al williams- talking all that jazz
Founder, Long Beach Jazz Festival
The Long Beach Jazz Festival is a wellspring of sights and sounds that
not only appeal to each and every jazz fan, but music fans in general
and folks who just want to have a good time.
days of great sounds and relaxation,” says festival founder Al
Williams. “We treat the customer like it’s their festival – not ours.
We just produce it for them.” A longtime jazz drummer and the former
proprietor of the Jazz Safari, Long Beach’s first pure jazz club,
Williams’ love for the music is matched only by his love for the fans.
“We have had great camaraderie with our clientele for the last 20
years,” he says. “In fact, we have a lot of people that have never
missed a year.”
“I’m a bebop player,” explains Williams.
“[But] I try to keep a cross reference of mainstream and smooth jazz.
I’m also throwing in some other genres like pop and that sort of
thing,” he continues. “I try to mix it all together.” Nestled near the
marina in downtown Long Beach, the festival’s wonderful aesthetic adds
to its appeal. “We have a pavilion and we have about 70 vendors with
all types of foods and the weather’s always beautiful and it’s a
beautiful setting right next to the downtown marina – the gorgeous
layout of the land, being right there on the ocean, all contribute to
the success of the festival,” he says.
Williams is committed
to making the Long Beach Jazz Festival’s 20th anniversary the best
festival yet. “I love music and I love the people – they come from all
over the world and they get the same seats every year so that they can
mingle!” he says, chuckling. “I’m still playing my drums.” -todd Williams