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Summer Splash | Jazz / Critic's Pick

May 22, 1997|BILL KOHLHAASE

Jazz played outdoors strikes special moods, often intimate, frequently celebratory. And jazz fans will have plenty to celebrate this summer with a bounty of syncopated sounds played under the sun- and star-lit skies.

For starters, there's the UCLA Jazz and Reggae Festival on the campus' intramural field. The jazz day, May 25, of the two-day event includes the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, trumpeter Terence Blanchard with pianist Mulgrew Miller and the UCLA Jazz Faculty Ensemble with Kenny Burrell, Billy Higgins, Harold Land, Billy Childs and others. Did we mention the event is free?

The Hollywood Bowl has its share of star-bright events including the two-day, pop-oriented Playboy Jazz Festival featuring Bruce Hornsby, Chaka Khan, John Lee Hooker, Grover Washington Jr., the Count Basie Orchestra with Tito Puente, the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine and others June 14-15. Vocalists Vic Damone, Melissa Manchester, Dianne Reeves, Joe Williams and others gather for "A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald" at the Hollywood Bowl June 29, and a host of the world's best pianists--Dave Brubeck, McCoy Tyner, Ramsey Lewis and David Benoit--are the "Piano Greats" on tap July 23. The grand man of jazz, saxophonist Benny Carter, celebrates his 90th birthday at the Bowl on Aug. 6.

Fans of contemporary sounds will want to catch Al Jarreau, Take 6 and Boney James at the Greek Theatre June 1. The three-day Long Beach Jazz Festival, held at the city's Rainbow Lagoon Park Aug. 8 to 10, boasts Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, Chuck Mangione, Dianne Reeves and George Duke, among others.

The romance-minded will find the right mood when the memory of Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim is celebrated in "A Twist of Jobim" with Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Eric Marienthal and others at the Greek Theatre June 26, or when Charlie Haden's Quartet West plays the John Anson Ford Theatre on Aug. 23.

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