“In the old days (around 1970), everyone would sign up for an instrument,” jazz/R&B saxophonist Boney James said. “I took clarinet, but switched to saxophone. Here I have the opportunity to make a living doing what I love.”
James — a four-time Grammy nominee — is among the performers at the 30th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival (LBJF) this weekend. He’ll take the stage on Saturday, Aug. 12.
The jazz sounds will play from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11, with gates open at 5 p.m., and from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 12 and 13, with gates open at 11 a.m. at Rainbow Lagoon Park (E. Shoreline Drive). Artists include Boney James, Najee, Bob James, Spyro Gyra, Eric Darius, Rachelle Ferrell, Will Downing and more. Other festival features include a Health & Wellness Pavilion, Second Stage entertainment and more. The Wellness Pavilion will focus on wellness speakers/leaders, treatment centers, vendors and healthy food samples. The Second Stage will have more musical performances.
Jazz long has been known for the passion of its players, and James said music is his life.
“I was in college, studying history,” James said. “But all I cared about was music.”
So the artist switched gears at age 19, gigging with bands, and becoming a sideman for artists including Morris Day and the Isley Brothers. He learned from them, he said, on how to present himself on and off stage. He released his first album, “Trust,” in 1992, which led to a major label deal, recordings and performances.
“Music’s just the greatest thing on the planet,”…
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