McBride, Carrington lead 2012 Playboy Jazz Festival lineup


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The 2012 Playboy Jazz Festival will look to a pair of recent Grammy winners for its summer jazz party at the Hollywood Bowl. Bassist-composer Christian McBride’s heavy-swinging Big Band will headline the festival’s first day on the heels of its victory in the large ensemble category, and Sunday features drummer/bandleader Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project, which was honored in the vocal category and features a variety of female musicians, including Gretchen Parlato and Helen Sung.

Now in its 34th year and scheduled for June 16 and 17, the festival has a long tradition of mixing up jazz with a variety of genres including funk, pop and blues, and the latest edition is no exception. Rowdy rock and hip-hop alchemists Ozomatli will return to the festival for the fifth time, as will the soul powerhouse Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, who turned in a raucous first appearance at the festival in 2009.


Saxophonist Boney James and veteran pianist Ramsey Lewis mark the festival’s traditional nods to breezily funky smooth jazz, and pop singer Robin Thicke will also appear with his brand of radio-friendly R&B. The aptly named Cookers mark one of the most straightforward jazz ensembles on the bill, featuring a mix of players who cut their teeth in the ‘60s, such as Billy Hart, Cecil McBee and Eddie Henderson.

Among the festival’s wild cards are ex-Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid’s Spectrum Road, which should deliver a psychedelic take on jazz fusion with Cream’s Jack Bruce and Medeski Martin and Wood’s keyboardist John Medeski on board, and the Global Gumbo All-Stars, a group assembled by Quincy Jones that includes guitarist Lionel Loueke and Cuban-born pianist Alfredo Rodriguez.

Drummer Shiela E will appear leading her own ensemble. Also on the bill: blues guitarist Keb’ Mo and a pair of nods to New Orleans music in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Soul Rebels, which includes Leo Nocentelli, Ivan Neville and Zigaboo Modeliste.

Bill Cosby will return to handle MC duties for the 31st year, along with his annual ad hoc ensemble, the Cos of Good Music.


Carrington, McBride among winners at the 2012 Grammys


Hollywood Bowl announces its 2012 schedule

Jazz review: Day 1 of the 2011 Playboy Jazz Festival

-- Chris Barton