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Playboy Jazz Festival: 35 years and still blowin’ strong


Music fans from far and wide are expected to attend this weekend’s Playboy Jazz Festival. Festival organizers estimate that more than 35,000 fans from all over the world will converge on the Hollywood Bowl for the two-day event, which marks its 35th anniversary. Among the headliners will be George Duke with special guest Jeffrey Osborne, Naturally 7 with special guest Herbie Hancock, Sheila E. and Bob James/David Sanborn. New to this year’s festival will be comedian-actor George Lopez, who will debut as the new master of ceremonies. Lopez replaces legendary comedian Bill Cosby.

Featuring a diverse mix of illustrious jazz greats, next generation leaders and festival favorites, the Saturday-Sunday, June 15-16, concert, which annually launches the summer jazz season in L.A., will spotlight the entire Jazz genre.

The Saturday concert will be from 3-11 p.m. Sunday’s concert will exend from 3-10:30 p.m. The Hollywood Bowl is at 2301 North Highland Ave.

Other highlights:

• Hugh Hefner will attend on Saturday, along with special friends and Playmate guests.

• The a cappella group, Naturally 7, whose members use only their voices to recreate the sounds of different musical instruments, returns to the show for a world premiere performance with Herbie Hancock.

• Keyboardist Bob James and saxophonist David Sanborn will share the stage for the first time since their Grammy-winning album “Double Vision” went multi-platinum in the ’80s. They will be joined by drummer Steve Gadd and bassist James Genus.

• Singer/percussionist Sheila E., back by popular demand, will close the festival Sunday night.

• Grammy award-winning artist India.Arie will make her debut.