The Latin Side

24th Annual Playboy Jazz Festival
Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA
June 15-16, 2002

Welcome to a photo exhibit by photographer Ricky Richardson.

The 24th Playboy Jazz Festival was two days of non-stop music. With a stage that rotates, there were literally no pauses. A perfect weekend with hot sun, lots of food and drinks, the Bowl was filled to capacity with twenty thousand people. MC and host, Mr. Bill Cosby kept everyone in a good mood with his splendid comedy and timing. He 'directed' the Cos of Good Music VII group, which included such names as Monty Alexander, Craig Handy, Babatune Lea and Kevn Eubanks.

The Latin side of the festival included Maraca y su Otro Vision, Arturo Sandoval and Alex Acuña and Justino Amarino's Tolu. Sandoval's band included a group of young musicians, residing in Miami in order to work and tour with the Maestro. Sandoval's playing, whether on trumpet, keyboard or timbales is always exquiste. However, the Cuban jazz pieces showed his virtuosity much more than his intreptations of Miles Davis and other jazz masters. Even MC Bill Cosby joined Sandoval on campana at one point. (See photo at left)

Maraca y su Otro
Vision, direct from Cuba, came to play as the sun was going down. Their energy and music was well recieved by the crowd. Maraca's perfect flute playing, backed by a group of talented musicians and singers was a great crowd pleaser. At one point, they marched off the stage and into the crowd, as they played music for Cuban carnaval. People joined in the parade with cheers and lots of enthusiasm.

Alex Acuña, famed percussiost and co-leader with Justino Almarino of Tolu, captured the audience with their Latin jazz arrangements. A powerhouse in his own right, Acuña was joined by Paoli Mejias of Puerto Rico on congas and Ricardo Pasillas on timbales. The ferosciousness of their playing was unbeatable. Justino's soulful sax playing soared above the driving percussion of Tolu. With the heat of the day at it's peak, Tolu smoked and raised the temperature with their music.

If you have not made it to this festival, start thinking about it for next year. The 25th festival will be sure to have some great surprizes. Besides, you can not beat the combination of sun, great food, lots of folks and amazing music.

for Ricky Richardson's photo exhibit of the 24th Playboy Jazz Festival.


Ricky Richardson is a freelance photojournalist based in Hawthorne, CA. He is a frequent contributor to the Wrigley Bulletin, Souland Blues, Big City Blues News, L.A. Jazz Scene, L.A. Sentinel and more.


Review and photos (this page only) by Julia Sewell
Copyright © 2002 by All rights reserved. No reproduction of any kind without written permission.