24th Long Beach Jazz FestivalColumnists, Kim's Kronicles — By Kim Webster on August 20, 2011 at 3:17 pm
By Kim Webster
Friday night, August 12 was an exciting prelude to an unforgettable weekend. Vocalist/ songwriter Kori Withers (daughter of legendary Bill Withers) opened the evening with her unique style. The evening continued with “Smooth Side of Soul” featuring Najee on sax, flute and clarinet, Alex Bugnon on keyboards, and the vocals of Howard Hewett. Najee and Howard Hewett came off stage and performed to the audience’s delight. Composer/multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson had the ground vibrating and the crowd partying with his closing performance.
Saturday’s cool breeze was perfect for the mellow vocals of Michael Franks, Amel Larrieux and Kenny Lattimore. Everette Harp and Kim Waters both weaved their saxes with irrestible grooves. The ever so versatile Whispers took the crowd on a musical journey as only they can.
On Sunday, the Al Williams Jazz Society featuring Andrea Palm provided the musical backdrop as Karen A Clark recited poetry and song in tribute to Gil Scott-Heron. Saxophonist Jackiem Joyner and funk/soul/jazz band Down To The Bone had the crowd rockin’ their heads. Charismatic singer/songwriter Kem put the ladies in a romantic mood when he appeared on stage in a pink linen suit singing all their favorite songs. Closing the evening was Charlie Wilson. One patron referred to him as “bringing that back in the day showmanship when you got your money’s worth.” People were on their feet as he performed hit after hit from his days in the GAP Band and his solo career.
Congratulations to Jazz Search Winners Anthony Lucca, John Snow and Oliver Hendleman and “The Next Great Drummer.” For more info, please go to
All Photos by Kim Webster.