Jazz 88 Ocean Beach jazz festival turns three

Manny Lopez

Manny Lopez
Contributor

The Pacific Ocean and the Ocean Beach pier formed a picture perfect backdrop for the third annual Jazz 88 Ocean Beach Jazz Festival held Sunday Sept. 9, on the waterfront at the foot of Newport Avenue.

The one-day event featured an enthusiastic crowd, gorgeous San Diego weather, excellent scenery, and of course great music.

The festival keeps getting bigger and better. The sold out crowd included a mixture of locals and fans that traveled from as far away as Northern California, Los Angeles, and Orange County to soak up the music.

Although called a jazz festival, the event could be classified as a jazz and blues festival, as both genres were very well represented.

The line-up consisted of world class musicians, including The Jazz 88 All Star Band, Hammond B-3 virtuoso Joey DeFrancesco, “the Godfather of Vibrasoul” Dave Pike with Mundell Lowe, blues guitar legend Duke Robillard, and closing out the set was Grammy Award winner Poncho Sanchez. Sanchez had the crowd on their feet with his hard hitting brand of Latin inspired funk, jazz, and soul.

Right from the start everyone was grooving. The diversity of the music along with the intoxicating weather created an environment that had the dance floor filled with people twisting and turning. They seemed content, in that out of control sort of way.

In attendance were Mayor Jerry Sanders and District 2 Councilmember Kevin Falconer, both of whom presented event organizers with a resolution from the San Diego City Council proclaiming the festival the culminating event of San Diego Jazz Week.

The brains behind Jazz 88 were station manager Mark DeBoskey and San Diego Community College District Trustee Rich Grosch. This event brought together friends both old and new in the spirit of sharing a special way of life like only San Diego can.

“Jazz is about freedom, expression, and improvisation,” said Chris Springer, host of Jazz 88’s Latin Grooves, a radio show that air’s Saturdays from one to three in the afternoon. The festival has come to be known is a true embodiment and celebration of these three ideals.

The festival was “an emotionally satisfying experience with something for everyone,” said Francis Carasquillo of Chula Vista. As the festival came to a close, it wasn’t surprising to hear many voices saying “see you next year.”

With the increasing popularity of the event, the superb weather conditions, and the strong line-up of internationally recognized talent, one can expect to see the festival become more prominent in 2008.