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Cunliffe, Crawford play free Playboy Jazz Festival concert May 2

Grammy-winning pianist Bill Cunliffe, bandleader Johnny Crawford featured

Posted: April 7, 2010 12:09 p.m.
Updated: April 29, 2010 2:02 p.m.

Grammy-winning pianist Bill Cunliffe and his Septet will present their innovative, swinging sound in a free Playboy Jazz Festival-sponsored community concert at the Civic Center in Beverly Hills on Sunday, May 2.

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Grammy-winning pianist Bill Cunliffe and his Septet will present their innovative, swinging sound and vocalist and bandleader Johnny Crawford and His Orchestra will evoke the romance of another era when they perform in a free concert in Beverly Hills on Sunday, May 2.

Sponsored by the Playboy Jazz Festival, the event will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Beverly Hills Civic Center Plaza, located at 450 North Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills 90210, between Santa Monica Boulevard and Burton Way.

The concert is the first in the festival's acclaimed series of free community events held in conjunction with the upcoming Playboy Jazz Festival, which is set for Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13 at the world famous Hollywood Bowl.

Cunliffe, who will open the Beverly Hills show, continues to attract nationwide attention for his lyrical style and groundbreaking compositions, has toured and played with many jazz greats, including Frank Sinatra, The Buddy Rich Big Band, Joe Henderson, Joshua Redman, James Moody, and many others.

Together, Cunliffe and his Septet will echo the sounds of big band with a celebration of saxophonist Oliver Nelson: The Blues and the Abstract Truth.

Cunliffe's latest CD, "Imaginacion," spent a month in the No. 2 position in the JazzWeek radio polls.

Johnny Crawford and His Orchestra will recall the musical elegance of another time, with their authentic arrangements of popular songs and music from the ‘20s and ‘30s.

An actor and former child star, (who rose to fame in the ‘50s as Lucas McCain's son on the popular TV western "The Rifleman") Crawford has appeared in more than 200 television shows, 15 movies, and 13 plays.

Also an accomplished musician from a show business family, Crawford now performs with his own vintage dance band featuring genuine orchestrations from the first half of the 20th century.

He has garnered an enthusiastic following in Southern California for concerts, dances, private parties and provides authentic period music for film and special events.

A teen idol during the ‘60s, he had five Top 40 hits.

His latest CD is "Sweepin' the Clouds Away."

Currently his band is No. 7 on the MySpace jazz chart.

"Our Beverly Hills concert has become a popular kick-off for the annual Playboy Jazz Festival season, and this year's roster of talent promises a lively afternoon of upbeat jazz entertainment at the Civic Center's attractive outdoor performing arts venue in
celebration of our 32nd Annual Festival," said Richard Rosenzweig, Playboy Jazz Festival president.

Food and refreshments will be available for purchase to the public.

Glass containers, alcoholic beverages and audio/video recorders are not permitted.

Two free hours of parking are available at the Civic Center parking structure, adjacent to the Beverly Hills Public Library.

For more information regarding the community concert series or the Playboy Jazz Festival, call the hotline at (310) 450-1173 or visit


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