For the 28th consecutive year, the Bakersfield Jazz Festival set up shop on California State University of Bakersfield’s campus. Various faculty members, students, and jazz enthusiasts have helped to foster and cultivate the jazz program at CSUB and within the larger community over the years.
This year’s event was sponsored by headliners BMW of Bakersfield, OXY, and Heineken, as well as various other organizations such as Kern Schools Federal Credit Union and KGET. The festival is an annual two-day celebration of jazz music and its rich history which has become known as a “rite of Spring” in Bakersfield.
This year boasted a talented lineup of accomplished performers including, but not limited to, Jeff Coffin and Delfeayo Marsalis. Coffin is well-known for his work as the saxophonist for the Dave Matthews Band. Marsalis has enjoyed his fair share of success and is credited with facilitating the resurgence of acoustic recording in jazz music. On Saturday night, Marsalis performed a beautiful tribute in honor of the late and great Nelson Mandela, who was a huge jazz fan during his lifetime.
In the 28 years since the festival’s inception, over 200 artists have come to Kern County to perform in lineups which have included incredibly talented artists such as Dizzy Gillespie and Maceo Parker, the latter of which began his illustrious jazz career performing with James Brown’s band.
This year looked poised to offer no shortage of thrills and sparks certainly flew. A fireworks show took place on Saturday night, just before Gerard Albright’s performance. Albright is an especially accomplished jazz musician who has sold over one million albums in the United States, performed at President Clinton’s inauguration, and made various television appearances, just to name a few of his achievements. Once again, the Bakersfield Jazz Festival has come and gone leaving one more indelible mark on the community in which it has found a home.