Jazz at Naz Festival
Swing into the rhythm of jazz at The Soraya.
AbovePhotographed by Peter Frank Edwards, Piper Ferguson, Jazz Frank, Alex Logaiski, Luis Luque, Dewey Nicks, Zac Smith, The Soraya
Whether you’re a hard-core jazz aficionado or simply looking for a fun night out, there’s music for everyone at The Soraya’s Jazz at Naz Festival. This year marks the third annual festival at The Soraya, located on the vibrant campus of California State University, Northridge, in the heart of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.
To launch the six-night festival on January 27, 2024, trumpeter Herb Alpert and vocalist Lani Hall will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with an evening that pairs her throwback vocal stylings with his signature brass. “It’s all about music for me,” says Alpert, who led the Tijuana Brass band in the 1960s. “I’m 88 years old now—though I don’t feel it—and it’s all about how you feel. We’re just trying to make good music. When it gets you, it gets you … and you can’t explain it.”
Jazz at Naz features two settings: the Great Hall for big nights, and the Jazz Club—set on The Soraya’s stage—to create an intimate experience complete with dinner and drinks. The star-studded festival includes Ranky Tanky’s funky vibe paired with Lisa Fischer’s versatile vocals for an evening of spirituals, standards and Southern jazz; Booker T. Jones with Hammond B-3 organ prodigy Matthew Whitaker celebrating the 60th anniversary of Booker T.’s popular album Green Onions; guitarist Eliades Ochoa and fiery pianist Harold López-Nussa offering the poignant rhythms of Cuba; and Delfeayo Marsalis featuring the sounds of New Orleans with the Uptown Jazz Orchestra.
“We’re bringing Mardi Gras flavor and New Orleans funk,” says Marsalis. “Funk is all about the groove. It makes you want to get up and dance, and that’s the essential element to American music.”
Can’t make it to Southern California for the festivities? Jazz at Naz is available to everyone—no matter your location—via livestreaming, and recordings will be available as well for attendees to view post-concert (the Herb Alpert–Lani Hall concert will not be livestreamed). Returning as hosts of the 13-camera digital stream are The Soraya’s Executive and Artistic Director Thor Steingraber and accomplished jazz musician and educator Reggie Quinerly. The livestreams will feature exclusive backstage content and candid interviews with the artists.
“Since The Soraya opened its doors in 2011, many jazz greats have appeared here,” says Steingraber. “CSUN has been for decades an important training ground for jazz musicians, and we can safely say that Northridge is now an epicenter for jazz in Southern California.”