UCLA JazzReggae Festival premieres new concert video series
The outdoor concert season is still months away, but the UCLA JazzReggae Festival is already prepping for its Memorial Day weekend event. Now in its 26th year, it's become the largest student-run fest in the country and offers a two-day mash-up of hip-hop, reggae and yes, even a slice of actual jazz. To whet your appetite, the organizers have put togther a series of performance videos from last year’s festival, the first of which is premiering on Pop & Hiss.
The video includes a performance of horn-drenched soul courtesy of Lee Fields & the Expressions, who played their weather-appropriate tune “Sunny” for a full crowd at last year's sold-out festival. Singing to an audience packed with locals in lawn chairs and Bruins sporting beach wear, Fields delivered a gut-wrenching love song backed by skintight rhythms from his suit-wearing six-piece ensemble.
Almost a year later, the 61-year-old Fields — who went from singing with Kool and the Gang in the mid-'70s to becoming an underground legend in soul music — is preparing to release a new record, “Faithful Man,” on March 13 via Brooklyn-based Truth and Soul Records.
The video series will be available on the festival's website starting in March and will feature footage from 2011 performers Little Dragon, the Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Ensemble and others.
Stay tuned for updates on the 2012 lineup and check out the video below:
-- Nate Jackson
Photo: Screen grab from Lee Fields' performance of "Sunny" at the UCLA JazzReggae Festival in 2011. Credit: UCLA JazzReggae Festival.