Sunday in the Park Brings Cool Summer Jazz

The Southwest Los Angeles Community was bedazzled and bedecked out for this year’s Jazz Festival at St. Andrews Park. About 5,000 people came out for the festival and it did not disappoint. The weather even cooperated with temperatures in the low 80s with cool breezes. The park was ringed with canopies, easy ups and umbrellas under large trees providing shade and the seniors had their own tent. Local vendors, food trucks and a bounce house added to the fun.

“This year’s festival exceeded our expectations and built on our momentum from last year. Our goal was to fill the park with people from all walks of life and provide a safe, free, quality concert as part of our effort to take back the park for the community,” shared Empowerment Congress Southwest Area Neighborhood Development Council Chair Brent Page. “In the flood of emails about the event, we heard from one guest that it felt like we were back in 1974. She felt safe and proud to be there.”

Our 2018 Jazz Festival kicked off with a pre-Festival Kid’s Basketball Clinic led by no other than Norm Nixon, Laker Champion. The clinic was planned for 40 students, but many more showed up and none were turned away. The clinic provided four hours of training in basketball fundamentals and participants were excited to learn from the best! Thank you to Norm Nixon for working with our kids.

The music began with the cool tones of world renowned jazz musician Michael Sessions who is local to our Southwest Los Angeles area. Dr. Elliot Caine our favorite trumpeter/optometrist returned from last year to wow the crowds with his trumpet playing. SWITCH, an R & B group from the 70s was up next. They are known for their ability to switch instruments in the middle of a song.

We took a break in the middle of the concert to honor our local community activists for their service to our neighborhood. These men and women have been taking the lead on changing our community for the better and spurring us all on to great works! Each one was honored and received a certificate from Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson for their service and leadership.

  • Norris Byrd, Community Activist
  • Sylvia Cotton, Former Southwest Neighborhood Council Chair
  • Ann Jackson, President of West Park Terrace Block Club
  • Christina Luna, Instrumental in the Pete Brown Tennis Clinic & at St. Andrews Park
  • Dorothy Napoleon, Former Southwest Neighborhood Council Treasurer 
  • Norm Nixon, Basketball Clinic and Youth Activist

Our next act was Keschia Potter, a graduate of Washington Preparatory Academy who toured with Beyoncé and her all girl band. Her sax playing refreshed the crowd and got them moving.

Our headliner was Kenny Lattimore, described by the New York Times as a “modern soul man”. He is a Grammy Nominee and he was in our park! He had the crowd up and dancing.

Thank you to James Janisse, the local favorite on the jazz festival scene, for returning to MC our program.

Our Council thanks our many volunteers who organized this event, conducted outreach, handled logistics and registration, monitored the kid’s zone and provided security with the LAPD and paid security staff. Thank you also to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and the City Clerk for helping us through the permitting and payment process.

We appreciate the significant support of our Sponsors:

  • Brotherhood Crusade
  • Assemblywoman Autumn Burke
  • City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson
  • LADWP
  • LA Sanitation
  • LA Department of Recreation and Parks

This year we reached out to the community via Eventbrite, Facebook, 12,000 mailers, 5,000 door hangers, eblasts and more. If you have suggestions about next year’s festival and would like to volunteer please reach out at Jazz2019@SouthwestNC.org.