the word contemporary

By Chris J. Walker

Pink Martini performing at Disney Hall on New Year’s Eve has become a tradition over the years. To the Oregon-based ensemble’s credit, new songs and guest artists are always included, while it showcases popular band members and tunes that consistently excite the audience. Co-leader vocalist China Forbes got the show underway elegantly singing cha-cha driven “Let’s Never Stop Falling in Love.” It was lushly adorned by the14-piece ensemble and 8-piece Harvey Rosencrantz Orchestral all led by pianist/bandleader/founder Thomas Lauderdale, with the audience enthusiastically clapping along. Guest clarinetist David Tucker played the intro and garnished whimsical vintage jazz-styled and minimally supported “Hang on Little Tomato” with Forbes singing.

International music has always been a part of Pink Martini’s repertoire, and sophisticated French themed “Joli Garçon” from the band’s latest CD Non Ouais! The French Songs of Pink Martini was showcased featuring Forbes. “¿Dónde estás, Yolanda?” contrarily was dynamic with band reveling with Latin rhythms and percussionist Timothy Nishimoto singing robustly. Briefly taking the audience’s breath away was provocatively dressed Storm Large, the other main singer, doing Romanian classically oriented “Până când nu te Iubeam” that was slow-drawn and dramatic.

Guest singers The von Trapps (grandchildren of the legendary group) injected amusing German yodeling into the mix. Alternately, Japanese boogaloo was headed up by Nishimoto and his father working out. Mexican vocalist Edna Vazquez, now living in Portland, passionately sang in Spanish about being vulnerable in order to grow in a rock ballad vein. Somewhat similarly styled, Jimmy Herrod powerfully sang “The Exodus Song with silky orchestra backing to totally blow the crowd away.

Of course, fun is the main objective for PM and “Then You’re Gone” featuring Large, styled in the vein of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” with a taste of Schubert for the intro excited the audience. In response, NPR’s Ari Shapiro sang swing styled “Now I’m Back,” and as a total cad danced with Large. Later all the women singers triumphantly came together for Helen Reddy’s immortal “I Am Woman Hear Me Roar” with many ladies in the audience joining in. Cheeky Brit Ida Rae Cahana did a mix of comedy and singing Marlene Dietrich-like with two men from the audience being good sports as she sang “I Will Survive” in French and English.

At the strike of midnight “Auld Lang Syne” was heartily performed with audience cheerily clapping along as tinsel and ribbons were strewn throughout the concert hall. For the encore, classic “Brasil” was rendered with the band reeling and a festive conga line forming around the perimeter of the stage and front set of seats. Unquestionably, a fitting start for 2019!




Pianist/composer/philanthropist Lisa Hilton began her musical career in the mid-‘90s playing New Age Music and in recent years has explored incorporating jazz and blues related rhythms and textures into her music through various groups and projects. At The Coburn School of Music’s Zipper Hall she performed solely and mostly highlighted original selections from Oasis her latest recording. “Twists of Fate” embodied Thelonious Monk bebop and Horace Silver hard-bop compositional touches, along with light solo forays. “Vapors & Shadows” was a jaunting mix of jazz and blues that showcased the pianist’s nimbleness and emotionality related to her experiences during the tragic Woolsey fire in Malibu. From a more upbeat perspective Hilton intermixed blues bass lines and standard melodic tinges for “Lazy Daisy.

Related more to New Age was easy flowing “Watercolor World” that musically depicted a whirling mix of shadows and colors. “Just For Fun,” one of the first songs the pianist recorded was light hearted and musically depicted movements of toddlers. Alternatively, “Sunday Morning” an earlier tune revisited on the new CD was classic New Age consisting of cascading somber runs perfect for introspection and mindfulness. “Waterfall” was more classical oriented and influenced by her hiking in the Colorado Rockies.

However, “Meltdown” from the Escapism CD sharply contrasted the previous peaceful songs and was upbeat, raucous and slightly chaotic thematically. It received a standing ovation and for the encore Hilton performed uplifting and breezy themed “Zero Gravity” also from the same recording. For more info go to:


Grammy-winner Thelma Houston appeared at the Grammy Museum and was warmly greeted by fans, family and music industry people. Houston’s story is almost like a Greek tragedy, with plenty of heartbreaks and disappointments, yet she survived and thrived. With the Grammy Museum’s Artistic Director, Scott Goldman she discussed her history, beginning with growing up in Long Beach, and singing in church, high school and various groups. However, by the time she was 20, she was divorced with two kids. Four years later she returned to gospel music and gained notoriety, with another stab at secular music. Renowned producer/songwriter Jimmy Webb got interested in Houston, resulting in him producing her first solo album Sunshower. Critics liked it, but commercially it was a flop and the singer was dropped from Dunhill Records.

Houston rebounded again with a contract on Motown Records in 1972 and worked with all its great producers, writers and artists. She recorded an eponymous project similar to Sunshower and basically had the same results, with four years going by before she would have another opportunity. Fortunately, Motown Productions Executive Suzanne de Passe found Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” and thought it was perfect for Houston. Berry Gordy, President of the company wasn’t impressed though. Nonetheless, de Passe pressed on to get the song and album Any Way You Like It recorded.
The rest is history with Houston winning a Grammy and earning a Gold Record. The singer chronicled everything in her musical Motown Memories and Me.

After the lively conversation with Goldman and Q&A with the audience. Houston was re-awarded her 1977 Grammy for Best R&B Performance that was destroyed 25 years ago to the day during the Northridge Earthquake. She was truly touched and said the award “Gave her a career.” In returned Houston presented the Grammy Museum a beautiful piece of art from the high school she attended. Afterwards, she performed several songs with her group that included “Someone to Watch Over Me,” Webb produced “Everybody Gets to Go The Moon,” “Mixed-Up Girl” and “This is Your Life,” a fun Motown medley and of course her hit “Don’t Leave Me This Way” to receive a heartfelt standing ovation.




One of the legendary Tower of Power songs is “You Ought to be Having Fun” (included in the show) and at the Saban Theatre the mighty Oakland-based nonet led by singer Marcus Scott made it their mission for the audience. Unquestionably, one would have to be comatose or not have any rhythm to not appreciate TOP. “Do it With Soul” from the group’s new CD Soul Side of Town got the crowd going and afterwards the group jumped around their 50-year catalogue.

“Soul With a Capital ‘S’,” “Get Your Feet Back on The Ground,” “Credit,” full band singing “You’re So Wonderful, So Marvelous,” horn funk wailing “On The Serious Side” and “Diggin’ on James Brown” featuring bandleader/saxophonist Emilio Castillo singing were among the hot tunes exciting the audience. The band took it even further with more JB and even worked out doing his “I Got The Feeling” and “I Can’t Help Myself.” As would be expected, signature “What is Hip” rocked the house with sections of “Soul Power” alternating in and out. Concluding the set was raucous “Souled Out” with singer revving up the crowd to sing along.

TOP proved they’re not just about getting crazy on the dance floor and dipped into their ballad folder for “The Grass is Not Always Greener” featuring the vocalist, organ and brass chorus wailing away. Getting jazzier and showcasing the smoother side of the vocalist was vintage piece “Sparkling in The Sand,” also bolstered by soothing flute to further delight the audience. Similarly, “So Very Hard to Go” blended smoothness with the band’s signature toughness persona to round things out.




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The Rose is proud to present internationally acclaimed and celebrated pianist, composer and humanitarian Keiko Matsui, which coincides with the release date for her new album, Echo, making the concert a true cause for celebration! A world citizen, Matsui’s music speaks to the hearts and souls of fans around the world, transcending borders and building bridges among people who share a common appreciation of honest artistry and cultural exchange. “Music creates a oneness,” says the striking, petite powerhouse who has worked alongside everyone from Miles Davis and Stevie Wonder to Hugh Masekela and Bob James.

Known for her crossover mix of smooth jazz, fusion, and new age music, Japan’s Keiko Matsui is an internationally acclaimed pianist and composer. Emerging in the late ’80s, Matsui has issued a stream of albums including 1989’s Under Northern Lights, 1995’s chart-topping Sapphire, and 2013’s Journey to the Heart, that display a grasp of both Western and Eastern musical traditions, as well as her love of nature and spirituality.

Matsui grew up in Tokyo and took her first piano lesson at the age of five. Influenced by Stevie Wonder and Rachmaninov as well as early fusion masters Maurice Jarre and Chick Corea, Matsui began composing while in junior high but studied children’s culture at the Japan Women’s University (Nihon Joshidaigaku). She moved to the Yamaha Music Foundation in Tokyo after graduation and formed Cosmos, recording four albums with the new age group. Her first album as a leader, 1987’s A Drop of Water, was released in the U.S. two years after the fact on Passport. The LP also featured her touring partner and husband, shakuhachi player Kazu Matsui, and was financed with their honeymoon money.





Keiko Matsu
The Rose
February 22, 2019
Doors 6pm. Music 7pm. Headliner 9:00pm.
Opening sets by Hagen Jazz and H’Atina G
245 E. Green St.
Pasadena, CA




Tom Scott is a renowned composer, arranger, producer, musical director and sax/woodwind recording artist. He has 34 solo recordings to his credit and has earned 14 Grammy nominations and 3 Grammy awards. In 2017, he received his first Emmy nomination as Music Director for Tony Bennett’s 90th Birthday Celebration at Radio City Music Hall on NBC-TV.

His career as musician/arranger also spans over five hundred recordings—by such diverse artists as Thelonius Monk, Quincy Jones, Gerry Mulligan, Oliver Nelson, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, the Blues Brothers, Michael Jackson, and Michael McDonald. Other credits include Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark and Miles of Aisles, Steely Dan’s Aja and Gaucho; hit singles like Carole King’s Jazzman, Paul McCartney’s Listen to What the Man Said, Rod Stewart’s Do You Think I’m Sexy, Blondie’s Rapture, Toto’s Rosanna, Whitney Houston’s Saving All My Love for You; and movie soundtracks such as Taxi Driver, The Jerk, Heaven Can Wait, Sea of Love, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc. and The Good Dinosaur. Tom has served as Musical Director for the Academy Awards, the Emmy Awards (10 years), Comic Relief, Joni Mitchell, George Harrison, Olivia Newton-John, and the GRP All-Star Big Band, among others–and has toured four continents as leader of his own group..



Red TicketTom Scott & The LA Express
The Rose
February 24, 2019
Doors 5pm. Music 6pm. Headliner 8:00pm.
Opening sets by Axiom and Nicola Winokur
245 E. Green St.
Pasadena, CA





image of the word fusion with person playing sax

Expression and interpretation come in many shapes and forms that are sometimes easily understood, and other times complicated or mysterious, requiring many attempts and angles to decipher. Lonnie Holley a singer/keyboardist, found-object sculptor, artist and now filmmaker with a short showcasing at the Sundance Film Festival creates engaging art that comes from his heart and is far from being conventional, with exhibits at The Modern Museum of Art, The Smithsonian and even The White House. His musicality essentially is just another avenue of creativity and Holley taught himself in the rural outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama, first repairing a Casio keyboard, then salvaging and incorporating a karaoke player and finally making cassette-tape recordings in the early ‘80s. Along the way the artist made professional recordings, developed an international fan-base and the admiration of rockers, such as the Animal Collective, Bon Iver, Bill Callahan and Deerhunter.

At The Getty Museum Stage, Holley supported by Dave Nelson-loops/synthesizer and trombone and Marlon Payton-bass pedals/drums/Moog performed songs mostly from his latest CD MITH. The artist though, performed more so in response to his feelings and observations, working off the themes of thankfulness, ownership, progression, cosmic elements, personal events and spirituality. With ambient loops and orbital effects mostly controlled by his cohorts Holley employed his soulful voice with occasional whistling to expound on his extensive sonic essays. Sometimes similarities to Gil Scott-Heron, Sun-Ra, Alice Coltrane and even Stevie Wonder can be heard in the unusual artist’s music. On the other hand, his creations are also very different and unique. One thing is certain, Holley music is an acquired taste and clearly not for everyone.



The Edge of Jazz curated by Herbie Hancock and performed at Disney Hall showcased cutting-edge compositions by some of the jazz worlds most innovative proponents in mostly classical formats as World Premiere Commissioned Works. Southern California-based saxophonist/composer/educator Hitomi Oba performed World Premier and LA Philharmonic Commissioned Aina with Nathan Cole-violin, Akiko Tarunoto-violin, Teng Li-viola, Gloria Lum-cello and Christopher Hanulik-bass that was stark and pushed the threshold.

Not on stage initially, Paolo Bortoiameolli, was at the helm for all the other selections and conducted keyboardist/composer/arranger/educator Vijay Iyer’s Crisis Modes with a 20-piece orchestra (the composer came out after the performance). Iyer’s work was grand with sweeping strings that eventually spiraled down and become much less prominent with emphasis on percussive instruments. Triumphantly, the strings returned with xylophones and percussion offsetting in raga fashion to draw strong audience response.

Los Angeles’ noted pianist/arranger/composer Billy Childs performed Darkness and Light with a 22-person orchestra. The piece ranged from macabre, bold, riveting, thematic, suspenseful and pastoral with solo piano, flutes and woodwinds. It too was enthusiastically received, especially considering the fire alarm system went off mid-way through and the piece was rendered again in its entirety.

A 20-person ensemble performed another Southern California product, composer/arranger/saxophonist Kamasi Washington’s composition Struggle From Within. It unfolded resoundingly and easily could have been augmented by a chorale for its most hard-hitting sections. Overall, Washington’s work was the most luscious, balanced by contrasting dramatic and harmonious moments.

In sharp comparison, drummer/percussionist/composer Tyshawn Sorey’s For Fred Lerdahi was a quartet piece played by Joannne Pearce Martin-piano, Dale Hikawa Silverman-viola, Matthew Howard-percussion and Perry Drelman-percussion. It was streamlined and slowly unfolded, resembling a score for a horror film.

Wrapping up the stimulating concert was Brazilian icon Hermeto Pascoal’s Suite Universal, orchestrated by Jovino Santos Neto, who also played piano with a 15-piece assembly. As expected the work was decidedly different from the others with a South American-tinged foundation melded with modern classical and theatrical orchestration to conclude grandly and garner a standing ovation.


Prior to Stanley Clarke performing at the Broad Stage, its Director Jane Deknatel recalled asking the world class bassist and innovator who lives in neighboring Topanga Canyon, if her venue could be his home last year. She happily announced that his return confirmed her request, with a sold-out house and his first show of the year. The iconic bassist seemed to relish the idea as well and jumped headfirst into playing with Baka Gochiashvili-piano/keyboards, Shariq Tucker-drums, Salar Nader-tabla/percussion, Cameron Graves-keyboards and Evan Garr-violin. “Lopsy Lu” a short composite of the bandleader’s solo electric bass work during the ‘70s was the first selection featuring him profoundly playing with strong accents from his sidemen.

From there the full ensemble segued to Clarke’s recently departed friend keyboardist/singer/composer/arranger/producer George Duke’s “Brazilian Love Affair.” Garr’s dazzling solo, essentially a mix of pioneering violinists Jean Luc-Ponty and Noel Pointer highlighted it. Additionally, Gochiashvili’s high-flying acoustic piano solo with torrent drumming accents, and of course the bandleader’s signature acoustic bass section that included percussive effects were unbelievable. Topping the piece off was a tablas solo with Middle Eastern chanting, and a scorching drum solo.

Clarke and crew managed to insert almost everything into that one composition and understandably took a respite by performing monumental bassist/bandleader/composer Charlie Mingus’classic “Goodbye Porkpie Hat.” Clarke led off with a stirring acoustic effects accented solo that led to a mostly relaxed rendition featuring Graves’ synth solo and overpowering drumming inflections. Synth carried over for the intro of the next selection, Joe Henderson’s “Black Narcissus.” The mainstream jazz gem was extensive and laden with both acoustic (piano, bass, tablas and drums) and electric (violin and synth) solos.

The last third of the 90-minute show solidly returned to fusion, starting with keyboardist/composer and former bandmate/co-leader Chick Corea’s masterful No Mystery (1975). Clark remarked that it was his favorite composition by his friend and originally done in the 1700s. Afterwards the bassist’s ensemble tastefully performed it, highlighted by Clarke’s acoustic bowing and incredible fingering, dazzling interplay/soling between synth, violin and piano, and the rhythm players fluidly supporting and also soloing profoundly. Needless to say, the performance drew an over the top standing ovation. For the encore funk and fun were the mandates. Duke’s “Oh, Oh” was a total party with the audience singing along and Nader scatting, along with a fused version of George Clinton’s “Mothership Connection” featuring the band funking away.

The word world in blue colors and green colers

Vocalist, Somi was born in Illinois, and her parents are immigrants from Rwanda and Uganda. She also lived in Zambia as child from ages of three to nine, while her father a physician was working for The World Health Organization. Thus, her music is a highly appealing mix of African traditions and pop, jazz and modern soul. At Just Jazz to a sold-out house with the robust support of Otis Brown III-drums, Jahmal Nichols-bass and Toru Dodo-piano, the provocative singer was an unrelenting force. The concert began with the backing trio setting up an exotic/rhythmic exposition as the headliner joined in with poetic lyrics and soaring African scatting/chanting.

The show continued with “Black Enough” a contemporary jazz groove showcasing Somi’s exhilarating singing/scatting offset by a funky bass solo and high-flying piano. Not quite a ballad the artist depicted a women looking for change, but not easily finding it with the band accenting and soloing tastefully. Along the same lines, emotive ballad “Two-Dollar Day” based on the Nigerian Government not sharing oil profits with its citizens that was met with intense protest and demonstrations drew strong audience response. The singer also focused on Harlem where she lives and its richness of immigrants, culture and history through beautifully sung and lightly supported “Like Dakar.”

An African styled solo bass intro led to the very gentile beginnings of “The Gentry” that eventually erupted with the chorus “I Want it Black” as the band and singer vigorously worked out to amaze the audience. Following that cascading and mesmerizing waves of solo piano introduced soulful ballad “First Kiss: Eko Oni Baje” that was sweetly sung in Swahili. It later ramped up for a jamming interlude that included Somi scatting away. Easy flowing ballads “Ginger Me Slowly” and “Last Song” followed for a respite. The singer concluded the show with hard-driving and scatting African tinged “Lady Revisited” that included an intriguing piano solo and was dedicated to all the women in the audience.



the word blues

Veteran Bay Area-based singer/guitarist Tommy Castro, a multi Bay Area Music Award (BAM) winner and his band the Painkillers recently toured So Cal and one of the shows was at The Rose in Pasadena. The band formed in 2012 and also comprised of Randy McDonald-bass, Mike Emerson-keyboards and Bowen Brown presented rocking blues analogous to Stevie Ray Vaughan, George Thorogood and Robben Ford, with touches of Hendrix, Eric Clapton and BB King. Classic blues styled “Two Hearts” was one of the opening tunes to arouse the crowd. “The Devil You Know” was a hard-hitting blues rocker featuring Castro soloing intensely and the band jamming away.

Sleepy John Este’s blues standard “My Leaving Trunk” was soulful with Emerson on organ and the bandleader wailing away, along with Percy Mayfield’s mournful ballad “Serves Me Right to Suffer” featuring an impressive blues guitar crescendo solo. Going more so in R&B was Wilson Pickett’s “99 and ½” and Dozier, Holland and Holland’s “Chairman of The Board.” Castro also went back to 1999 for the rocking title track of the Right as Rain album to get people out on the dance floor with the band stretching out.

Blues ballad “I’m Just a Man” was also a vintage tune and crowd favorite the band leader tries to keep in his set list. The band injected some variety by shifting to country honky-tonk for “Making it Back to Memphis” and kept the crowd dancing. From the upcoming new CD Stompin’ Ground was Love Ain’t Enough” was previewed. Closing out the lively show was Buddy Miles’ classic “Them Changes” and Johnny Nicholas’ “Too Many Bad Habits” to extend the partying. For more info go to:



It’s ironic that guitarist/singer Elvin Bishop and singer/harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite never performed together, especially with their commonality, though the harp player has been on some of Bishop’s records. Both are students and lovers of the blues, spent time in Chicago and its blues bars together during the ‘60s, met all the great blues legends and established themselves, and eventually migrated to Northern California in late ‘60s/early ‘70s to develop local and national followings. At the extraordinary new Musco Center For The Arts on the Chapman University campus, the colorful musicians came together as part of a limited tour with the support of keyboardist/bassist Bob Welsh.

The trio converted the well-appointed concert hall into their living room, playing songs, telling stories and having a ball. Musselwhite opened singing “100 Years of The Blues” a new song they’re constructing, and rambling “The Blues Overtook Me (When I Was a Little Child” with harp and piano soloing strongly. Bishop countered with “What The Hell is Going on” soloing raucuosly with Mussellwhite helping out. The guitarist also inserted amusing “Can’t Even do Wrong Right” and ballad “My Heart is Sinking Deep.” After making dedication to several people Bishop did “I’m Old School” an amusing song about his feelings about high tech and social media to get affirming nods from the crowd.

Musselwhite talked a lot about bluesmen he met back in the day and performed relatively unknown bluesman Eddie Taylor’s “Bad Boy.” Additionally, on slide guitar he masterfully imitated Robert Knight’s style for ballad “Crying Won’t Help You.” The harpist said James Cotton’s “Some Lowdown Blues” was one of his favorite songs and with Bishop proceeded to sing and play it. Sonnyboy Williams’ antics were recalled by Musselwhite and led to the trio doing his popular song “Help Me.”

They also played lightly jumping “Blues Why You Worrying Me” that the harpist said would have been a dancing song in Chicago and featured Welsh working out on piano to the audience’s delight. With everyone having a great time the ornery bluesmen played in raw fashion “Another Mule is Kicking in Your Stall” with the audience clapping along. Needless to say, the show went by pretty fast, with Bishop and Musselwhite sneaking in blues standard “Don’t You Lie to Me” for the show closer to draw an overpowering standing ovation. For the encore they presented old time blues rocking “Roll Your Money Maker” for more good times. Hopefully, on the impetus of this tour they’ll make a return trip in the not too distant future.



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Alligator Records artists Coco Montoya and Tinsley Ellis will make stops in Pasadena, San Juan Capistrano and Agoura Hills on their current Blues Rock Titans tour. The artists will also join forces each night for an unforgettable jam session.

Legendary blues-rock guitarist and vocalist Coco Montoya will feature songs from his latest Alligator Records release, HARD TRUTH. On it Montoya unleashes one career-topping performance after another, the music immediately ranking among the best he’s ever recorded. Produced by Tony Braunagel (Eric Burdon, Curtis Salgado, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt), the album features eleven songs, each delivering a hard truth of its own. Montoya’s unpredictable guitar playing and smoking soul vocals blend effortlessly with a backing band featuring renowned musicians including bassist Bob Glaub, keyboardist Mike Finnigan, guitarists Billy Watts and Johnny Lee Schell and Braunagel on drums.

Montoya earned his status as a master guitarist and soul-powered vocalist through years of paying his dues as a sideman with Albert Collins (first as a drummer) and then as a featured guitarist with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, before launching his solo career in 1993. Five years of constant touring with Collins and ten years with Mayall turned him into a monster player and dynamic performer. Montoya has released eight previous solo albums to great critical and popular acclaim, and has played at clubs, concert halls and major festivals all over the world. Guitar Player says Montoya plays “stunning, powerhouse blues with a searing tone, emotional soloing, and energetic, unforced vocals.”

Tinsley Ellis is among the blues world’s best-loved, hardest working and most well traveled statesmen. Ellis’ latest release, 2018’s WINNING HAND, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart. Since his first Alligator album 30 years ago, Tinsley Ellis has become a bona fide worldwide guitar hero. The Chicago Sun-Times says, “It’s hard to overstate the raw power of his music.” He is also revered as a guitarist’s guitarist, with famous friends including Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Oliver Wood, Jonny Lang and members of Widespread Panic calling on him to sit in and jam. “A musician never got famous staying home,” he says.

Recorded in Nashville and produced by Ellis and keyboardist Kevin McKendree, the ten brilliantly performed, fervently sung tracks on WINNING HAND include nine originals, ranging from blistering blues to heart-pounding rock to soulful ballads. “Guitar, guitar, guitar is what this album is all about,” says Ellis, who recorded primarily with his 1959 Fender Stratocaster, his 1967 Gibson ES 345 and his 1973 Les Paul Deluxe.

Over the course of his career, Ellis has shared stages with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Otis Rush, Willie Dixon, The Allman Brothers, Leon Russell, Son Seals, Koko Taylor, Albert Collins and many others. Back home on Alligator Records, Tinsley Ellis is ready to prove again that whenever he picks up a guitar, he’s playing with a winning hand.





February 28, 2019
Doors: 6:00pm
The Rose
245 E. Green St.
Pasadena, CA

March 1, 2019
Doors: 6:00pm
The Coach House
33157 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA

March 3, 2019
Doors: 6:00pm
The Canyon
28912 Roadside Dr.
Agoura Hills, CA

Text Special Mention

Los Angeles’ own, trumpeter Elliott Caine performed at Catalina’s with his quintet that consisted of Scott Gilman-tenor saxophone, Peter Smith-piano, Trevor Ware-bass and Thomas White-drums. For the show the bandleader featured the music of Lee Morgan, one of his major influences. Wasting no time the musicians got down to business rendering “These Are Soulful Days” on Morgan’s Lee-Way album that was thematic hard-bop with solos by all. The ensemble continued with soulful “Cornbread” highlighted by Elliott’s and Gilman’s blistering playing with strong rhythm support. Later in the show, Caine dived deep in Morgan’s repertoire, going back to his years with Art Blakey, for hard-bop gem “Calling Miss Khadija” to spotlight the entire band through solos.

Not to be forgotten was the bandleader’s fiery Latin-tinged original “Mysteriouslee” with all the players blasting away during solos. Taking a break from the upbeat material was modal ballad “Häschen” showcasing the pianist who stretched out superbly, along with the bandleader and saxophonist. Also jazz waltz “Slumber” was cool swinging with Gilman taking the first solo, as Caine and Ware adroitly followed. Morgan’s renowned Latin standout “Ceora” showcased the bandleader’s flugelhorn playing; along with solo contributions from the sidemen to thoroughly impress the audience. As expected, Morgan’s “The Sidewinder” couldn’t be overlooked and was the encore with Caine and band wailing away on the hard bop classic to garner a standing ovation. For more info go to:


Just Jazz departed from its regular concert series to host a special event, Eric Dolphy: Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions, newly compiled on Resonance Records. Essentially it was an evening of music and words celebrating the new 3-disc recording (also on vinyl), its discovery, timetable and historic ramifications. Through a panel discussion moderated by Randall Roberts from the LA Times, with co-producers Resonance Records Zev Feldman and flautist/educator James Newton, plus jazz scholar Robin D.G. Kelley all those subjects and much more were addressed.

Los Angeles native Dolphy who died in 1964 at the young age of 36 was an important influence on Newton. While living in New York during the ‘70s he was mentored by composer/arranger/Professor of Music Hale Smith, resulting in a close personal friendship with him and his wife Juanita. The couple, also friends of Dolphy passed on his suitcase of personal belongings and tapes recorded in 1963 that he left with them before going on his fateful trip to Europe in 1964 with the Charles Mingus Sextet.

Many years later Newton connected with Feldman through Jason Moran to embark on a four-year mission culling the mono masters, contacting Dolphy and Alan Douglas’ estates (Douglas produced overlooked albums Conversation and Iron Man albums) and assembling a 100-page booklet that includes Kelly’s research and liner notes.
During the last stages of the fast-paced panel Nicole Mitchell who was in the audience and played with the Mark Dresser Quintet beforehand, thanked the icon for being an influence, and Newton shouted out to reedist Bennie Maupin, also one of his mentors.

Opening the evening, bassist Dresser’s group, Joshua White-piano, Mitchell-flute and Keir Gogwilt-violin conjured up adventurous chamber jazz leaning to avant-garde with sometimes-humorous compositional titles from almost two hours. “The Hobby Lobby Horse” was freewheeling with everyone doing their thing, yet not stepping on anyone’s contribution. Newly recorded “Black Barbie’s Bounce” was dedicated to alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe was off kilter, yet had swinging ensemble moments. “Paper Towels” ended the set and with the bandleader’s percussive playing with shrill violin accenting that transformed to being organically rhythmic with full band.

Finishing the event, David Binney-sax led a group that included Solomon Henry-bass clarinet, Dan Schnell-drums, Chris Williams-trumpet, Simon Moullier-vibraphone and Tabari Lake-bass. The group began with a lengthy Latin jam-like tune that was full of solos and followed with an energetic neo-bop number featuring the bandleader wailing away. Also included were nuanced and edgy version of “It’s The Wrong Time And Place” and sinuous originals.


At Segerstrom Hall saxophonist/bandleader Branford Marsalis cordially greeted the audience and commented, “It’s good to be in some warm weather.” However, if he and the band, Joey Calderazzo-piano, Eric Revis-bass and Justin Faulkner-drums had stuck around for another week they would not have been so happy. The players did though do their own storming on stage and dedicated “Dance of The Evil Toys” to the referees of the NFC Championship Game between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams, who made a terrible “non-call” that affected the game’s outcome.

The tune itself was driving and slightly abstract featuring the bandleader blazing away, with his cohorts also contributing raucous solos. Afterwards, the group shifted to ballad “Conversation Among The Ruins” that exhibited a conversing gentler and subtler side, with Marsalis sublimely playing soprano saxophone. Pianist Andrew Hill’s “Snake Hip Waltz” had a trad jazz tinge with relaxed neobop and also showcased Marsalis’ soprano talents, along with his pianist and bassist for jaunting solos.

Going further into vintage New Orleans music was classic “Sunny Side of The Street” done in a very easy flowing and highly articulated manner with a fiery drumming section to totally blow the audience away. The band continued with somewhat of the same theme, but in a modern context that was energetic and chocked with astonishing full-blown solos to generate an appreciative standing ovation. For the encore, Marsalis and crew coolly rendered bossa tune “If You Never Come to Me” and then returned to the New Orleans songbook to charmingly play “St. James Infirmary.”


Opening performer, emerging Japanese pianist Yoku Mabuchi’s Trio with Del Atkins-bass and Bob Becton-drums packed a lot into a short set. Iconic classic “So What” was given a contemporary treatment that focused on the groove, band interplay/solos and included Latin tinges. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Atkins solely played “Lift Every Voice And Sing.” The full trio continued with Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely,” laden with Mabuci’s superb piano playing, a funky bass solo and stirring drum interlude. A spirited Latin piece wrapped up the highly appealing set and was full of dazzling piano playing. That inspired the audience to clap along and give Mabuchi a standing ovation. For more info go to:



text previews

Jazz Muse Concert Series

Red TicketJazz Muse Concert Series
Janis Mann
Jeff Colella-piano,
Larry Koonse-guitar

February 23, 2019
San Fernando Valley Arts and Cultural Center
18312 Oxnard Street
Tarzana, CA 91356
Doors open at 7 pm / Show starts at 8 pm


Mr. Musichead, celebrating 20 years as a premier boutique art gallery and its owner Sam Milgrom, teamed up with Los Angeles Jazz Radio Broadcaster and Producer LeRoy
Downs and All Music Television Founder & CEO Frederick Smith, Jr to present Just Jazz featuring a lineup of internationally recognized jazz artists. From 6:30pm to Showtime, before each show, tune into “The Jazzcat” LeRoy Downs as he spins one hour of supreme, eclectic jazz live on direct from the Mr Musichead Gallery! Downs will play music and interview the weekly artist as jazz patrons are arriving for the performance, enticing listeners to come on out and be a part of the Curated Jazz Experience!! A portion of the proceeds from each show will be donated to a local charity.

Red TicketDoors Open: 6:00pm
Drinks & Appetizer Reception: 6:30pm
Live Music: 7:30pm

Feb 6 Josh Nelson + Friends

Feb 13 The Carlos Ninos Aquarian Band

Feb 20 Danny Janklow

Feb 27 Stephan Crump & The Rosetta Trio

Other upcoming artists include Marquis Hill and more…

Mr Musichead Gallery
7420 W. Sunset Blvd (across from Guitar Center)
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Jazz Bakery’s Moveable Feasts








Red Ticket

February 1 Stephon Harris Blackout
February 2 Eric Reed Quartet …. In the Spirit!
February 3 The Bennie Maupin Ensemble

February 16 Don Braden Quartet presents Earth Wind and Wonder

February 22 Ralph Peterson and The Messenger Legacy sextet

Moss Theater
New Roads School at The Herb Alpert Educational Village
3131 Olympic Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Jazz Bakery’s Moveable Feasts
(800) 838-3006

“Concerts and Conversations with Southern California Jazz Legends” made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. KJAZZ 88.1 – official media sponsor.




Tierney Sutton & Sara Gazarek

Feb 8
Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm
818 769 0905


Performances à la carte presents collaborative concerts, productions and events encompassing music, dance, theatre, fine art, visual arts, culinary arts, literature and drama to showcase the diverse talent within San Gabriel and Crescenta Valleys and throughout Los Angeles County. Singer, songwriter and Artistic Director of Performances à la Carte, Carla (Jamie) Perez, is considered a very versatile singer, a performance artist of eclectic tastes and total vocality. Although she studied with some of the world’s most renown classical singers/teachers, she considers her first voice teachers and interpreters of song growing up to be jazz greats Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson and Ella Fitzgerald and admits she frequently gave “Frankie” a spin (all via vinyl). Through her artistic endeavors with Performances à la Carte, Perez continues to create collaborative projects that promote artists, serve the public interest and that fuel her passion for beauty, authenticity and social justice.

Opening on February 24th, the first of three concerts presented on the fourth Sunday of each month features Black Market Reverie, a unique combination of New Orleans Bayou and French Cabaret Jazz with Lyman Medeiros on Bass and Renee Myara on vocals, followed by the legendary Barbara Morrison and her Trio on March 24th, and the final concert on April 28th with Eclectic Collective, featuring Jamie Perez with the Nick Mancini Collective, a nine-piece band including such jazz front-runners as saxophone tour de force, Danny Janklow and the amazingly gifted jazz pianist Michael Ragonese, in a concert of improv standards, originals and Elton John tunes that will blow your mind.



Red TicketPresents
Jazz ‘n Paz
Spring 2019 Intimate Jazz Concert Series

February 24
Black Market Reverie

March 24
Barbara Morrison and her Trio

April 28
Eclectic Collective

5:00 pm
Neighborhood UU Church
301 North Orange Grove Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91103
Series subscriptions are now on sale, offering a discount from individual concert tickets.


Embarking on the 30th Anniversary of their signature Summer Fest, the iconic Bay Area institution San Jose Jazz kicks off 2019 with dynamic arts programming honoring the jazz tradition and ever-expanding definitions of the genre with singular concerts curated for audiences within the heart of Silicon Valley. San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2019 features
some of today’s most distinguished artists alongside leading edge emerging musicians with an ambitious lineup of more than 20 concerts from February 14 – 27, 2019. The Jazz Beyond series, co-curated in partnership with San Jose Jazz and local production house Universal Grammar, presents buzzy young stars pushing the boundaries of jazz, soul and hip-hop and the Next Gen performances showcase top regional student jazz ensembles.

“Winter Fest is a microcosm of our Summer Fest programming that truly represents the richness of the South Bay community,” said SJZ Executive Director Brendan Rawson. “In addition to presenting jazz icons, international artists and some of today’s great instrumentalists, we couldn’t be more thrilled to have one of the world’s most influential music tastemakers Gilles Peterson as the pinnacle artist of this year’s Jazz Beyond programming, which explores how jazz is evolving in our time. Our efforts to program inspiring artists has a simple goal of bringing the community together through the power of music.”

“This year’s Winter Fest artist lineup is truly a cross section of internationally renowned legends such as Charles McPherson (who worked with Charles Mingus from 1960-74) and the Bay Area’s brightest emerging acts Tiffany Austin and Bells Atlas,” says Bruce Labadie, Artistic Director of San Jose Jazz. “Winter Fest always serves as a platform for marquee names (Gilles Peterson, Catherine Russell) and artistic gems moving the boundaries of jazz into more contemporary arenas (Anton Schwartz, Aaron Diehl). We’re fortunate to have such great venues to partner with in San Jose, ones that anchor Silicon Valley’s growing jazz scene. Winter Fest presents much of this year’s programming at the intimate jazz club Cafe Stritch and the stellar Hammer Theatre.”

San Jose Jazz proudly presents the following artists at Winter Fest 2019:

Gilles Peterson (DJ Set)
Catherine Russell with the SJSU Jazz Orchestra
Charles McPherson
Anton Schwartz and Kenny Washington
Aaron Diehl
Bells Atlas
La Dame Blanche
Tiffany Austin with Leon Joyce
Marcus Shelby and Adam Shulman;
JC Smith Band All-Star Blues Blowout Featuring Fillmore Slim, Kid Anderson and Rick Estrin
The Rad Trads
Kathy Kosins
SJZ Collective plays Mingus
Richie Goods
The Bay Area’s foremost youth jazz ensembles

Sponsors of San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2019 include: KCSM, DownBeat, City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, Hammer Theatre, San José State University, and The National Endowment for the Arts.

San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2019
February 14 -27, 2019
San Jose, CA
(408) 288-7557









CAP UCLA’s 2018-19 season highlights

Feb. 16
Red TicketThe Soul Rebels
The Theatre at Ace Hotel

March 20
An Evening with Lettuce and John Scofield
The Theatre at Ace Hotel

March 23
Roberto Fonseca & Fatoumata Diawara
The Theatre at Ace Hotel

Mar 28
Zakir Hussain & Masters of Percussion
UCLA’s Royce Hall

Mar 30
Nano Stern
The Theatre at Ace Hotel

Apr 7
Caetano, Moreno, Zeca & Tom Veloso
The Theatre at Ace Hotel

Apr 12
The Gloaming
The Theatre at Ace Hotel

Apr 19
Anoushka Shankar
UCLA’s Royce Hall

Subscriptions and individual tickets on sale at:


Any information to be considered for this column can be sent to: