Taste of Hawthorne, Uniting Grooves and Food

Ozomatli headlined the 1st Annual Taste of Hawthorne presented by the Economic Development Council

By Ricky Ricardo
Published on LatinoLA: May 20, 2013

Taste of Hawthorne, Uniting Grooves and Food

In the past, I have attended many "Taste of" events throughout Los Angeles, and in both the City of Santa Monica and Redondo Beach. I was one of thousands who were in attendance for the inaugural Taste of Hawthorne, Sunday, May 19th at the Hawthorne Airport.

Residents of the South Bay and greater Los Angeles were happy to attend the 1st Annual Taste of Hawthorne Presented by The Economic Development Council. The Taste of Hawthorne showcased what a small group of dedicated people can accomplish.

The organizers intentions were to increase awareness and exposure of current businesses, attract potential new businesses, provide job and education opportunities all under the collective umbrella of The Taste of Hawthorne Food and Music Festival. The steady stream of people entering the festival sight was a great visual testimonial of the success of this inaugural event.

People arrived by the carloads, Metro Rail and buses, walking, running, bicycling and a few lucky ones arrived by plane. Another great visual testimonial were the satisfied, happy people visiting and sampling food from the various booths and gathering information from the other service and business booths.

City Councilmember Alex Vargas donned a different hat for this festive occasion. He sat in the DJ booth to serve up a generous portion of musical delights in between bands and the party continued until 6 PM after the last band perfomed. TV personalities John Curtis and Al Mancini of the Travel Channel Show "All Forked Up" served as Master of Ceremonies.

The festival presented three wonderful bands to entertain the crowd as they strolled around, sat down to eat, or enjoyed an adult beverage or two in the Wine Garden courtesy of San Antonio Winery, Bristol Farms and Costco, or in the Beer Tasting Garden to celebrate American Artisan Beer Week "May 12th-19th."

I missed the first band to perform. Perusing their set list, let me know that this is a great local band with an extensive, variety set list that consisted of some Contemporary Jazz, R&B, Reggae, Pop saturated with plenty of soul. The band consist of Jennifer Jordan-vocals, Kenny Harrison-guitar, Megan Swan-trumpet, Taylor Kennedy-drums, Brett Thomas-bass and Ray Zepeda on saxophones.

You are probably wondering if I'm going to tell you the name of the band? You Were Great Last Night. If you are looking for a tight band for your next event, check out some of their tunes online on their website or go to see them in person during their next gig. You can Google search You Were Great Last Night for all of the appropriate information.

The South Bay is the home to many talented young creative jazz musicians. The Young Musicians Performance Academy nurtures and celebrates these young musicians.The Young Musicians Performance Academy is "The Premier School for Jazz & Creative Music" in the South Bay for Young Musicians ages 8-18. Their hard work was on full display during their extremely entertaining set at the 1st Annual Taste of Hawthorne presented by The Economic Development Council.

The audience and I were happy to witness these dedicated young musicians superbly perform some jazz standards. Their wonderful set list for this gig consisted of the tunes "Straight No Chaser," "The Jodie Grime," "Pass the Peas" an appropriate tune for the event, "Chameleon," "I Wish" and "Superstition" with outstanding vocals by Jane Fishman. Please visit www.ympa.org for more information about The Young Musicians Performance Academy.

Festival goers couldn't wait for the Captain (Ozomatli) to turn off the seat belt sign, before the flight could reach a safe, cruising altitude before they emptied their seats to dance. "Let's Get This Party Started" resonated throughout the audience before Ozomatli could get a clearance from the Control Towers. Ozomatli took the crowd and I on a global tour throughout the Global Village we affectionately call Los Angeles.

The band served up a delicious smorgasbord of tasty sounds, which has been described as "a notorious urban-Latin-and-beyond collision of hip-hop, salsa, dancehall, cumbia, Brazilian samba, funk, merengue and camparsa, drenched in East Los Angeles R&B, New Orleans secondline, Jamaican ragga and Indian raga".

It was quite fitting for The Economic Development Council to pick Ozomatli to headline the inaugural Taste of Hawthorne. These hometown heroes travel all over the world as U.S. State Department Cultural Ambassadors, sharing their infectious grooves to a receptive audiences. Festival goers were captivated throughout their fun, up-tempo set that featured the tunes "Gallina," "Chango," "Elysian," "Sat Nite," "Ya Viene," Nadas," "Cumbia" and "Cabillito." The band debuted (launched) new tunes "Paleta," "Bombino," "Brighter," and "Tus Ojos" which were well-received by the audience. Their set continued with "After Party," "Just Can't Get Enough," and "Como" to cap off a rousing set to thunderous applause.

The success of this event makes me wonder if this will become a signature event in the City of Hawthorne. The huge turnout and interest in this event might suggest that this event could be held twice a year, in the Fall and Spring. Just a thought!!!

About Ricky Ricardo:
Ricky Ricardo is a Southern California based writer,music reviewer and photographer with an emphasis in Latin and World music.

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