Free jazz concert warm-up to Playboy Jazz Festival

Jazz/R&B vocalist Oleta Adams performs Sunday at Warner Center Park.

As a precursor to the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl this coming weekend, a free community concert took place at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills Sunday afternoon with a lineup that featured four-time Grammy-nominated jazz/R&B vocalist Oleta Adams, contemporary jazz keyboardist Lao Tizer and trumpet great Sal Marquez with his quartet.

The free concert, sponsored by the Playboy Jazz Festival as part of its annual community event series held in conjunction with the upcoming Playboy Jazz Festival, Saturday and Sunday, is also part of the Valley Cultural Center’s “Concerts on the Green” series.

The Calabasas High School Jazz Band, one of 15 finalists in the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band competition in New York City at Jazz at Lincoln Center, opened the show Sunday, which was apropos, as the band played excellent blues-like jazz and got the crowd revved up for the featured performances. This was the last performance of the school jazz band this year, as the school year ends next week, and many of its members are graduating.

Trumpeter Sal Marquez, who has performed and recorded with such jazz greats as Woody Herman, Buddy Rich and Dave Mason, followed the school band with a set of pleasing jazz melodies. Keyboardist Lao Tizer, with his all-star lineup of Chieli Minucci on guitar, Steve Nieves on sax, percussion and vocals, Jeff Kollman on guitar, Raul Pineda on drums and Andre Manga on bass, rocked the house with their funky, Latin-infused jazz that brought audience members to their feet. Special kudos goes to bassist Manga, who played a hot, thumping solo.

Closing the evening, the beautiful, rich voice of Oleta Adams, who has toured with the likes of Michael Bolton and Luther Vandross and whose 1990 debut album “Circle of One” went platinum, filled the park with a gentle melodic jazz, leaving concertgoers jazz satisfied.

The free Warner Center Park (located at 5800 Topanga Canyon Blvd.) 2010 Concerts on the Green, which last throughout August every Sunday starting at 6 p.m. (unless otherwise noted), are sponsored by the Valley Cultural Center.

The Playboy Jazz Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Hollywood Bowl. More information can be obtained online at