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Live Review: 2019 Concord Jazz Festival

The California festival returns after a 15-year break to celebrate its 50th anniversary

Jazzmeia Horn performs at the 50th Anniversary Concord Jazz Festival at the Concord Pavilion in Concord, California on August 3, 2019. (photo: Chris Tuite)
Jazzmeia Horn performs at the 50th Anniversary Concord Jazz Festival at the Concord Pavilion in Concord, California on August 3, 2019. (photo: Chris Tuite)

The temperature was hot, but the jazz was cool at the Concord Jazz Festival on Saturday, August 3. At the Concord Pavilion, an outdoor venue east of the city of Concord, California, around 10,000 people gathered for an event that was born in their town and, after a 15-year hiatus, was now celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The original festival was produced in 1969 by a local car dealer/jazz enthusiast, Carl Jefferson. He believed Concord needed some culture, so he talked the city into starting a jazz festival in a neighborhood park. By 1975, the festival had grown so large that Jefferson decided to build a stadium for it: Concord Pavilion. By this time he’d also formed his own record label, Concord Jazz.

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Originally Published

Lily O'Brien

Lily O’Brien is a freelance writer and editor based in the San Francisco Bay Area with a passion for music and the performing arts. She has written articles for a variety of online and print publications including DownBeat, the San Francisco Classical Voice, Marin Arts and Culture, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Strings Magazine. She is a singer who has performed professionally in a variety of genres, and an avid world traveler and bicyclist.