Every Memorial Day weekend for the past 28 years, UCLA has hosted a music festival called the JazzReggae Festival. Originally, the first day was devoted to Jazz and the second day was devoted Reggae. Though the first day has morphed to a “Jam” day, the festival has always been able to pull in outstanding talent for the price of admission. If you are ever in Los Angeles during the Memorial Day weekend, and looking to enjoy a music festival at an extremely reasonable price, I suggest that you check out the lineup to see if any artists you like are on the bill.
Armed with a photo pass for the event, I was able to take pictures of the artists listed below. Click on the link to check them out!
Bob Marley had a number of children. The Bob Marley official website acknowledges eleven children. Of those eleven, 7 of them are musicians. One of them closed out UCLA’s Jazz Reggae Festival: Ky-Mani Marley.
Ky-Mani’s set was filled with the good vibes that everybody who came to the festival expected. It was also a family affair. No, none of Bob’s other siblings dropped by for an unexpected performance, but Ky-Mani did have his son join him onstage for a song or two, infusion a little hip-hop into the reggae dominant set.
Fans left the festival feeling irie, the way it should be. UCLA did a good job of procuring talent for the Memorial Day weekend. Hopefully next year’s lineup will be equally impressive.
I couldn’t find a setlist for Ky-Mani Marley’s performance at this event online, so if anybody happens to know what it was, please post it in the comments so that I can add it into this post. Thanks!
If you are into reggae, there are two acts you need to know: Bob Marley and Black Uhuru.
Black Uhuru is a Jamaican reggae group that was founded back in 1972. Though the lineup has changed over the years, there is still one original member still playing with the band: Derrick “Duckie” Simpson. Though perhaps not as beloved as Bob Marley, music lovers need to know that Black Uhuru won the first Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 1985 and really raised the profile of reggae music to new levels back in the 1980s.
When I heard that they were playing at the UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival, I knew that I had to seem them while “Duckie” was still fronting the band (To note, Derrick changed his name to Derrick “Gong” Simpson”). To be honest, it’s one of those opportunities that I, as a music lover, needed to take advantage of. Not to be morbid or anything, but if I’m going to see a band that’s had such an impact on music, generally, I at least want to see them perform with at least on of the original member on vocals.
I can only imagine what it would have been like to see the line-up of Derrick, Michael Rose, Sandra “Puma” Jones, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare performing their hits back in the mid-80s, but at this point, in 2014, I’ll take what I can get. To be up close to the stage to see one of the reggae’s major influences performing was something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
I couldn’t find a setlist for Black Uhuru’s performance at this event online, so if anybody happens to know what it was, please post it in the comments so that I can add it into this post. Thanks!
Roy “Gramps” Morgan has reggae music in his blood. After all, Denroy Morgan, a founding member of the Black Eagles, is his father. Though he’s only release two albums, his most recent album, “Reggae Music Lives”, was well received and peaked at #12 on the Billboard Top Reggae Albums list.
His set was was filled with passion and he definitely had the crowd vibing off of his energy.
I couldn’t find a setlist for Gramps Morgan’s performance at this event online, so if anybody happens to know what it was, please post it in the comments so that I can add it into this post. Thanks!
Kevin Lyttle is a Vincentian soca artist who had a worldwide hit back in 2004 with his collaboration with Spragga Benz on a track called “Turn Me On”. Soca, also known as Soul Calypso [SOul CAlypso], is a style of Caribbean music originating in Trinidad and Tobago. It is a style of music that incorporates elements of disco, rap, reggae and zouk. Kevin’s first album went gold, and his last full length studio album was released in August 2012.
His set was the perfect appetizer for the rest of the day. His music, with its rhythmic and danceable beat had the crowd moving to the beat.
I couldn’t find a complete setlist for Kevin Lyttle’s performance at this event online, so if anybody happens to know what it was, please post it in the comments so that I can add it into this post. Thanks!
Working for Snoop, I’ve gone to my fare share of his concerts. One would think that after going to more shows than I can count on my fingers and toes, I’d be bored or indifferent to watching him perform. This is far from the truth.
Snoop’s passion for his art always impresses me. His live show, which features a live band, is always entertaining and is simply superior to those acts who rap over series of pre-recorded beats. Though this performance may have been lacking in some familiar faces (R.I.P. Uncle June Bugg), it was filled with all of his hits spanning his over two decades of hit-making.
Though it was Jazz Day, and not Reggae Day, he opened his set with one of my favorite tracks off his reggae album “Reincarnated”, “Here Comes The King”. He paid tribute to Nate Dogg with his performance of the 213 songs “So Fly”. He performed his verses from 50 Cent duet of “P.I.M.P.” He performed “Lodi Dodi,” “Gin & Juice,”Drop It Like It’s Hot,” “Who Am I (What’s My Name)” and on and on and on. He even dropped his verse from Katy Perry’s single, “California Gurls” in the middle of his set.
Snoop, dressed in a custom made, all-black, UCLA jersey with the number 19, stitched on, played to the crowd and used his charming stage-manner to his have the crowd vibing off of him throughout the entire set. It was either that, or the copious amounts of weed that was being lit up while he was performing. As an aside, UCLA has a campus-wide no-cigarrette smoking policy. In fact, I was forced to toss my cigarettes into a trash can before entering the festival grounds, and even noticed security actively enforcing the policy all throughout the day. But weed smoking? Naw. That’s all good. LOL.
When Snoop closed his set with “Young, Wild & Free,” he had the entire crowd singing along. He finally took his sunglasses off to address the crowd to keep singing along. When the music ended, and he hustled off stage to head off to his DJ gig in Las Vegas that evening, the crowd was still buzzing, perhaps still high from the weed that was smoked during the set, but more likely high from the hit filled set that they had just listened too.
I couldn’t find a complete setlist for Snoop’s performance at this event online, so if anybody happens to know what it was, please post it in the comments so that I can add it into this post. Thanks!
I was a fan of Aloe Blacc before he was … Aloe Blacc. Being a fan of the underground, L.A., hip-hop scene back in the mid 90s, I was listening to Aloe Blacc’s music before he broke-out, commerically, with “I Need A Dollar” in 2010.
I saw Aloe Blacc first perform at The Beach Ball Festival: Soul Revue September of 2013. As much as I liked his hip-hop leaning music from back in the day, I absolutely love his soulful leaning music that he’s focusing on today, so not hearing his jams like “Blind World” or “Close To Me” was something I could easily accept … although, I wouldn’t mind him sprinkling in a song or two in future sets.
Dressed in a classy fitted suit, topped with a sharp fedora, he took the sun drenched stage and dazzled the audience with his bright personality and hit singles. From “I Need A Dollar” to “Wake Me Up” to “The Man”, the audience was treated to songs that have been permeating the radio airwaves for the past several years. He even performed a slowed-down cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” that really had the audience eating out of his hands.
I wasn’t able to find a set lit of the of the songs that Aloe Blacc performed at UCLA’s Jazz Reggae Fest, so if you happen to know which songs were performed, please leave them in the comments below and I will add them to this post.
The Internet is a neo-soul band consisting of Odd Future members Syd the Kyd and Matt Martians as well as Tay Walker, Patrick Paige and Christopher A. Smith. They debuted in 2011, and released their debut album, “Purple Naked Ladies” that same year. They released their sophomore album, “Feel Good” in 2013, and have been touring in support of it since its release. When I found out they were performing at UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival, I knew I had to make it in time to see their afternoon set.
The Internet’s performance at Jazz Reggae Fest was, in truth, my first real introduction to the band. Sure, I was familiar with some of the Odd Future music by Tyler, The Creator, Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt’s music, but I really didn’t know too much about The Internet other than the video clips I was able to find on Youtube. Watching them live, I was impressed with what I saw and heard.
Their take on late ’90s neo-soul/R&B was something that really hit the spot for me. Syd and the band played a set that really was perfect for the mid-afternoon. Syd’s smooth and understated voice and the band’s clean groove, together with their improvisational playing and singing abilities really demonstrated to me how capable they were as musicians and how smart they were as performers.
The catalog of music is relatively small having only released two albums, but they covered one of my favorite GAP band songs (“Outstanding”) and I was especially impressed with their cover of Jamiroquai’s “We’re Too Young To Die” (one of my favorited cuts off of “Emergency on Planet Earth”, an album that really pushed the boundaries of British funk/acid jazz to new limits). That cover alone would have been enough to convert me as a fan. It’s an extremely tough song to sing. A clip of that performance is in the video below. Maybe it will make you a fan as well.
I couldn’t find the band’s setlist online, so if you were there and know what songs they performed, let me know in the comments below and I’ll add it to the post.