WATTS TOWERS DAY OF THE DRUM & JAZZ FESTIVAL, WATTS (CA) – SEPTEMBER 28TH, 2013


watts towers

The Watts Towers 32nd Day of the Drum & Jazz Festival was very well-organized, peaceful and family-friendly with many Afrocentric vendors (Art, clothing, beauty products etc…), though the Food vendors selection could be improved upon to include healthier organic food. There were tours of the Watts iconic monument to inform the attendees about its history and the Italian immigrant who built it with his own hands Sam “Simon” Rodia. The highlight of the festival was Patrice Rushen’s Jazz ensemble’s (JMP All-Stars) performance but there were also various traditional music groups from Africa, the Diaspora (Caribbean, South America) and Asia in attendance (Clockwise in picture): The Wadada Cultural Soul World Beat delivered a great fusion of Reggae, Raggamuffin’ and hip hop despite some technical difficulties, Patrice Rushen and her all-star Jazz team (JMP All-Stars) were definitely the highlight of the festival and featured actor/singer TC Carson from ‘Living Single”, Kishin Daiko (Japanese Drum Ensemble) had a massive drum performance and educated the crowd about Japanese percussion styles which are similar to West African, Kevin Ricard & Creole Journey from Santiago Cuba to New Orleans delighted the crowd with Afro-Cuban jazz and classic Afro-Cuban songs and showed the similarities and cultural exchange of music from Cuba and New-Orleans before of the Caribbean influx of immigrants in New-Orleans, the Clayton Cameron Old School Swing delivered a great Jazz/Funk/R&B drum session, Wolof Times Reporter Sunny Moore poses here with some of the Festival organizers including John Outteridge (First Director of the Watts Towers Art Center, 2nd from right) in the Arts Center which provides great African Arts exhibitions to its visitors. There was also excellent “conscious” comedy from the Mooney twins who gave a touching yet funny tribute to John Outerridge and touched upon with humor various socio-political issues. The Watts Towers Festival was a definite success!
You can check their homepage for the complete line-up and schedule of events: http://wattstowers.org/Calendar_of_Events.php

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PATRICE RUSHEN & JMP ALL-STARS – WATTS TOWERS DAY OF THE DRUM & JAZZ FESTIVAL, WATTS (CA) – SEPTEMBER 28TH, 2013


patrice rushen watts

Patrice Rushen and her All-Star team of Jazz musicians, the JMP All Stars which include World-renowned musicians Ndugu Chancler (Drums), Dr. Bobby Rodriguez (Trumpet), Justo Almario (Saxophone), Nedra Wheeler (Bass) and Munyungo D. Jackson (Percussions) were definitely the highlight of this festival and delivered mesmerizing flawless Jazz music much to the delight of the crowd. Their music featured singing by TC Carson mostly known as Kyle Barker in the African-American comedy show “Living Single” who delivered well-thought out poetic lyrics with his trademark baritone voice. Great mesmerizing performance by legendary acts!

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FUTA TORO – WATTS TOWERS DAY OF THE DRUM & JAZZ FESTIVAL, WATTS (CA) – SEPTEMBER 27TH, 2013


futa toro

Malik Sow’s Futa Toro Drum ensemble led by his son Magatte Fall delivered great folkloric music specific to the western countries of Africa which include Senegal , Guinea and Mali . The Malinke Djembe rhythms accompanied with the Kora of Amadou Fall represented the rich music tradition of these regions well. The Guinea-style dancers were on point with their choreography and added more originality to the show. The lead drummer Magatte is an exceptionally gifted soloist. Great performance!

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RON POWELL’S LA SAMBA – WATTS TOWERS DAY OF THE DRUM & JAZZ FESTIVAL, WATTS (CA) – OCTOBER 27TH, 2013


ron powell

Ron Powell along with his band delivered a very impressive Carnival-like performance. His Brazilian style drumming with the sticks punctuated with Afro-cuban drumming on the Congas and acrobatic and dance moves were truly mesmerizing. The Samba dancers were also excellent and further brought the vibes of the Rio Carnival. Great great performance!

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MYKAL ROSE, SLY & ROBBIE, U-ROY – THE BEACH BALL FESTIVAL, SANTA MONICA (CA) – SEPTEMBER 22ND, 2013


MYKAL ROSE, SLY & ROBBIE, U-ROY - THE BEACH BALL FESTIVAL, SANTA MONICA (CA) - SEPTEMBER 22ND, 2013

Mykal Rose (Ex Black Uhuru) and Sly & Robbie performed together and demonstrated why they’re legendary Reggae icons by delivering pure Reggae music! Mykal Rose rocked the crowd with his unique African traditional style of singing while Sly on the drums and Robbie on the Bass guitar showed why they’re part of Reggae’s foundation, they played classic Black Uhuru tunes such as “Guess who’s coming to dinner”. The crowd was very receptive and delighted. U-Roy also showed in his earlier performance why he’s considered the Godfather of Dancehall and also sang his classic dancehall tunes which are a combination of his Raggamuffin’ accompanied by singing by another performer. The organizers could have had a larger selection of food vendors and better crowd accomodation but the line-up was powerful and the Santa Monica Beach location scenic and beautiful.

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JIMMY CLIFF – TWILIGHT CONCERT SERIES, SANTA MONICA (CA) – SEPTEMBER 12TH


JIMMY CLIFF - TWILIGHT CONCERT SERIES, SANTA MONICA (CA) - SEPTEMBER 12TH

Jimmy Cliff’s performance coincided with the 40th anniversary a few days before of the release of the classic Jamaican Gangsta movie “The Harder They Come” in which he starred back in 1973. He started the show off with soulful Nyabinghi drumming and chanting much to the delight of the crowd. He also sang old classic 70s Anti-War material as well as new to reaffirm that old issues such as the Vietnam War are still relevant and being reapplied in new contexts such as Syria. Great energy and crowd interactions!

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