By Myrna Daniels
Bless his heart, Quincy Jones always shows up for the gig, the community event, the opportunity to support jazz in Los Angeles. He can be found at Catalina Jazz Club, when one of his many pals performs there. The music doesn’t have to be “pure jazz” only. Jones has expressed his prowess as a performer, producer and mentor to many musicians over the years. “Quincy is in the house!” is a signal that the singers and musicians better bring their best game.
Jones is well known as the genius behind Michael Jackson’s best efforts as a performer; Off The Wall, Bad and Thriller, all selling millions of copies. Thriller alone sold over 50-millions copies and continues to capture audiences to this day. Jones worked with a diverse group of performers including Sarah Vaughn, Ray Charles, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Cannonball Adderly and many more. His interests were wide ranging as his association with Frank Sinatra as a conductor and arranger. Count Basie and Jones collaborated on the excellent Sinatra at The Sands, recording which included “Fly Me to the Moon” and other gems.
There’s so much more Quincy Jones history: an Emmy Award for his score of the opening episode of Roots, which was a TV first for episodic series. Jones also received 27 Grammy Awards, The Grammy Living Legend Award, a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2001 and the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Award. There are more “firsts” in his life, including his managing the recording of “We Are The World,” which brought attention to Ethiopia’s great famine. Over $63-million was raised for famine relief in the African country.
Jones’ humanitarian work continues. He is present and accounted for whenever a cause merits his participation. He doesn’t have to be asked twice; he’s in. He is also still finding talented young performers to guide and mentor. His advice, mentorship and support is worldwide.
The Los Angeles Jazz Society has been supporting musicians for decades. They are also very interested in supporting young talent to sustain their education and become professionals. The evening at The Montalban Theater in Hollywood on November 19, 2016 began with a reception across the street at 1600 Vine, a swanky high rise. Guests were able to have a drink and snack as they mingled and had photos taken with some of the performers, including Jones. The night was blustery and cold but the theatre was warm. John Clayton was the excellent Master of Ceremonies. He introduced Flip Manne, the President of the Los Angeles Jazz Society. She always looks chic and she made her way to the stage using a cane. When she got to the lectern, she tossed her cane away and got down to business. The audience laughed with her. Manne is a strong speaker, clearly outlining the purpose of the Jazz Society and the progress they’ve made. Over 23,000 young people benefit from the jazz programs that The Society provides each year.
Flip Manne has been a dedicated and purposeful leader for many years and we hope she continues for many more. With the watchful eyes and ears of John Clayton and Sherr Lillico the Los Angles Jazz Society should be able to continue its important work for a long time. The program was full and moved along at a good pace. The Shelly Manne Memorial New Talent Award was given to young trumpeter Evan Abounsassar. He was accompanied by Juston Kauflin-piano, Katie Thiroux-bass and Matt Witek-drums. Abousassar has gotten a lot of experience by performing with a wide range of small groups and big bands. He is a junior at Los Angeles High School for the Arts and has toured to some exciting gigs, with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra in Japan and performed for President Barrack Obama on The 2016 International Jazz Day White House Celebration, which aired on ABC.
He has enjoyed many other opportunities to perform and learn in many other quite dazzling groups. He was accompanied by Paul Cornish-piano, Nashir Jay-bass and Alex Smith-drums. His long intro to “Body and Soul” was quite stunning. He is certainly someone to watch. The David L. Abell Angel Award was presented to Jackie and Howard Banchik, long time supporters of the Los Angeles Jazz Society, as well as a host of other organizations. They are tireless in their support of such organizations as the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary, Friends of Jazz at UCLA, The Jewish Federation and many others. They regularly attend jazz cruises and support local events such as The Newport Beach Jazz Party and local jazz venues. The award was presented to he Banchiks by their children, Jannell and Randy Banchik and Anissa and Tim Siegel.
The next portion of the show was given over to very talented singers: Darynn Dean who sang “Mr. Paginini” and “Sophisticated Lady” to warm applause. Emily Bear composed and arranged “The Old Office” which showcased her abilities as a composer/singer. The Ricky Minor Band backed Patti Austin, who sang a spirited “Give Us the Night” which got the crowd totally excited. Vocalist/songwriter Siedah Garrett sang “Tomorrow(Better You, Better Me)” and “Man in the Mirror. ” She’s very talented and very much at ease. Her forceful version of “Man in the Mirror” was excellent. The song was written for Michael Jackson and was a big hit.
The Los Angeles Jazz Society All Star Big Band made a big impression with their cohesive, exciting performance. Members of the big band included: Bijon Watson, Clay Jenkins, Gilbert Castellanos, James James Ford-trumpets; Ira Nepus, Ryan Dragon, Maurice Spears, Juliane Gralle-trombones; Jeff Clayton, Keith Fiddmont, Rickey Woodard, Charles Owens-Lee Callet-saxes; Tamir Hendelman-piano, Katie Thriouz-bass, Matt Witek-drums, Graham Dechter-guitar. The Rickey Minor Band included: R.Minor music director/bass, Teddy Campbell-drums, Paul Jackson Jr.-guitar, Kevin Ricard-percussion, Wayne Linsey-keyboard, Dave Delhomme-keyboard, Miguel Gandelman-sax, Raymond Montiero-trumpet, Garrett Smith-trombone, Lynne Fiddmont, Larraine Perry, Carolyn Perry-McCullaunm-background vocals. Pianist Alfredo Rodriguez performed his own composition “El Guije” and displayed a strong ability to express his ideas. His mastery is quite thrilling., for such a young artist. He was featured as a cover subject in our August 2026 issue.
Alan and Marilyn Bergman presented Quincy Jones with a Lifetime Achievement Award. They praised him, for his artistry and dedication to music in general and jazz in particular. Actually everyone onstage was impressive. It was a well paced show; the big band was terrific as they ended the evening with “Soul Bossa.” Musical Director John Clayton kept things moving along quite well. The theater was dark in the audience area and I did take rough notes, but they were not totally clear when I sat down to transcribe them to the computer. My apologies if I missed things here and there.