Kristina Dixon)

“We want people to come for the music but stay for the unique experience,” Price said.

For two days families came together to enjoy the music, food, weather and to celebrate a true South Central summer.