Smokin' Good Time at Long Beach Bayou Festival
Long Beach-On June 23 & 24,2012, the long awaited Long Beach Bayou Festival and Mardi Gras Celebration was held at the Rainbow Lagoon.A huge turnout of people from all over California and surrounding states converged into Long Beach to enjoy and partake in Louisiana culture(food,music and dance),and a Mardi Gras Parade.
Festival goers were able to enjoy some mouthwatering cuisine of Louisiana.They also had the pleasure of dancing off the extra calories with the assistance of the various Cajun and Zydeco dance lessons.The treats served were Smoked turkey legs,fried catfish,fried oysters and fried shrimp,chicken & sausage gumbo rice,boudin balls,red beans and rice,crawfish etouffee,fresh boiled crawfish and Louisiana links on stick, to name a few,to tease your taste buds as you read this post.
On Saturday,the crowd and I were entertained by Bennie & The Swamp Gators,Kevin Naquin & The Ossun Playboys,New Orleans Traditional Jazz Band,Bonne Musique Zydeco,Chris Ardoin & NuStep and J Paul Jr.& The Zydeco Nubreeds on the Bayou Stage.
The Blues Stage featured the excellent talents of Artwork Jamal,Sherry Pruitt,Jimbo Ross & His Bodacious Blues Band,The Oreo Divas-Tribute to Motown and the legendary Barbara Morrision.
Artwork Jamal and his band kicked off the Long Beach Bayou Festival and Mardi Gras Celebration with some searing boogie woogie blues.The highlights from their opening set featured "Smokesnack Lightning," "Mojo Working" "Shortbread" and additional serving of down home dirty blues from his latest CD I'm the One You Need.
The crowd and I continued to have some fun with the blues party hosted by Sherry Pruitt.Sherry had a popular band to back her during this gig for a dynamic set.The one and only Greg Wright was featured on guitar and Hurricance on saxophone,two leaders in their own right.They opened with "Go On with Your Bad Self." Sherry came on stage to belt out "Wang Dang Doodle," Chain of Fools." The tempo continued to move forward with "Unchain my Heart," a brief intro to "I Will Survive" and "Thrift Shop Baby."
Violonist/vocalist Jimbo Ross & His Bodacious Blues Band served up some tasty,rocking blues on the tunes "Ready," "I'm Driven By The Blues" and "Steady Rollin' Man."
The Oreo Divas took the crowd down memory lane with an entertaining set of hits from the frequently visited Motown catalog.This trio of singers demonstrated some fancy dance moves throughout their set.
Barbara Morrison closed out day one of the Long Beach Bayou Festival and Mardi Gras Celebration on a high note that has become her trademark.
The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center Music Prodigy provided an extra special treat of music on the Kids Fun Stage.Each performer reminded me of a youthful version of a jazz legend.Harmony Love Bailey recalled a young Carmen McCrae.Saxophonist Christopher Astoquillca sounded a lot like Charlie Parker,and vocalist Ashley Taylor brought the house down with her Angelic voice reminiscence of Ella Fitzgerald.Watch as these future stars continue to shine brighter in their respective endeavors.
The festivities continued on Sunday with another stellar line-up of music featuring Theo & The Zydeco Patrol,Lil' Wayne & Same Ol' 2-Step,Joel Savoy,Jesse Lege & Cajun Country Revival,Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie,Chris Ardoin & NuStep on the Bayou Stage.
The Bill Magee Blues Band,The Shari Puorto Band,Sonny Green Blues Band,Zac Harmon and Guitar Shorty had the cylinders burning on full steam on the Blues Stage.
A portion of the profits benefited LALA(Louisiana to Los Angeles),a non-profit organization which raised educational funds for local youth to attend college.the 26th Annual Long Beach Bayou Festival was sponsored by City National Bank,Budweiser and Waste Management.