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Hiromi, Christian Scott at JVC Newport

Joshua Redman

Arguably one of America’s finest large, outdoor spaces in which to hear jazz is the Hollywood Bowl, but unfortunately, a jazz enthusiast can frequently get lost on his or her way to the venue. Thus it was an extra special pleasure to hear a triple-header of respected jazz players and legends when Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride (pictured) and Joshua Redman recently brought their fine respective bands and visions to the sprawling, moonlit amphitheatre.

Something was very right with the artistic picture, which reminded regular Bowl-goers of what’s often wrong here. The Bowl’s annual Playboy Jazz Festival is famous for sabotaging its good intentions, foolishly mixing the milquetoast sounds of smooth jazz with actual jazz content (there should be a law against this practice). The JVC festival arriving at the Bowl in late August is entirely smooth in texture, which will surely keep away the jazz buffs.

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