Blogs Najee's Notes Opinion

NAJEE’S NOTES: More jazz concerts on the horizon

The Central Avenue Jazz Festival was a tremendous success July 27 and 28 as thousands of South Los Angeles residents converged on Central Avenue. It was hot out there but for those who were in attendance, we all had a great time.

It’s the summer concert season. For South Los Angeles residents, the various jazz festivals and concerts are in full swing. Up next for many of us music enthusiasts is the 32nd annual Long Beach Jazz Festival sponsored by Rainbow Promotions. Kimberly S. Benoit serves as president of Rainbow Promotions. She is a graduate of Cal State Dominguez Hills and holds a degree in business.

Benoit oversees the day-to-day details of the company, the all-important follow-up on specifics to be sure that all the pieces are efficiently in place. She is instrumental in developing marketing strategies and coordinating all aspects of event planning. She provides the visionary force behind Rainbow’s projects.

Over the years, Rainbow Promotions has set the precedent for keeping jazz alive and increasing public awareness of the art form. The Long Beach Jazz Festival is one of the Southland’s premier music events of the summer.

Oswald Benoit Jr., Kimberly’s husband, serves as vice president and general manager in assisting in the day-to-day operation of the company. In their joint venture, he brings to the table careful analysis and solutions to artistic and business challenges.

He has a military background, serving with the U.S. Marine Corps. His experience also includes more than 20 years of managerial history with jazz festivals as well as the Birdland West and Jazz Safari restaurant and nightclubs.

Rainbow Promotions continues to create and maintain high quality in a professionally managed annual program of interactive special events and concerts in Long Beach as well as in other Southern California cities. Rainbow events are designed to ensure the participation of a greater number of residents and tourists of all age groups and demographics throughout the year.

Rainbow Promotions continues to be a champion for the preservation of jazz, creating and promoting the best in music concerts, festivals, and special events on behalf of our community.

I have attended several Rainbow Promotion events over the last 25 years and look forward along with several thousand South L.A. residents to attending the upcoming Long Beach Jazz Festival, which is an annual ritual for our community. Congratulation to the Benoit family for 32 years in putting on the premier Southern California jazz festival in our community.

The festival is Aug. 9-11, featuring music royalty that includes Patrice Rushen, Terrence Blanchard, Poncho Sanchez, Norman Brown, Brian Culbertson, Arturo Sandoval and Eric Benet.

The fifth annual Sutro Avenue Summer Soiree & Jazz Festival in historic Leimert Park is also a definite stop for me Aug. 3. This festival and resource fair will be held from noon to 7 p.m. and continues to grow. Its performers include Pete Escovedo, Maestro the Vocalinist, Karen A. Clark and our very own Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center. It’s also free and open to the public.

And finally, jazz royalty Boney James, Bob James, David Sanborn and Marcus Miller will all be performing Aug. 4 at the Greek Theatre at 7:30 p.m. To those South L.A. residents who truly follow jazz music, all these artists are icons who are playing locally. There are two things I rarely miss a USC home football game and local jazz concerts. I can’t wait!

For news tips, email me at or follow me on Twitter @najeeali.