Local Faves Sheila E., Ozomatli On Playboy Jazz Bill In June

Latin and rock drummer/percussionist Sheila E. and multi-cultural genre-mashing septet Ozomatli, who’ve both appeared in the Santa Clarita Valley and developed a local fan base, are among the headliners of the 34th annual Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl on Father’s Day weekend, June 16-17.

The lineup was unveiled by longtime festival emcee Bill Cosby and producer/booker Darlene Chan during a news conference at the Playboy Mansion in the Holmby Hills area between Westwood and Beverly Hills Thursday afternoon, attended by a handful of the performing artists and about 75 reps from media outlets around the world.

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Sheila E., Leon “Ndugu” Chancler and Bill Cosby share a laugh before the news conference started.

Saturday’s lineup, from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.: the Christian McBride Big Band; Boney James; Ozomatli; Sheila E.; Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings; The Soul Rebels with special guests Leo Nocentelli, Zigaboo Modeliste and Ivan Neville; the Global Gumbo All-Stars featuring Richard Bona, Laurel Loueke, Francisco Mela and Alfredo Rodriguez; Cos of Good Music featuring Farid Barron, Dwayne Burno, Ndugu Chancler, Tia Fuller, Matthew Garrison, Ingrid Jensen, Babatunde Lea and Erena Terabuko; and the LAUSD/Beyon the Bell All-City Jazz Band under the direction of Tony White and J.B. Byas.

Sunday’s roster, playing out from 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.: The Ramsey Lewis Electric Band; Robin Thicke; the Preservation Hall Jazz Band; Keb’ Mo’; Terri Lynne Carrington’s Mosaic Project featuring Gretchen Parlato, Carmen Lundy, Tia Fuller, Ingrid Jensen, Helen Sung, Linda Taylor and Mimi Jones; The Cookers featuring Eddie Henderson, Billy Harper, Craig Handy, David Weiss, George Cables, Cecil McBee and Billy Hart; Spectrum Road featuring Jack Bruce, Vernon Reid, John Medeski and Cindy Blackman; Chico Trujillo; KG Omulo; and the Calabasas High School Jazz “A” Band under the direction of Joshua Barroll.

More than 35,000 jazz fans attend the annual Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl.

The festival has historically sold out both days, drawing about 35,000 fans of jazz and its many subgenres to the 18,000-seat Hollywood Bowl.

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, who launched the festival in Chicago before moving it to Los Angeles more than three decades ago, did not attend the news conference unveiling the roster, as he has done each year. Hefner was “under the weather, but okay,” according to Playboy officials.

Hefner’s eldest son, Marston, 21, sat in the front row at the news conference with Rosenzweig and festival artists. Marston had been arrested in Pasadena late Sunday night on charges of domestic violence involving his girlfriend, Claire Sinclair, a Playboy Playmate.

Dr. William H. Cosby, educator, comedian, Grammy-winning recording artist, author, philanthropist and community activist, will intro the artists for his 31st turn as emcee of the festival, which usually sells out both days, drawing about 35,000 fans of jazz and its many subgenres.

The front line: Sheila E.; Ndugu Chancler; Dick Rosenzweig; Marston Hefner; and Jiro Yamaguchi and Ulysses Bella of Ozomatli.

Sheila E., noted for her work as a solo artist and with others including Prince, played the last two Loose Goose Wine Festivals as well as a recent Playboy Jazz Festival with the Pete Escovedo Orchestra, led by her legendary father and co-starring Sheila and her two brothers. At the Bowl this summer, she’ll front her own group.

Who’s in her band on Saturday, June 16? “I don’t know yet,” she said, grinning. “I play with about five different bands, so I’m going to put together somehting really special for the festival.”

Los Angeles-based Ozomatli played the Performing Arts Center in Santa Clarita on Jan. 15 and drew an appreciative crowd. In its colorful 15-year career, the group has taken its multi-genre music and message of personal and political diplomacy to venues worldwide, from elementary schools to the Hollywood Bowl. This summer’s Playboy Jazz set will be their fifth.

Playboy Jazz Festivals present the annual two-day bash in cooperation with the L.A. Philharmonic Association (the Bowl is the Phil’s house, after all). The festival kingpins are Hefner, executive producer; Rosenzweig, President Emeritus, Playboy Jazz Festivals; George Wein, Producer Emeritus; and Chan and Festival West Inc.

Performers pictured from left, front row: KG Omulo; Ndugu Chancler; Sheila E.; and Jiro Yamaguchi and Ulysses Bella of Ozomatli; and Alfredo Rodriquez. Back row: Tony White, J.B. Dyas and members of the LAUSD Beyond the Bell All-City Band, which provided live music at the news conference and will open Saturday’s show at the Bowl.

Single-day tickets went on sale Thursday through Ticketmaster (ticketmaster.com or 213-365-3500) and all Ticketmaster outlets. The mailing list for box seats in the garden and terrace sections has been full and closed since 1987, so those fans traditionally get the first shot.

Single-day tickets in the rest of the house range from $170 “super seats” dead center behind the boxes to the $27.50 cheap seats way up at the top, where the partying is most festive (prices include service fees). Big-screen displays and sound towers make the sights and sounds pretty good even in the rear sections.

Tickets remaining by May 5 go on sale at the Hollywood Bowl box office.

For more info, call the festival hotline at 310-450-1173 or visit playboyjazzfestival.com.

All photos: Stephen K. Peeples.

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