The Playboy Jazz Festival is going on the road.
Playboy is presenting jazz festivals in six cities this July and August, with shows scheduled for Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Boston, Washington and Atlanta. Al Jarreau and Joe Sample headline the concerts.
The festivals will last from one to three days and will take place in indoor and outdoor venues with seating capacities between 4,000 and 15,000, according to Richard Rosenzweig, president of Playboy Jazz Festival.
"We've been talking about doing something like this for a long time, and it's come together nicely," says Rosenzweig.
Jarreau and Sample will appear at all six festivals, David Sanborn at three. "Then we'll add another top name, such as a Dianne Reeves or a Josh Redman, then probably go with one stellar local act in each city," says Rosenzweig. "We've always kicked off with a local act here in Los Angeles. It's a good way to expose jazz talent, and the community appreciates it." Rosenzweig says final lineups and specific venues and dates will be announced in "the next few weeks."
Rosenzweig says that while these summer fests "will not be in size and scope of the Hollywood Bowl festival, we hope in time they would build in size and scope, and take place in numerous cities, both domestically and internationally."
Free Jazz: The month before this year's 16th annual Playboy Jazz Festival, which takes place June 18-19 at the Bowl, features a series of free concerts. On Sunday at 2 p.m., Dan Siegel, Michael Wolff and Nedra Wheeler play outdoors at the Monarch Quad at the Los Angeles Valley College. On June 5, Boney James, Ernestine Anderson, Cecilia Noel and the Wild Clams and the B Sharp Jazz Quartet appear at Santa Monica College's Cosair Field. Information: (310) 449-4070.
New Focus in Pasadena: After an eclectic lineup last year, which was a sellout, the Pasadena Jazz Festival presents a more middle-of-the-road jazz show for its fourth annual event. Held Aug. 6-7 at Ambassador Auditorium, the three-concert affair spotlights Joe Henderson, Benny Green, Jimmy Smith with vocalist Marlena Shaw, Earl Klugh, Nnenna Freelon, Jimmy and Jeannie Cheatham with Hank Crawford, and others.
"We still want to cover all the bases, but this is a tighter" lineup than last year, says David Hulme, director of Ambassador Performing Arts.
Three-concert season tickets, priced from $62 to $69, and ducats for individual concerts, from $26.50 to $29.50, are now on sale. Call (800) 266-2378.
Not So Free Jazz: The Club Brasserie, noted for its top-notch jazz lineup at no cover charge, has now instituted a music charge of $7.50 per person, but has dropped its two-drink minimum. "It was a trade-off," says guitarist Sid Jacobs, who books the Brasserie and appears there on Wednesday. "We didn't want to enforce the minimum." Guitar great Bruce Forman appears at the Brasserie tonight. Information: (310) 854-1111.
Benefits and Bashes: Don Grusin, Marcos Ariel and Robben Ford top the lineup for "Jazz at Schuur '94," taking place this afternoon at 2 p.m., in the auditorium of Schuur High School (820 Wilcox Ave., Montebello). The event benefits Schuur's band program. Information: (213) 728-3815, Ext. 6639 . . . . The Los Angeles Jazz Society's "Not for Members Only," which will be held Sunday, 2 to 6 p.m., at the Musicians Union Auditorium (817 Vine St., Hollywood), is a freebie that features several notables, Jack Sheldon, Al Aarons, Thurman Green and Joyce Collins among them. Information: (213) 469-6800.
Critic's Choices: Roy Hargrove's bang-up quintet will shimmer with intensity when it plays Thursday at Ambassador Auditorium. (800) 266-2378.