For the past 13 years, the Central Avenue Jazz Festival has been serving as a unique cultural event that pays tribute to the early heart and soul of African Americans in Los Angeles. Each year, the festival draws in talented Jazz and Blues artists to celebrate the rich cultural history of the area.
Spearheaded by Councilwoman Jan Perry (9th District), the Central Avenue Jazz Festival is a collaboration of government agencies (City of Los Angeles, Dept. of Cultural Affairs & Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles) and local non-profit agencies (Coalition for Responsible Community Development, Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles, Dunbar Economic Development Corporation and Los Angeles Conservation Corps) working together to preserve the rich culture and history in South Los Angeles.
The Central Avenue Jazz Festival is held on Central Avenue and 42nd Street in South Los Angeles, in front of the historic Dunbar Hotel. The Dunbar Hotel plays an integral role in African American history in Los Angeles as it is where jazz greats like, John Coltrane and Billie Holiday stayed when visiting the area.
Central Avenue was part of an early national music circuit that included Harlem, Chicago, New Orleans, Memphis’ Beale Street, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Oakland. The corridor was densly packed with jazz dens and all-night “breakfast clubs” lighting up the avenue with their neon lights. All the prominent jazz musicians of the 1930’s and 40’s played along Central Avenue at Club Alabam, the Last Word, the DownBeat, the Memo Club, Ivie’s Chicken Shack, the Finale Club and Shepp’s Playhouse among other venues.
Each year, the festival continues the decades old tradition of hosting famous and well-know jazz professionals, which have included in the past: Gerald Wilson, Sally Hansen, Bobby Rodriquez, Clora Bryant, Ernie Andrews, Jazz on the Latin Side All-Stars, and Sandra Booker.
Added by la-underground on June 22, 2008