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Playboy Jazz Festival 2012

Impressive artists and a wide selection of styles

Posted: May 18, 2012 6:00 a.m.
Updated: May 18, 2012 6:00 a.m.

Ramsey Lewis, Boney James, Sheila E. and Robin Thicke will headline at the Playboy Jazz Festival.

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The prestigious Playboy Jazz Festival will return to the Hollywood Bowl June 16 - 17 with a rich roster of talent that includes the biggest names in jazz, along with future jazz headliners.

The performances will include an eclectic mix of everything from standards and blues to Latin beats and world fusion.
Headliners for the 34th annual Playboy Jazz Festival will include the legendary Ramsey Lewis, Ozomatli, the Christian McBride Big Band, Shelia E. and Boney James.

"It's one of the great musical venues of the world," said Boney James. "It's always exciting to play at the Hollywood Bowl. It's got such a history to it."

James is making his fourth appearance at the festival.

"The Playboy Festival is such a venerable festival," James said. "There have been so many great artists over the years that have played the festival."

Saxophonist James has four gold albums, three Grammy nominations, a Soul Train Award, and an NAACP award nomination to his credit.

He took up the saxophone after starting in elementary school as a clarinet player.

"They didn't have any trumpets when I went to the music store, so I took home a clarinet," James said. After a few years playing the clarinet James switched to the sax after his music teacher explained to him that he could be in the stage band in high school if he played sax.

"I loved it, I realized there was a lot of popular music that featured saxophones," James said.

Emmy and Grammy-nominated Sheila E. marks her festival debut as a leader. She has previously performed several times at the festival with her legendary father, percussionist Pete Escovedo, and their family‘s famous band, with whom she still tours.

Sheila E. is also a star in her own right. She has served as the musical director for such superstars as Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé and Prince. She also toured with Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band in 2001, 2003 and 2006 and more recently performed alongside Marc Anthony in the American Idol Season 10 finale.

"The Hollywood Bowl is one of the most iconic places to perform in the world," Sheila E. said. "To know of all the great music and the great musicians that have performed there, I am honored to be part of that community."

Sheila E. said the Bowl is a great place to listen to and experience music.

"To sit outside, under the stars, enjoy the music with friends and family, it's amazing," she said.

Having played the festival on numerous occasions, Grammy-winner Ramsey Lewis will take to the Playboy stage for the first time with his popular Electric Band. Lewis is known for his hits "The In Crowd" and "Hang On Sloopy" - among others. He has earned three Grammy awards and seven Gold Records.

Currently riding high with the success of his fifth album, "Love After War," R&B artist Robin Thicke is making his highly anticipated festival debut. Thicke has composed and produced for such superstar artists as Michael Jackson, Marc Anthony, Christina Aguilera and many others.

Philadelphia born bass virtuoso and Grammy winner Christian McBride is one of the most recorded musicians of his generation. He has appeared on nearly 300 recordings as a sideman or leader and has played with such high caliber artists as Sting, The Roots, Kathleen Battle, Carly Simon and James Brown, to name a few.

Celebrated Los Angeles culture-mashers Ozomatli are returning to the Playboy stage for their fifth appearance. They offer an eclectic and notorious urban-Latino collision of hip-hop and salsa, dance hall and cumbia, samba and funk, meringue and comparsa, East L.A. R&B and New Orleans jazz mixed with Jamaican reggae and Indian raga.

Celebrating their 50th anniversary, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is synonymous with Dixieland and of New Orleans jazz and blues. Making a return appearance, the group once again will bring the spirit of the Crescent City to the Playboy stage.
Famed comedian Bill Cosby will make his 31st appearance as emcee of the festival.

Single day tickets will be available through Ticketmaster starting February 16th. Patrons can purchase tickets online at www.ticketmaster.com, over the phone by calling (213) 365-3500 at any Ticketmaster outlet or by downloading a ticket order form available at www.playboyjazzfestival.com.

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