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Central Jazz Festival

This annual event will be held on Saturday, July 27th and Sunday, July 28th on Central Avenue at 42nd Street in South Los Angeles in front of the historic Dunbar Hotel. The Dunbar Hotel (the pink and brown building to the left of Club Alabam in the picture) plays a large role in African-American history in Los Angeles as it is where jazz greats like John Coltrane and Billie Holiday stayed when visiting the City of Angels. The Jazz Festival is a unique cultural event that pays tribute to the significant contributions that African Americans made on Central Avenue. Central Avenue was the birthplace of west coast jazz and blues and was nationally recognized as a jazz hot spot from the 1920s to the 1950s. The Jazz Festival is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of jazz and African American Heritage. This weekend long event is free and open to the public, and will feature live music, craft and food booths, company-sponsored booths, and information government/non- profit booths.

History of the Dunbar Hotel: Hotel Somerville; owned by and named after the University of Southern California’s first African-American graduate, Dr. John Somerville, opened in 1928 to serve African-American’s seeking accommodations while visiting the City of Los Angeles. The hotel hosted abolitionist leaders, writers, and musicians, such as W.E.B Dubois, Langston Hughes, and Lena Horne. It became the focal point of Central Avenue from the 1920’s to the 1950’s, due to its high profile visitors and first class accommodations. The hotel was later renamed the Dunbar Hotel, after African-American poet, Paul Lawrence Dunbar.A who's who of the jazz world -- Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Lena Horne -- once laid their heads to rest in the Dunbar Hotel on Central Avenue. It was the center of the West Coast jazz scene in the thirties and forties; the first African-American owned hotel in Los Angeles. Until the 1970’s, the Dunbar Hotel created economic activity on Central Avenue and was one of Los Angeles’ epicenters of African-American thought during the civil rights movement.

In recent years years, the Dunbar has fallen on hard times as the neighborhood became better known for poverty and violence than a vibrant heart of Black Los Angeles. It housed low-income apartments, occupied largely by elderly residents.

It is my understanding that restoration efforts have recently started on the Dunbar Hotel to create "Dunbar Village" so it will be interesting to see what progress has been made.

YouTube video of 2012 festival:

location info:


Gilbert Castellanos and the New Latin Jazz Quintet

featuring Charles McPherson

Ray Goren and the Generations Blues Experience

The West Coast Get Down

Jamael Dean Quintet

Jazz America

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  • Connie

    I plan on wearing a brown maxi or striped shorts depending on the weather.

    July 28, 2013

  • Connie

    Text me when you get there, I am going to attempt to stake out a spot near the stage. Bring chairs if you have them. [masked]

    July 28, 2013

  • Makayla W.

    Anyone care to carpool ?

    July 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Where can I find additional line up information?

    July 23, 2013

    • Connie

      Click on the link above and they have the line up

      July 23, 2013

6 went

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