The 28th Jazz Reggae Festival over the Memorial Day weekend brought together a fusion of music, art and food to feed both soul and stomach on the UCLA campus.
Music was the main course, art installations at the event included live painting and Venice art walls.
The menu included barbecue, fried fish, Ethiopian and Jamaican fare, Caribbean burgers, Italian ices, falafel, ice cream … and no beer in sight.
Jazz Reggae Day 1Highlights: Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg Headlined the Jam Day, which also featured Aloe Blacc, The Internet , the Sarah Reich Tap Music Project, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Soulection's Andre Power.
The very upbeat singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc alternated between jazz and funk tunes, ska beats and folk. He danced the whole time he performed, even succeeding in getting the crowd up and doing a “Soul Train”-style dance even though the weather was hot and humid with temperatures reaching into the 90s.
Blacc spoke in between sets about meeting Dr. Dre, and how Dre was not impressed with his music. So he went back to create something better. It must have been good, since Dre now uses his Blacc's music in his commercials now. Blacc closed his set with a ska rendition of "California Dreaming."
Headliner and hip-hop renaissance rapper Snoop Dogg, a self-proclaimed toker, woke up the smoke- and jazz-infused crowd. Most of his set came from his recent album “Reincarnation,” which featured his reggae-inspired Snoop Lion persona.
Snoop asked if there where any mo***f****** stoners in the house. The crowd cheered. Because there were.
Breaking out in a little wiggle dance himself, he dedicated Jason Derulo's "Wiggle" to all “the sexy ladies in the house.”
Snoop told the crowd, ”UCLA – this ain't the last time you seen a bad guy like me, because if you want me to come back, I will.
"And the last thing I'm going to say is this: Smoke weed mother*****!!!"
Sounds like he means it.
Jazz Reggae Day 2
Highlights: Ky-Mani Marley and Black Uhuru
Black Uhuru rocked the reggae stage with a sexy backup dancer and got the audience dancing with "General Penitentiary"
The closing headliner of the festival was Ky-Mani Marley and his bass-heavy band. They played songs from his new album, some old-school jams, and a few tunes made famous by his legendary father Bob Marley.
During the set, Ky-Mani brought out his son KJ for a surprise performance with the voice of Bob Marley singing the intro. After that, father and son broke out in a rap tune with the younger Marley taking the lead and showing off the next musical generation from the famed family tree.
The celebration of reggae music, dancing and fun was a big success. The students from UCLA did a great job setting up the event and were all very professional.
EXTRA: From UCLA's blog a documentary on the history of Reggae music.
If you're a reggae fan, music history buff, or both, then you should definitely check out a 2002 BBC documentary called “Reggae: The Story Of Jamaican Music.” The film, presented in 3 parts, features some awesome archival footage and interviews with various reggae legends.
PART 1 The first part focuses on the early Ska period of the 1950s while highlighting the social/political history of Jamaican independence.
PART 2 The second part looks at roots reggae and the emergence of influential artists such as Bob Marley.
PART 3 The third and final part highlights the progression of reggae sounds in the 1980s up till today. The film is quite lengthy, running about 3 hours but it's well worth the watch!