5th Annual Dymally International Jazz & Arts Festival

The global jazz community celebrated Jazz Appreciation Month in various ways during April. International Jazz Day is another noteworthy event. 

By Angelique Kidjo, (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

By Ricky Richardson | Contributing Writer

     (Carson, CA) The global jazz community celebrated Jazz Appreciation Month in various ways during April. International Jazz Day is another noteworthy event. International Jazz Day was celebrated all over the world on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. International Jazz Day brings together countries and communities on all seven continents to honor the international art form of jazz, highlighting its important role in encouraging dialogue, combating discrimination, and promoting human dignity. November 2011. UNESCO officially designated April 30 as International Jazz Day to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role in uniting people in all corners of the world.

     Locally, the Dymally International Jazz & Arts Festival was held on Saturday, April 27, 2024, at the Dignity Health Sports Park Tennis Stadium on the campus of Cal State University, Dominquez Hills.

     It’s hard to believe that this is the 5th anniversary of this popular music festival in Southern California. This is a cause for a duo celebration- the first reason is the milestone that the festival has reached. The second reason is the fact that the Dymally International Jazz & Arts Festival is an officially sanctioned International Jazz Day event. Drum roll, please!

     The weather Goods looked down favorably upon the festival. The large diverse crowd of music aficionados, art patrons, and foodies enjoyed a sunny day, with beautiful clear blue skies, while chillaxin’ and enjoying America’s #1 ARTFORM- JAZZ!

     Award-winning journalist Roland Martin, Black Star Network, and comedian/actor Capone shared hosting this fantabulous festival.

     “The Dymally International Jazz & Arts Festival is not just a concert—it’s a destination and a celebration of creativity, innovation, and the enduring legacy of jazz music,” explained festival founder, Dr. Anthony Samad, (Executive Director of the Mervyn Dymally African American Political and Economic Institute).

     The 5th Annual Dymally International Jazz & Arts Festival promised and delivered a day of unforgettable experiences that will resonate long after the final note has been played. Pity the co-workers who have to hear their colleague rave about a great time that was had at the festival.

     Be on the lookout for the emerging artists featured on the Pavilion Stage. These exceptionally talented musicians showcased their phenomenal talents in front of an appreciated and captivated audience. The stellar lineup performing on the Pavilion Stage was J Michael O’Neal featuring Sekou Bunch, Tatiana Tate, Euro Zambrano, Joel Gaines, and Romel Veal featuring Erisa Nicole. The above-mentioned have toured with and shared the stage with a who’s who of the music industry.

     The Main Stage delivered a day of international rhythms and sounds of live jazz, including reggae, world beats, and R&B genres, for an unforgettable experience.

     Noted sensational saxophonist Teodross Avery kicked off the festival with a set of original tracks from his latest CD Life and Musik. The tracks performed were “Time is Everything,” and “Perception,” to name a few.

     Judith Hill graced the stage to perform selections from her current CD Letters From a Black Widow. The crowd got to hear the outcome of her soul odyssey, blending elements of soul, funk, and gospel.

     Everyone was on board, with their passport stamped, as nine-time Grammy Award winners, Third World took us on a musical journey to Jamaica. The crowd and I were vibing to the contagious and infectious sounds of reggae fusion, elements of R&B, funk, pop, and rock. The internationally known and one of the longest-lived reggae bands of all time, performed “Now That We Found Love,” “Loving You Is Easy,” “Try Jah Love” and “96 Degrees in the Shade” to name a few.

Jonathan Butler, (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

     Our music journey continued to South Africa with the melodic sounds of singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jonathan Butler. Jonathan Butler kept the crowd grooving throughout his set on the selections “Ubuntu, the title track of his latest CD. He continued with “Coming Home,” “Silver Rain,” “We Need You Lord,” “Superwomen (Where Were You When I Need You),” and “No Women, No Cry.”

Stanley Clarke, (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

     The class was in session. Stanley Clarke performed a set with a lot of funky grooves that had the crowd swaying in their seats. His accomplished musicians accompanying him were allowed to stretch out. Stanley Clarke showed up and showed out on “Make My Funk the P-Funk” followed by “School Days” as an encore.

     Five-time Grammy winner and African music icon Angelique Kidjo’s first couple of selections featured some technical issues. That didn’t stop her from her distinct, fiery, high-octane performance to close out another successful iteration of the Dymally International Jazz & Arts Festival.

     The day-long festival included a curated Visual Artist Marketplace featuring Black artists, art dealers, and galleries selling original paintings, limited edition prints, home décor, accent pieces, and gifts.

     The artists featured had a colorful, vibrant, visual display to showcase their artistry and creativity. The Artist Pavilion participants were Michael Massenburg, (Curator), Ramsess, Wanda Knight, Rosalyn Myles, Wendell R. Wiggins, Khaliyfah Al-Aswani, Edward Ewell, Christopher Rocket, Mira Gandy, Linda West, JG, Xavier Marcellus, Amanda Bomster-Jabs, Arnaya and Artist in Residence Mr. Wash (Fulton Leroy Washington). 

Mr. Wash, (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

     The proceeds of the annual event benefit university programs such as the CSUDH Presidential Scholars and non-profit programs, The Dymally Fellows Program, and the African American Leadership Training Summit. 

     The goal is to put our creative economy to work for the benefit of higher education. The Dymally International Jazz 7 Arts Festival is produced by Rainbow Promotions LLC.

     Since 2019, the Dymally International Jazz & Arts Festival has used artistic culture to promote and inspire thought in honor of the late Mervyn Dismally, an internationalist who traveled to over 60 countries throughout his political career promoting the exchange of cultures throughout the world. The festival seeks to honor his legacy of bringing the best jazz and jazz-influenced music, arts, and culture to Cal State University, Dominguez Hills, and surrounding communities.

Spring has sprung!

Everyone feels so young.

Anticipation of Fun,

While enjoying outdoor activities in the sun.