October 10, 2013

By Kenneth Miller

Assistant Managing Editor


Two weeks before the pumpkins are cut and carved for Halloween, the 8th annual Taste of Soul Family Festival, October 19 on Crenshaw Blvd., will unveil its own version of tricks and treats. Event organizers this week announced a musical line-up of heavy hitters that includes jazz giant Poncho Sanchez and R&B sensation Mario. The two will perform on the Taste of Soul KTWV ‘Wave’ and Taste of Soul Radio Free KJLH stages, respectively.

For more than three decades as both a leader and a sideman, conguero Poncho Sanchez has stirred up a fiery stew of straightahead jazz, gritty soul music, and infectious melodies and rhythms from a variety of Latin American and South American sources. He will be among the highlights of the Taste of Soul ‘Wave’ stage.

Meanwhile, Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, actor Mario who realized that his talents came to him naturally early on and has scored multiple hits, will grace the Taste of Soul Radio Free KJLH stage at Taste of Soul, which has drawn nearly one million in crowd attendance during its eight year history.

Sanchez’ influences are numerous, but among the more prominent figures that form his music are two of the primary architects of Latin jazz – conga drummer and composer Chano Pozo and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Sanchez pays tribute to these two titans on his new album, ‘Chano y Dizzy.’

At age 15, when his 2002 debut album Mario garnered 700,000 copies in sales, sparked by the lead single “Just A Friend (2002),” young Mario set the stage for his 2005 sophomore set aptly titled Turning Point. Worldwide, the album reaped 2 million units in sales as “Let Me Love You” propelled him to the number one spot for nine consecutive weeks. The single holds the honor of being one of the highest selling ringtones to date with 1.6 million downloads and Mario himself was bestowed with accolades including 2005’s Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Award for Top R&B/Hip-Hop Single, a Billboard Music Award for Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Single of the Year.

While, Sanchez and Mario will surely delight their legion of followers and Taste of Soul attendees, there will be many more.

Also scheduled to perform on the ‘Wave’ stage are Avant, Patrice Rushen and Ndugu Chancler, DW3, On-Tour, Six-Degrees and Chosen Gospel of Recovery.

The Taste of Soul Radio Free KJLH stage, which last year featured a surprise appearance from its owner and mega star, Stevie Wonder, will also showcase performances by Mindless Behavior, RaVaughn and Glenn Lewis.

Ndugu Chancler and Patrice Rushen are two of South Central Los Angeles’ most amazing poster artists for rising out of the L.A. Unified School District to achieve blinding heights of glory in multiple facets of the music industry then coming to give back with generosity, passion and a master plan based on all they learned academically and in the field.

Today, Chancler and Rushen are both educators at the University of Southern California. Mr. Chancler holds the position of Adjunct Professor of popular Music and Jazz Studies. He has been teaching on the campus for 19 years. Ms. Rushen is the Chair of the Popular Music Department and just saw her first full graduating class this month at the close of her fourth year in the position, which is the current life of the program – 4 years old.

Nicknamed by Ne-Yo as the “New Voice of Women,” RaVaughn is a natural songstress whose frank, yet sophisticated swag—paired with inventive melodies and sassy riffs—brings a barrier-breaking vitality to R&B/pop. That’s because her versatile style was honed doing demos and background work for such marquee names as Celine Dion, Natasha Bedingfield, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, Nicki Minaj, Brandy and Keri Hilson.

Taste of Soul Creator Danny J. Bakewell Sr. applauded both of the event’s media partners for again delivering on music excellence with performers who bring name/ brand recognition.

“I am not at all surprised by these line-ups, because both our two radio partners consistently deliver big to the Taste of Soul Nation what they have been providing their audiences for years,” said Bakewell.

“What’s remarkable is that our community will get an opportunity to see them while enjoying the foods they love with the families and friends they cherish and will not have to pay to watch them perform,” concluded Bakewell.

Taste of Soul family festival will be held from 10a.m. to 6p.m. on Crenshaw Blvd. Saturday October 19.

Category: Arts & Culture