Wednesday, July 1, 2009
So you’re probably wondering where all the ‘cool’ people go on Labor Day weekend. I’ve got an answer for you. They’re in one of many ballrooms at the LAX Marriot Hotel listening to some of the world’s finest musicians play. Now I didn’t say play jazz. Nor did I say play Dixieland. That’s because the Sweet & Hot Music Festival is much more. There are so many misconceptions about what type of person should attend a music festival. I’ve got an answer for you. Everyone should attend. This festival (unlike some others) has evolved with the times. As the Classic Jazz festival it started with a Dixieland focus over 20 years ago but music for everyone is the main focus today. For the past 12 years, the Sweet & Hot Music festival caters to lovers of jazz, blues, honky-tonk, R&B, children’s music (check out Richard Simon’s youth band 2007), and novelty. The Sweet & Hot tradition has been one of education for youth, tolerance for diversity, and fun for all. It hasn’t changed. We honor our old and encourage our young. That really makes for a successful society no matter where you are. The ‘Walk of Fame’ at the Marriot holds the names of some of the most highly touted musicians anywhere. Even with the global goodness of the participants, our Los Angeles local flavor is well represented. Local favorites such as: Herb Jeffries, Ernie Andrews, The Hues Corporation, Jack Sheldon, Yve Evans, and Marty Harris? They’ll be there. The excellent thing about them is they’re also international favorites. Jennifer Leitham, Pieces of Eight, Gil Bernal, Big Mama Sue, and of course myself, Ava DuPree, will be there to keep things interesting. And face it, where else would you be able to see this congregation of talent under one roof at a price you can afford. Speaking of congregations, there’s even a gospel set on Sunday morning that features a local Los Angeles choir.
Wally Holmes is the festival director and he never ceases to amaze me. His tireless (unless we’re celebrating) energy and willingness to embrace change is unlike any other. His hit song, ‘Rock the Boat’, is still moving folk to ‘shake their bootys’ 30 years later. Trust me, it will be played at least once. Peach, his better half, devotes her mind, body, and spirit to the success of this festival also.
The work of the volunteers, who are committed to this thing called thing jazz, well, let’s just say it’s out of this world. You too can volunteer by visiting www.sweethot.org
This festival is a small world turning for 4 days. You’ll find comedy, drama, magic, the bold, the beautiful, the young, and the restless, all served up with a little vaudeville on the side. Pianorama is a festival fixture that features various pianists who are allotted 15 minutes each to ‘play his or her butt off’. The Diva set is fun also. One solid hour of your favorite ‘chick’ singers as they sing and give you an inside glimpse of the ‘diva world’. My favorite prank memory is when a certain female singer dressed as a man and crashed the Divo (male singer) set. Clue: It wasn’t me. Did I mention dancing? Yes! There will be dancing whether your specialty is swing or ballroom, the Sweet and Hot can accommodate you. Or maybe you’d like to hang in the lobby and join in the never-ending jam session. But wait, there’s more. However, you’re going to need to experience it firsthand. All in all, it’s a safe, fun, environment that the whole family can enjoy. Come out and experience the Sweet & Hot music festival 2007. I’ll be there full of pranks and mischief and ready to bring you tunes to make you smile. So come on out to the Sweet and Hot and be cool.
Posted by Sketchpad at 7:20 AM