Boney James, Ramsey Lewis Play Playboy Jazz Festival

All right, enough with the “clever” jokes and puns about centerfolds, pin-ups and jazz. Here’s the actual news behind the innuendos: Playboy is continuing their support of the genre with the 27th Annual Playboy Jazz Festival, which will take place in Los Angeles on June 11 and 12.

The festival features a plethora of performers in genres ranging from big band and bop to blues, salsa and R&B. Highlighted performers this year include Boney James (pictured), Ramsey Lewis Trio, Joshua Redman Elastic Band, George Benson, Keb’ Mo’ and Israel “Cachao” Lopez y su Orquestra, among many, many others. And if mainstream jazz isn’t your thing, Hefner and Co. have performers such as the Jazz Tap Ensemble, daKah Hip-Hop Orchestra and R&B/jazz singer Ledisi to sate your thirst.

Kevin Eubanks, of The Tonight Show fame, will be the Master of Ceremonies on Sunday; we’re still waiting to find out who will be MC on Saturday. Tickets are currently for available by mail only, but will be available on Ticketmaster beginning May 7. To print out a mail order form, and for more information on the festival, go to the festival’s website.

Playboy has had a long-standing relationship with jazz, starting with the magazine’s first issue in 1953, which had a feature on the Dorsey Brothers. The company also formed a partnership with Concord Records in 2001 to create the Playboy Jazz label.