By Michelle Lani
Charles Drew University celebrated their 18th Annual Jazz at Drew Festival The two day event took place on October 4 and 5th on the campus of Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles. Jazz at Drew is known for building cultural bridges through music by bringing together international jazz, blues, and R & B performers, a cultural marketplace, and a health fair. This year’s line up featured Third World, The Chi-Lites, Chrisette Michele, and Malcolm-Jamal Warner’s band Miles Long to name a few.
Serving as not only the Saturday Science Academy’s National Spokesperson and Master of Ceremonies for the event, Malcolm-Jamal Warner also delivered an excellent performance along with some Spoken Word poetry. Chrisette Michele moved spectators with her smooth and soulful voice. The Chi-Lites uplifted the crowd with their veteran caliber performance. They had fans on their feet singing and dancing the electric slide.
Prior to taking the stage, “Reggae Ambassadors”, Third World was honored with the 2008 Jazz at Drew Lifetime Achievement Award for conveying the best of reggae music for over 35 years. Jazz At Drew believes in the healing art of music, and Third World has proven to heal the world through their music. Family members of the late Tony Johnson (Founder of Reggae Sunsplash), Dean Dr. Richard Baker, and Executive Producer of Jazz at Drew Roland Hayes Betts imparted nothing but kind words about the pioneers. They sealed the night with an amazing performance with crowd favorites like “Now That We Found Love,” “96 Degrees In The Shade” and the classic tune “Sattamasagana”. Stephen “Cat” Coore gave a wicked performance on the cello for their encore set.
Jazz at Drew looks forward to continuing its mission for years to come; “Building Cultural Bridges Through Music: Highlighting the Healing Art of Medicine and Music”. Newly appointed Executive Producer of Jazz at Drew, Todd Hawkins, said it best, “Music is more than an art, it’s a language. The only language, which is universally spoken throughout the world, uniting us as a people.” For more information on Jazz at Drew visit www.jazzatdrew.com.