When the news broke in December that the L.A. Philharmonic was signing on to co-present and book the Playboy Jazz Festival, some fans of the summertime musical tradition had to wonder what effect it would have on the festival's roster of performers.
Based on the first results of the partnership, any worries were unfounded as the lineup was announced for the 36th annual festival with plenty of familiar faces as well as a few new ones.
Scheduled for June 14 and 15 at the Hollywood Bowl, the festival will be headlined by vocalist and one-time L.A. Phil creative chair for jazz Dianne Reeves, who also performed earlier this month to open the Philharmonic's jazz season.
The first day also includes saxophonist Tia Fuller, slide trumpeter Steven Bernstein, Kenny Barron teamed with special guest Ravi Coltrane and an all-star tribute to the late keyboardist George Duke that includes Al Jarreau, Stanley Clarke and Ndugu Chancler.
The tribute takes on an additional level of poignance given that Duke was a longtime festival favorite, having also headlined the first day of last year's installment, along with vocalist Jeffrey Osborne.
Sunday's lineup is equally eclectic, led by smooth jazz veteran George Benson paired with like-minded guitarist Earl Klugh. The bill also includes bassist Dave Holland's hard-hitting electric band Prism, up-and-coming vocalist Jose James, rising stars of the New Orleans scene Jon Batiste and Stay Human and soul-jazz organist Dr. Lonnie Smith (who also performs at Segerstrom Concert Hall in Orange County this weekend).
Comic George Lopez, who took over hosting duties for longtime master of ceremonies Bill Cosby, will also be returning. Visit the Hollywood Bowl website for full lineup and ticket information.