LOS ANGELES - The 2004 Verizon Music Festival celebrates its fourth year in the Los Angeles area July 22-25, with three major concerts. Neo-soul songstress India.Arie, multi-platinum singer/songwriter Jewel, and salsa sensation Victor Manuelle headline the festival along with a four-night club series with local jazz, funk, hip-hop, neo-soul and world music favorites at multiple venues.
India.Arie kicks off the festival at Royce Hall on July 22 with her emotionally charged songs about love, faith, music, family and inner strength. Ms. Arie is a certifiable grass-roots success story, whose debut recording, Acoustic Soul, led to an invitation to open for Sade on a 40-concert tour, seven Grammy nominations, and platinum-plus success. Her follow-up album Voyage To India, quickly went platinum, and won two Grammy Awards. Her voice has been described as "a lithe, ethereal presence" and her fan-base encompasses lovers of hip-hop, neo-soul, blues, folk and classic troubadour-style singer/songwriting.
On July 23, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, world-renown for its sophisticated sound, will be the venue when multi-platinum singer/songwriter Jewel delivers an elegant and engaging solo acoustic performance with her trademark crystalline voice and musical authenticity. A testament to her international appeal, Jewel has performed as part of a Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway; played for Pope John Paul II as part of the 6th Annual Natale in Vaticano concert in Vatican City; and performed for President and Mrs. Clinton as part of the annual Christmas In Washington charity concert. While her last recording 0304 was infused with modern dance beats and textures, her festival appearance will be more in keeping with her current solo acoustic tour. If her set lists for her recent spring tour dates are any indication, the July 23 concert is likely to include a few of the following songs: "Foolish Games," "Hands," "Intuition," "You Were Meant For Me," and "Who Will Save Your Soul?"
Joe Firstman will open the July 23 concert. He was named Singer/Songwriter of the Year at the Los Angeles Music Awards in 2001, signed to a major label in early 2002, and last year released his debut full-length album, The War Of Women, encompassing piano-driven ballads, sophisticated pop, and rollicking roots-rock. Last summer, he hit the road as the opening act on Sheryl Crow's SRO summer concert tour, earning raves from fans and critics alike.
On July 24 the portholes in the Grand Salon ballroom aboard the Queen Mary will be vibrating with the Latin beat of one of salsa's leading young vocalists, Victor Manuelle. At this dance concert, premier sonero Manuelle is expected to heat up the stage with an improvisational live performance that features his trumpetlike tenor, Afro-Caribbean percussion, and the fiery brass section of his salsa band, while hundreds take to the dance floor. His most recent release, Travesía, is the latest in a long string of hit albums Manuelle has recorded over the last 11 years.
Opening the July 24 concert is Son Mayor. Well known to those Angelinos who frequent the Conga Room, or heard them accompany the legendary Chucho Valdes at the Hollywood Bowl, the group's unique sound is accentuated by its explosive horn section. In the words of Sabor Magazine, Son Mayor is the "premier and most happening" Salsa and Latin Jazz Band in California.
The club series runs July 22-25 with local jazz, funk, hip-hop, neo-soul and world music favorites performing nightly at The Jazz Bakery, The Temple Bar, and the World Stage Performance Gallery.
Tickets for the 2004 Verizon Music Festival in Los Angeles concerts go on sale June 6, 2004, and are available at the following outlets:
- Royce Hall UCLA - Royce Drive (between Westwood Boulevard and Hilgard Avenue). Tickets available at UCLA Central Ticket Office, 310-825-2101; Ticketmaster 213-365-3500, and Ticketmaster.com. Ticket prices: $50, $40, $35 Student tickets $15 with ID.
- Walt Disney Concert Hall at the Music Center - 111 S. Grand Avenue. www.musiccenter.org, Ticketmaster 213-365-3500, and Ticketmaster.com. Ticket prices: $60, $45, $35, $20
- Queen Mary - 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach. Tickets available at the Queen Mary box office 562-435-3511, www.queenmary.com, Ticketmaster 213-365-3500, and Ticketmaster.com. Ticket price: $30 General Admission
- The Jazz Bakery - 3233 Helms Boulevard. Tickets available at Jazz Bakery box office 310-271-9039, www.jazzbakery.com. Ticket price: $25 (students 1/2 price with ID)
- The Temple Bar - 1026 Wilshire Blvd. Tickets available at Temple Bar box office on the night of the performance, 310-393-6611 and at www.templebarlive.com. Ticket prices vary.
- World Stage Performance Gallery - 4344 Degnan Boulevard. Tickets available at World Stage box office, 323-293-2451and at www.theworldstage.org. Ticket prices: $10, $5
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