By Ricky Richardson | Contributing Writer

The spotlight continues to shine over the City of Inglewood, the City of Champions! People came from near and far to get their groove on for the Taste of Inglewood, presents Inglewood Jazz Festival, Saturday, August 6, and Sunday, August 7, 2022. 
        Organizers couldn’t have picked a better venue than the well-manicured, well maintained, tree-lined Edward Vincent Jr., Park to host this wonderful celebration, on a beautiful, sunny, and pleasant weekend in Southern California. A large crowd of party people gathered inside the park to groove and move. The crowd was estimated around 3,500.
        Hilarious comedian Screwroy Rice was the perfect host for both days of the festival. He was great as a Master of Ceremony, and he kept the crowd laughing with his jokes, humorous take on everyday life. His jokes were fluid, relevant and timely, which resonated with the crowd. I’m sure that you have heard your family members, friends or fellow co-workers talking about his routine by now. You can catch his one-hour comedy special streaming online entitled “Someone Call the Cops,” available on Amazon Prime, Tubi and Comcast Network. The show is produced by Butterflywerks.
        DJ LaLa Land and DJ Brad Rush was bumping the ones and twos throughout day one of the festival. They complimented the festival with some classic, old school tracks between acts, to the delight of the dancers in the house, at the Main Stage.
        Malik Rice got the show underway with several classic R&B songs. Local LA based band As Is was up next to entertain the crowd at the Main Stage. They opened their set with “Rock With You,” “Stay,” “Keep Working on It,” and “Feel Like Making Love to You.”
        Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, Councilmember Alex Padilla, George Dotson and Eloy Morales Jr. greeted the crowd with welcome remarks.
        Herman Jackson Band was fantastic during their time in the spotlight. They opened their set with “Water Sign,” “Sun Goddess,” followed by “All I Do Is Think About You” featuring Lyric Roche making her festival debut on the West Coast. They concluded their set with “You Are the Sunshine of My Life.”
        Vocalist/keyboard player Frank McComb did his thang! He dedicated his set to his mentor, the late great George Duke. Their tight set featured to songs “It’s So Easy to Love Somebody Like You,” Cupid Arrow,” followed by “Superstition” with an intro imaging keyboard wizardry of Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock. They closed their set with “Do You Remember Love.” Frank McComb-keyboards, was aided superbly by David McKenzie-bass and Joe Tate on drums.

L. Young (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

 L. Young kept the party flowing and moving as he started off with “I Want You,” “Before I Let Go,” “Oh, My Love,” followed by an original song entitled “Fairytales,” about a person staying/stuck in the friend zone. He continued with “Can We Talk for a Minute,” and brought his set to an end with “Love is a Verb.”
        Sensational smooth jazz saxophonist Phil Dennis thrilled the crowd with material from his latest CD Urban Troubadour to closed out the show on the opening day of the Main Stage.
        The VIP Stage was smokin’ with performances by Jacques Lesure, Amina Buddafly, Larry Nash and Eric Robertson on Saturday afternoon. Sunday’s performers on the VIP Stage consisted of Chevonne Shapine, Lao Tizer, Sy Smith, Jose Rizo’s Mongorama, and a headlining set by Chrisette Michele.
        DJ Twin and DJ Brad Rush was on the ones and twos. The Main Stage got off to a good start with the vocal styling of Derek Bordeaux. His band opened the show with “Breezin.” They continued with Derek Bordeaux joining them onstage to sang “Women Got to Have It,” “Treat Her Like a Lady,” “Lovely Day,” “I’ll be Around” and finished with “We Are One.”
        Saxophonist Rastine Calhoun got down and took care of business for the party people to groove. They entertained the crowd with “Equinox,” “Peg,” “Knucklehead,” and “Allure” from an upcoming CD. The grooves kept flowing on “Pass the Peas,” and concluded with “Hollywood Swingin,” aka, “Inglewood Swingin” very fitting for the occasion.
        Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, Councilmember George Dotson and Dionne Faulk was onsite to offer welcome remarks on the final day of the festival.

Erin Stevenson (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

        Erin Stevenson had the party people vibing with her throughout her engaging and entertaining set. She opened with “Oh, My Love,” “Take Me Away,” “You Are Everything to Me,” “Sweet Love” by Anita Baker, followed by “I Like It,” and finished with “Double Touch.”

Kindred The Family Soul (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

Biscuit and Gravy Live, David Broussard, Kindred the Family Soul, and Eric Benet were the additional artists with outstanding sets on the Main Stage that contributed to the success of Taste of Inglewood presents Inglewood Jazz Festival.
        We have just rounded third base, as we approach the home stretch for the remainder of the Summer. There are many exciting outdoor events in the weeks ahead to get out to enjoy before you have to return to school or return to your physical work place if you have been working remotely in the past.