Sunday, February 23

Soulful sounds at the Jazz Reggae Festival

Q-Tip will be performing at the 24th annual Jazz Reggae Festival, held at UCLA's Intramural Field this weekend. Courtesy of Ben-David Fenwick

CORRECTION: The lead guitarist and co-founder of The Lions is named Dan Ubick.

A sunny day on Sunday will mean a good day and performance, according to Q-Tip, who will be performing on Jam Day alongside Raphael Saadiq, Tha Boogie and Quadron.

The 24th annual Jazz Reggae Festival will feature a slew of big name headliners and underground performers who will share the stage this Memorial Day weekend. During Reggae Day on Monday, Nas and Damien Marley, The Lions and Barrington Levy are scheduled to perform.

Among the headliners is Q-Tip, who has been performing since he was 18 and got his start in the group A Tribe Called Quest. His solo career has allowed him to branch out and experiment with his music. With influences such as Led Zeppelin, Rakim, Radiohead and Eric B., Q-Tip blends different types of music.

“It’s hard to say. I guess I would say (my music is) soulful, funky, hard, driving. … It’s kind of everything,” Q-Tip said.

Alongside Q-Tip on Jam Day will be Tha Boogie, which features the trio Korus, NuSchool and Lejin.

“I went to the jazz festival last year, and I never thought we would be performing this year,” said Korus, singer of Tha Boogie.

Tha Boogie started its journey together two and a half years ago. Cousins and band members NuSchool and Korus teamed up with Lejin to create a group focused on experimenting with various genres such as pop, hip-hop and R&B.

“We are influenced by a lot of pop-rock music … (like) Coldplay … (and music from) the late ’60s and early ’70s,” said Lejin, producer and band member of Tha Boogie.

With influences such as Brandy, Outkast, The Neptunes and Lauryn Hill, the group members have collected a mixture of genres that they have blended into their own sound.

“There are so many different elements and songs. (They are) a mash-up of all of our influences. … It changes and grows as we grow. It is kind of hard to put us in one genre. As of now (we are) pop alternative,” NuSchool said.

Likewise, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Declaime of the band G&D met while Declaime was searching for a female presence for his record. It led to a friendship as well a new musical act.

Declaime said that he finds inspiration from artists such as Eugene McDaniels, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley and George Clinton. These artists have helped mold the sound of G&D into a collective of soulful R&B and hip-hop.

“My music is a message from the divine. It’s from my heart. … We do have to come together, and that is what the basis of my music is ““ unifying people,” Declaime said.

Another group looking to share its message at the festival is the Danish duo Quadron. The group’s vocalist Coco started singing when she was 6 years old and attributes her musical inspirations to Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Sade, Prince, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. These inspirational performers have helped shape their sound into what Quadron’s producer, Robin Hannibal, described as electronic soul.

“It’s much more important that people feel (the music) and there is a connection,” Robin said.

Following Jam Day, performers such as legends Damien Marley and Nas, Barrington Levy and musical group The Lions will perform on Reggae Day.

Dan Ubick, lead guitarist and co-founder of The Lions, spoke of his enthusiasm for the upcoming festivities and their unlikely band beginnings that led them to Jazz Reggae Festival. Ubick described their natural formation as a lucky mistake.

“It just happened really naturally. … It just kind of happened on a fluke,” Ubick said.

Despite the beginning of their newly formed music, Ubick said the crowd can expect a more refined sort of sound at the festival.

From Zeppelin to Bob Marley, Ubick picked up a wide variety of samplers to further define his style.

“I’ve got so many musical influences. … If you’re an obsessive record collector like myself, one thing leads to the other, so thousands of records later I’ve got millions and millions of influences,” Ubick said.

Behind the scenes, Jesse Sachs, executive producer and a third-year enthnomusicology student, will help man the Jazz Reggae production. The festival, which originated as a single jazz day is almost entirely led by a staff of 30 students.

Sachs said that the success of the long-running festival is what attracts such high-profile artists to UCLA. Sachs said he hopes that the big headliners performing at the festival will help boost the fan base of the lesser-known artists performing alongside them.

Because of the promise of warm weather, Sachs also predicted a jovial experience for concert-goers.

“Really, the musical experience is excellent, we hope people (who) attend can appreciate that, but I think for a lot of people it’s great to go out and chill in the sun and feel the vibes,” Sachs said.

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