Local jazz aficionados have plenty of reason to get excited this month, with two festivals devoted to the genre — in all its myriad forms — about to heat up in September.
Last year’s first Oxnard Jazz Festival (oxnardjazzfestival.com) was such a hit, the city brought it back this year — and with some 4,000 attendees expected, it’s likely to be bigger than the first time around. A variety of events will take place in and around Oxnard, Sept. 8-10, including a special comedy show and a late-night jazz jam on Friday night, as well as a jazz brunch and golf on Sunday.
But the main event on Saturday, Sept. 9, starting at 11 a.m. at Oxnard Beach Park, is where most of the music magic will happen. One of the many headliners will be South African jazz guitarist Jonathan Butler. Also performing will be Gerald Albright, Evelyn “Champagne” King, guitarists Adam Hawley and David P. Stevens and saxophonists Jessy J and Rick Parma. San Francisco Latin rock supergroup Malo (founded in the 1970s by Jorge Santana, brother of Carlos) will be celebrated by Malo Anthology.
OJF will once again highlight local talent with opening acts, including the Brandon Ragan Project, Ashford Gordon, Del Franklin, Oxnard’s very own Road Brothers and the Oxnard High School Jazz Band. There’s a lot in store for the full OJF weekend, so be sure to check the website for schedules, lineup and more information.
Not to be outdone, Ojai continues its much older (and recently revived) tradition, the
Bowlful of Blues (bowlfulofblues.org) at Libbey Bowl on Saturday, Sept. 16, starting at 4 p.m. Headlining Ojai’s 24th hometown American roots music festival will be Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Chas, direct from Lafayette, Louisiana, in an exclusive West Coast engagement. The band formed in 1985, and since then has brought its unique take on regional South Louisiana music to all corners of the globe — which will soon include Ojai. Also in the lineup: the gritty harmonica of Morganfield Burnett and Da Blues; funk and soul by Raw Silk; Ventura-based Gypsy Blues Band with special guest Bill Flores; guitarist, vocalist and harmonica player Cody LePow; and guest emcee, comedian Denise Carter. Proceeds will benefit programs providing music education and musical instruments for local youth. Schedule and tickets available at the festival website.