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Central Avenue Jazz Festival attracts thousands to South L.A.

July 26, 2009 |  2:20 pm

Thousands of people were listening today to jazz bands and and the smoking saxophone of Kamasi Washington during the final day of the 14th annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival in South Los Angeles.

“It’s great, it’s mellow, there are lots and lots of people here,” said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry. “Jazz cuts across all lines, ethnic lines, gender lines, all lines. It’s about telling a story.”

The festival began Saturday with acts including the Adonis Puentes Band and Eric Reed Trio. In addition to Washington, Sunday’s lineup included the Gerald Wilson Orchestra and the Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars.

Perry said that, other than the music, festival-goers were savoring peach cobbler and sweet potato fries, Louisiana-style cooking and fresh strawberries and oranges. She said the festival marked an important part of the city’s past.

“It kind of celebrates the history and the roots of jazz here in our city,” she said. “The community comes together.”

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz