the word contemporary

By Chris J. Walker

The Sound Of Parliament Funkadelic: A Conversation With Bootsy Collins & Jim Vitti at the Grammy Museum was one of the rare opportunities when an audience got an inside view of the nuts and bolts of creating funk. Legendary bassist and space funkateer Bootsy Collins and respected sound engineer Jim Vitti recalled their years working together at the famous United Sound System Studios in Detroit, along with the difference between working with James Brown and George Clinton. Collins and Vitti came together by odd circumstances. Vitti became an engineer due to his love of electronics and came up through ranks and worked for Sony. But eventually he received a call and got an offer from Don Davis, a producer for Stax Records. He bought United, but didn’t know anything about running a studio and needed help. Vitti obliged, leaving the security of Sony and ended up working with a lot characters that included Collins.

The bassist and his guitarist brother Catfish who started working for James Brown and then got fired were lured to Detroit to be the working band for the Spinners in the mid ‘70s. They however, ditched those plans and ended up connecting with George Clinton and touring. Concurrently, none of engineers at United Studios wanted to work with Parliament Funkadelic. So Vitti volunteered, started liking the band and worked endlessly to match their live sound and recordings. Collins provided more challenges, by adding lots of effects (three different bass outputs) and always had plenty of songs to record. Additionally, the bassist figured out that Clinton the bandleader wouldn’t come to the studio until late in the afternoon. So he contrarily came to the studio in the morning to experiment and lay down innovative tracks. Overall, Collins, his brother and entourage developed a close and special relationship with the engineer.

Besides talking about the sessions and the mechanics, tracks from Funkadelic Parliament and Bootsy’s Rubber Band recordings were played and thrilled the audience. Collins and Vitti also recanted some of the crazy antics with Clinton in the studio—basically turmoil and insanity, but things got done. Davis the owner thought the bands were a lost cause and not worth the effort, but was proved wrong. In the closing moments the engineer and bassist talked about reuniting again in the studio. Q&A from the audience covered the vastness of United Studio, Collins working with Buckethead, technicalities of his bass playing and what did Vitti learn from the sessions.


Band on top if the word Fusion

Mark De Clive-Lowe, a keyboardist/composer/producer is at the cross roads of jazz, hip-hop, electronic and avant-garde music. He was born in New Zealand to a father from the country and a Japanese mother. He got into his native country’s music scene while still in high school and then afterwards in London. Since arriving in Los Angeles 10 years ago he has worked with Kamasi Washington, Nia Andrews, Eric Harland, Harvey Mason, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Dwight Trible, Jean Grae and many others. All of Clive-Lowe’s past endeavors came to fruition at the Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo for Heritage II. The ambitious undertaking showcased the keyboardist’s latest projects Heritage and Heritage II. Participants for the performance were Mario Castro-saxophone/flute, Teodross Avery-saxophone, Brandon Eugene Owens-bass, Tommasco Cappellato-drums, Carlos Niño-percussion, Yvettte Hozwarth and Tylana Tengo-dancers, Enamoto-violin, Tam Lea-viola, Artyom Manukyan-cello, Travis Flournoy-live visuals and Kuniharu Yoshida-Japanese calligrapher.

The concert started with the calligrapher dramatically sketching the title to a pre-recorded backdrop of a pond and its inhabitants for Asian themed “The Offering.” It somewhat resembled work from the group Hiroshima, but with much more depth. From there the band continued with compositions from Heritage and played “Bushidō” (Code of The Warrior) that was assaulting and featured the string quartet with Clive-Lowe’s electronic effects and blistering piano solo. Contrarily, “Memories of Nanzenji” was a shimmering soundscape with the string quartet accenting to depict the grounds of a 13th century temple in Kyoto Japan. “Mizugaki” was a dynamic sax driven piece exploring origins. Changing things drastically was “Akatombo” a famous Japanese folk song the bandleader jazzed up some on piano solely.

After intermission, Heritage II was showcased beginning with “O-EdoNihonbashi”
derived from a Japanese folk song and bolstered with intense saxophone interaction, along with piano soloing and a strong percussive backdrop. “Bushidō II” picked up where the first piece left off and was equally hard-hitting featuring saxophones. Continuing with more Japanese folklore Clive-Lowe unveiled flowing strings adorning “Ryūgū-jō,” a tune based on a warrior saving a turtle who rewards him taking him to the undersea Dragon Castle for festivities. It lasted three nights that each are 100 years in human time. Getting into some Coltrane tinged saxophone was easy flowing funk and a grand Asian themed “Isan” (Heritage). Building on the funk to end the long show was “Miraino Rekishi” (The History of the Future) with strings, saxophones and electronics garnishing. For more info go to:

The word world in blue colors and green colers

Renowned sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar, the daughter of deceased sitar legend Ravi Shankar, returned after a three-year break to UCLA’s Center For The Art of Performance at Royce Hall. Ojas Adhiya-tabla, Pirashanna Thevarajah-mridangam, Ravichandra Kulur-flute, Danny Keane-cello/piano and Kenji Ota-tanpura supported Shankar. The ensemble began with one of the first compositions the bandleader had ever written. It started slowly with sitar and tanpura, blossomed out to flute soloing, before increasing in tempo as percussion joined in to accent and complete the raga themed piece. After the intense workout the players continued doing melodic “The Sun Won’t Set” with piano, sitar and flute dominating. It was originally recorded with Shankar’s half-sister Nora Jones singing, and for the performance flute emulated her part. Contrarily, yet to be recorded “Genna” was a flurry of flute, tabla and sitar jamming away to the audience’s delight.

Shankar recently scored the remake of 1927 silent film Shiraz (Shiraz: A Romance of India) a dramazation influenced by the celebrated love story between Shah Jahan and his 14th wife Mumtaz Mahal. She died in1631 and inspired the construction of the iconic Taj Mahal a year later, considered one of the world’s seven wonders. The sitar player spotlighted several of her compositions from the film starting from the middle and jumping around afterwards. The first selection featured Shankar playing solely and beautifully initially, before being joined first by cello, and then full band for a sensual dance-like section. Piano became the foundation from there, with the other instruments vibrantly playing off it. Percussion set the mood for flute and sitar to take work in tandem, as cello and a heated percussion solo added texture for a somewhat suspenseful passage. Concluding, the film tracks was a celebratory number bolstered by extensive tabla soloing, a somber piano and sitar section, and full group triumphantly returning for lively jamming to receive an enthusiastic standing ovation.


Both a five-time Latin Grammy and single Grammy Award winner, Lila Downs boldly celebrated indigenous Mexican culture at Disney Hall. She most likely won’t get any invitations to perform at the White House these days (she performed there before Trump). The singer donning traditional Mexican peasant clothing and her sextet led by saxophonist/husband Paul Cohen were extremely festive, and excited the audience from beginning to end, which included several encores. During the interim Downs who was born in Oaxaca, Mexico to Mexican and American parents, while also growing up in California and Minnesota showcased songs from her latest album Al Chile, along with older and also traditional tunes. Videos showing Mexican women cooking with chili peppers were projected overhead and the singer vibrantly danced around the stage as she sang. Not to be left out were Downs’ songs about Mole and Mescal accompanied with supporting video and graphics displayed.

The attending crowd, mixed in with those also wearing Mexican clothing, loved every second of the performance, and some often shouted and howled approvingly. Downs in response went out into the nearby aisles to sing and dance more intensely. The band jammed away, and at different junctures were spotlighted individually and with the headlining artist who sang mostly in Spanish. Interestingly, there was no mention of recent Academy Award winning (3) film Roma and its success. Most likely, because Downs has had reverence for Mexico’s underclass long before it was popular and in vogue. Opening the concert was indie/electronic trio Helado Negro, headed by singer/guitarist Roberto Lange. Their music was both ethereal and jarring at different intervals.

Text Special Mention

Ruth Price, Founder and President of the Jazz Bakery announced that it was Hungarian pianist/composer Daniel Szabo’s night as he unveiled his Visionary project, presented by drummer Peter Erskine at the Moss Theatre. It began in a trio format with Szabo, Erskine and Edwin Livingston-bass playing “Eastinato,” a stirring and fluid lightly classed thematic piece from the bandleader’s prior recording with the same personnel.

Afterwards the Visionary suite was showcased, and Szabo described it as, “an integration of classical, jazz, some folk and film scoring, while also representing bridges between concerts and continents.” He grew in Central and Eastern Europe, lived in Boston for a while and has been in Los Angeles for eight years. Consequently, he has many influences culturally and musically, while striving to intermix composed and improvised sections, along with hoping to have a connection between the musicians and audience.

His large ensemble included Charlie Bisharat-1st violin, Sara Parkins-2nd violin, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson-viola, Mike Kaufman-cello, Chris Bleth-oboe, John Yoakum-English horn, Chad Smith-bassoon, Katisse Buckingham-flute/tenor saxophone, Kim Richmond-clarinet/alto & soprano saxophones and Phil O’Connor-bass clarinet. They began with “Vaison-La-Romaine,” a stimulating tribute to French classical composers Erik Satie and Maurice Ravel that merged woodwinds and the core trio. Violins solely began the title selection that eventually became an intriguing Béla Bartók influenced classical and folk music piece.

The band downsized to a quartet featuring Buckingham on flute for an easy flowing ballad-like “Underwater” that was also highlighted by bass and piano solo. With full band reunited they continued in the same vein with an arrangement of Wayne Shorter’s “Infant Eyes” with much more density that included brass and woodwind forays to draw strong audience response. “Floating” was similar, but with also strings to bolster it. Concluding the ambitious program was modern classical oriented “Cosmic” that showcased the bandleader’s chops.


Pianist Andy Milne, former longtime member of Steve Coleman’s M-Base Collective and 2019 Juno Award Winner (Canadian Grammy) appeared at Just Jazz. Supporting him was John Hebert-bass and Clarence Penn-drums. Milne was happy to be back in LA and very comfortable, even after a five-year gap since his last appearance here. After initial greetings and introductions, the trio got underway with an interpretation of Monk’s “Evidence” that was explorative with a crescendo that became quite heated featuring everyone soloing.

A few years ago, the keyboardist scored several films for actor/producer William Shatner, and from Close-up he showcased “Vertigo on Opening Night” as an improvisational piece. It was an airy and slow developing soundscape with plenty of space for the musicians to interweave and interact. From the Juno Awarded CD was avant-garde “Capturing The Castle.” Additionally, Milne spotlighted several new untitled and unrecorded pieces that he asked the audience help name. Both were very hard-driving post bop, with one being was more rhythmic and expansive. Penn set the tone with a solo intro for “G-Wah” dedicated to remarkable harmonica player Grégoire Maret that became an energetic and abstract jaunt with the players engaging intensely. Taking things to an even higher level was a thunderous McCoy Tyner composition, and closing things out was standard “Lulu’s Back in Town.”


Taking a departure from regular showcases, the Just Jazz series spent an evening for Celebrating James Newton (also he and host LeRoy Downs’ birthday). Newton who is presently unable to play due to an injury, is a monumental figure in jazz locally, nationally and internationally. He currently is a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles in the Department of Ethnomusicology, whose work encompasses chamber, symphonic, and electronic music genres. Additionally, he has composed for ballet, modern dance, jazz and world music contexts. Furthermore, Newton who has performed with many top-flight jazz and classical musicians, along with orchestras, is the recipient of many awards, fellowships and grants. Among them are the Ford Foundation, Guggenheim, National Endowment of the Arts and Rockefeller Fellowships, Montreux Grande Prix Du Disque, Downbeat International Critics Jazz Album of the Year and the top flutist for a record-breaking 23 consecutive years in Downbeat Magazine’s International Critics Poll.

Playing in the flautist/educator/composer/conductor’s honor was Nicole Mitchell-flute, Bennie Maupin-sax, Luca Mendoza-piano, Anthony Fung-drums, Shana Tucker-cello and Roberto Miranda-bass. They began with late 90’s composition (created as part of a Ford Foundation grant in Beijing, China with Jon Jang) “Searching For Freedom, ” which Newton said about the icon Paul Robeson coming up in the church. The tune was bluesy with an avant-garde twist adorned with solos from cello, flute, soprano sax and piano. The next piece was abstract, featuring Mitchell and Miranda extensively. It dated back to 1979, and was written by Dwight Andrews, now an evangelist in Atlanta. “Las Dos Fridas” was part of Newton’s Suite For Frida Kahlo with piano coolly percolating unconventionally as the group supported. “The Verdict” an intense number bolstered by saxophone was written in response to the Rodney King Uprising in 1992, and Newton asked, “Where are we now?”

After Mitchell praised Newton, and he did the same for Maupin, “Today at Midnight” ended the invigorating show. Prior to it the flautist/educator/composer/conductor emotionally recalled naming the piece for his grandmother when she passed away. She fought his drill sergeant father for him to be a musician. It was highlighted by flute and Tucker’s mix of chanting/scatting/spoken, with the other players also regally contributing and soloing. Without a doubt, Newton was very happy with the results.


Vocalist Tierney Sutton performed with the Terry Trotter at the Moss Theatre for a truly remarkable evening. Pianist Trotter began doing an introspective solo piece, somewhat of a treat for the venue’s Founder and President Ruth Price whose birthday was the day before. Afterwards Sutton with Chuck Berghofer-bass and Ray Brinker, the singer’s longtime drummer joined the bandleader for a cool swinging version of “I Remember You” that was augmented with solos from the entire trio. Beautifully sung and played ballad “The Shadow of Your Smile” followed and started with an added verse Trotter brought to the singer’s attention for more depth.

The singer did duets with each of the players, and with Berghofer she soulfully sang and scatted “But Not For Me” that included a lengthy bass solo to wow the audience. The bassist also later amusing sang Bobby Toupe’s “Story of The Three Bears.” “If I Should Lose You” is a tune Sutton only sings with Trotter and it was performed hauntingly, along with “Some Another Time.” Brinker and her rendered a rousing version of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” to draw strong crowd response. They also snuck in their rollicking version of the “Trolley Song” that is only available digitally.

With the full trio, the singer sang songs with lyrics from the Bergman’s such as “Make The World Your Own” (slated for the children’s animated film Madeline, but never used), bossa “Not Too Long Ago” (English lyrics for Jobim “Caminhos Cruzados”). Ballad-like “Roundabout,” lyrics not written by the Bergman’s was included and performed. Furthermore, Sinatra’s “How About You” was jazzed up and personalized some by Sutton for the gig to make things interesting, along with hip solos from piano, bass and drums. “I Just Found Out About Love” was given the same treatment and closed out the show to receive a standing ovation.



It’s been a long time coming, and vocalist Karina Corradini who moved to Los Angeles twenty years ago from her native Argentina finally completed her debut recording, Bridge to Infinity (Tribute to Zane Musa). A CD Release Party was held for it at the Barbara Morrison Performing Art Center, with Mahesh Balasooriya-piano, Will Lyle-bass, Roy McCurdy-drums, Nolan Shaheed-trumpet, Murray Middleman-saxophone and Munuyngo Jackson-percussion.

The singer passionately began with “You Turned The Tables on Me” and worked out with her band. Cole Porter’s “All of You” kept the party going with sweet singing and cool band swinging, with solos from bass, trumpet and piano. Zane Musa the band’s deceased and highly regarded saxophone player was honored through gentle ballad “If You Went Away,” featuring Carradina singing sultrily with the saxophonist’s recorded track. Without Musa, “I Could Have Told You” was done with the same mood and cadence.

“I’m Going to Love My Heart” shifted things up-tempo with strong singing and featured saxophone, piano and trumpet soloing tastefully. Alternately, Dori Caymmi’s Brazilian classic “Doralice” took Corradini back to her roots when she discovered music from the neighboring country, and featured flute and piano. “Cai Dentro” recorded by legend Elis Regina kept the festive mood going, while displaying Corradini and the band’s adeptness who all jammed away. In the same vein was samba flavored “Você E Eu (You and I).” “É Com Esse Que Eu Vou” sung in Portuguese expressed the bitter sweetness of Carnival. Returning things to mellower faire included “What a Difference a Day Makes” popularized by Dinah Washington and sung emotively by Corradini. “When The Time is Right” written by vocal mentor Howlett Smith related to previous song and gave the singer an opportunity to swing and groove with the band. She and the band continued superbly doing “The Sky is Blue” (not on the CD) to wrap up the show. For more info go to:


Cutting edge composer/keyboardist/educator Vijay Iyer brought his Sextet to Cal State Northridge’s Soraya auditorium that was rearranged into an intimate club setting. Besides himself Iyer, enlisted a cast of heavyweights for the concert. The musicians for the eight-year configuration were Steve Lehman-alto saxophone, Mark Shim-tenor saxophone, Graham Haynes-cornet/fluegelhorn/electronics, Stephan Crump-bass and Jeremy Dutton-drums. Before getting started Iyer stated that “the band takes on a life of its own and he just enjoys whatever unfolds,” and thanked the audience for attending. From there, selections from the ensemble’s latest studio recording 2017 Far from Over were highlighted.

“Down to The Wire,” punctuated by the bandleader’s cascading keyboard intro with funky drumming, led to a fiery brass interlude with multiple solos that included Haynes employing electronic devices to push the threshold. The piece segued into the CD’s title track, a monster jam intermixing powerful modes incorporating India ragas and American jazz with numerous solos. Afterwards, funk and avant-garde merged “For Amiri Baraka” with contrasting brass and electronics intersecting, with driving keyboards, bass and drums.

Returning from intermission, the progressive group continued with more intelligent and stimulating pieces, heighten by extraordinary individual playing and ensemble interactions. Embedded into the concert was the prevailing raga/jazz theme that ranged from subtle keyboard to a full onslaught of robust horns and rhythms, while also being experimental and unconventional. Overall, the music kept the audience on the edge of their seats and thoroughly engaged.



Just Jazz recently showcased Chicago-based Isaiah Collier and the Chosen Few! James Wenzel-bass and Kela Sesson-drums supported saxophonist Collier. They got down to business playing a bumping neo-bop version of Jimmy Heath’s “Ginger Bread Boy” that featured the bandleader blazing away. His cohorts were steadfast, extremely adaptable and full of energy, while also soloing extensively. They quickly segued to original “Tri-Steps” to maintain the pace.

Slowing things down afterwards, saxophonist J.D. Allen’s ballad of sorts “Godspeed” was artfully rendered by Collier and crew. Things livened up a bit more afterwards as the saxophonist fired off “Walk Me Lord,” a robust mixture of gospel and jazz motifs, with bass and drums providing additional firepower and solos. New tune “Chili-Mac” was equally energetic and significantly resonated the spirit of John Coltrane. During the final moments of the set Collier was joined by Chicago friends Tony Olando-piano and Emma Dayla-bass for more resounding music. For more info go to: facebook.


Hubert Laws, comfortable in the idioms of jazz, classical, contemporary jazz, Broadway and R&B/funk, and has long been regarded as “the consummate flautist.” He’s been the recipient of numerous rewards and honors, along with being the top flautist for 21 annual DownBeat Polls. Additionally, Laws has performed and recorded with a wide range of artists and orchestras such as Mongo Santamaria, Jim Hall, James Moody, Clark Terry, George Benson and the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein. Much like his astounding career, he played a variety of selections that spanned many eras at the Jazz Bakery’s Moss Theatre with plenty of anecdotes. Band members for the show were Rob Mullins-synthesizer, John Leftwich-bass, Mitch Foreman-piano, Joey Heredia-drums and special guest Dayren Santamaria-violin.

Getting things underway was Laws’ funky Afro-Cuban styled and richly textured “Bloodshot” featuring him majestically soaring as the band grooved along. Classical romantic “Stay With Me” (from the same recording), augmented by reggae-tinged bridges followed and was equally compelling. In the realm of mainstream or what Laws called “spang-a-lang jazz” was “Bimbe Blue” featuring violin in tandem with flute for hip swinging that included bass, piano, flute and electric piano soloing. In a lighter vein was “My Time Will Come.” “Mean Lene” also Afro-Cuban oriented, included violin and drum solos to add tension that emulated Laws’ former wife.

During the second set Sonny Rollins’ “Airegin” (Nigeria spelled backwards) featured a lengthy solo flute intro, and with the full band was swinging bebop with piano, bass and drums also soloing. In a more sentimental mood was trombonist J.J. Johnson’s “Lament” done as a duet with Laws and Mullins, while Kurt Weill’s “My Ship” with full band flowed beautifully. Santamaria who patiently waited and only did some accompaniment, finally had her moment to shine with Ernesto Lecuona’s riveting classical gem “La Malagueña.” Piano, flute and drums also soloed to blow the audience away as well. The piece drew an enthusiastic standing ovation and could have easily ended the show. Laws though carried on with classical tinged funk groove “What a Night” and received another ovation.


Pianist and educator Alan Pasqua, with his trio Darek Oles-bass and Conor Malloy-drums performed at the Jazz Bakery’s Moss Theatre recently. Pasqua who has performed with an interesting variety of creative spirits from Tony Williams to Bob Dylan, and Eddie Money to Joe Williams, is extremely versatile. However, left to own devices prefers to be subtle and coolly interact with his backing players. They quickly began stretching and improvising on standards “Body And Soul,” “All of You” and Dizzy Gillespie’s “Con Alma.” Pasqua also took a moment to showcase his own, somber “Vienna” that was garnished by Oles’ solo section.

His former mentor Jaki Byard’s bluesy and upbeat “Chandra,” something he always features, was performed with spirit and adroitness, spotlighting all the players. More along the lines of mainstream was Keith Jarrett’s interpretation of “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me.” Significantly more thematic was Pasqua’s “Highway 14” with bass soloing and complimenting, which he dedicated to Ruth Price, who loves the piece. Ballads were not forgotten with the trio playing David Mann’s “In The Wee Hours of The Morning” and Charlie Chaplin’s enduring “Smile.” Pasqua concluded the set by doing Hank Mobley’s blues/gospel styled “The Turnaround!” with the trio fervently working out. For more info go to:


MONK’estra, the creation of pianist/arranger/composer/producer John Beasley celebrating Thelonious Monk’s great music, played in septet mode at the Moss Theatre. Members of the unit were Gene Coye-drums, Ben Shepherd-bass, Keith Fiddmont and Tom Luer-saxophone, Jame Ford-trumpet and Francisco Torres-trombone. They shot at the gate doing a fiery version of “I Mean You” with brass and the rhythm section reeling away. Beasley led off quirky and spiraling “Gallop’s Gallop” that was full of remarkable band play and engaging solos. Taking a break from Monk material was “Stevo” written for Beasley’s friend saxophonist Steve Tavaglione. It was very upbeat and comparatively conventional, yet exhilarating and bolstered by great playing.

Returning to Monk tunes, was ballad of sorts “Crepuscule With Nellie” (Monk’s caring wife) accented by Beasley playing melodica as the septet played in vintage mode with a taste of funk. In a modern context the ensemble got into lesser-known “Decidedly” that was full of the composer’s signature musical twists and turns. As a bonus harmonica player Ronnie Kaya from the Herbie Hancock Institute did a stirring duet rendition of “Ruby My Dear” with Beasley that astonished the audience. With full band reunited haunting “Ugly Beauty” was performed with atmospheric touches enhanced by the trombone and a hard-hitting drum solo. “Skippy” wrapping up the show was one of the more challenging tunes for the septet, with multiple tempos and melody lines. For more info go to:


Established as primarily a music venue, the Grammy Museum was transformed into a stage for Notes On Living: All-Star Jazz With Tales By Brian Doyle. Thespians from stage, film and TV shows did fascinating spoken word readings. Among them were: Fred Melamed (A Serious Man, Fargo), JK Simmons (Whiplash, Counterpart), Jing Lusi (Crazy Rich Asians, Gangs of London), Edi Gathegi (Starup, The Blacklist: Redemption), Gethin Anthony (Aquarius, Game of Thrones), Lesley Nicol (Downton Abbey, Beecham House), Antonique Smith (RENT on Broadway, Luke Cage, Notorious), Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years, Independence Day), Wendie Malick (Hot in Cleveland, Just Shoot Me!), Rhashan Stone (All About Eve on London’s West End, Carters Get Rich, Strikeback), Bruce Vilanch (Hairspray on Broadway, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan), Michael Nouri (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: Amercian Crime Story, Flashdance).

WordTheatre Productions’ Artistic Director/Producer Cedering Fox additionally assembled an incredible band to back the actors and play tunes between performances. It included pianist/Musical Director Starr Parodi, Wayne Bergeron-trumpet, Jamie Hovorka-trumpet, Bernie Dresel-drums, Nedra Wheeler-bass and Alex Budman-reeds. The monologues based on the writings by Doyle, who was based in Portland and died in 2017. His work explored the human condition, relationships, compassion, romance and even sports. The actors vividly portrayed the short pieces to cover the spectrum of emotions the made the audience cry, reflect and laugh. Antonique Smith bookended the special event passionately singing the Beatles’ “Let it Be” and “Here Comes The Sun.” For more info go to:



Guitar legend Kenny Burrell took a fall two years ago. He is still recovering and on sabbatical from UCLA. Essentially, he is still unable to play and/or teach. Help is needed and welcomed. Here’s the link for donations setup by his wife Katherine:





text previews

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

July 3 Oscar Hernandez
Jul 10 Curtis Taylor
Jul 17 Purple Gums
Jul 20 Cortney + Friends *2:00 PM Saturday Special
Jul 24 Sarah Reich
Jul 31 Greg Osby

Other upcoming artists include Marquis Hill and more…

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


Red TicketJazz Bakery’s Moveable Feasts

July 13
The Bill Holman Big Band Roars again!
Kirk Douglas Theatre
9820 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

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.



Silicon Valley’s premier annual music event, San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2019 returns for its 30th Anniversary festival season from Friday, August 9 through Sunday, August 11 in and around Plaza de César Chavez Park in downtown San Jose, Calif. Expanding from its early days as a one-stage, eight-act event to one of North America’s foremost music festivals, San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2019 presents for its 30th Anniversary more than 100 acts on a record 14 stages.

The 30th Annual San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2019 features an acclaimed lineup, and San Jose Jazz recently announced its second round of confirmed artists including: Dianne Reeves, Gregory Porter, Pink Martini, The O’Jays, Orquesta La-33, Fred Hersch, Roberta Gambarini Quartet, Sons of Kemet, Monty Alexander and the Harlem-Kingston Express, Ivan Lins, Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward, Veronica Swift with the Emmet Cohen Trio, Sammy Miller and the Congregation, Marcus Shelby Orchestra with Tiffany Austin, En Vogue, The Family Stone, Carl Allen’s Tribute to Art Blakey, Sylvia Cuenca Quartet With Gary Bartz, Elio Villafranca: Cinque, Kim Nalley Trio with James Carter, Mads Tolling and Mads Men, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Kassa Overall, Marquis Hill Blacktet, Ellis Marsalis Piano Competition Winners, China Moses, Gunhild Carling, Aki Kumar’s Bollywood Blues, Emmet Cohen and Tootie Heath, and more!

August 9 – 11, 2018
Plaza de César Chavez Park
Downtown San Jose, CA



CAP UCLA’s 2019-20 season highlights

Red TicketOct 3
Chick Corea

with Christian McBride & Brian Blade
Royce Hall

Oct 11
The Ford Theatres in association with CAP UCLA Presents
Hassan Hajjaj
My Rock Stars Experimental – Live!
Ford Theatres

Nov 2
Aaron Neville Duo
Royce Hall

Nov 10
Joshua Redman Quartet with The Bad Plus
Royce Hall

Nov 16
Sergio Mendes & Bebel Gilberto
Royce Hall

Nov 23
The Theatre at Ace Hotel

Dec 5
Bill Frisell & Julian Lage Duo
Royce Hall

Dec 7
Royce Hall

Jan 25, 2020
The Theatre at Ace Hotel

Feb 7, 2020
Gregory Porter
Royce Hall

Feb 20, 2020
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Royce Hall

Feb 28, 2020
Omar Sosa & Yilian Cañizares
Aguas Trio

Featuring Gustavo Ovalles
Royce Hall

Mar 7, 2020
Octavia E. Butler’s
Parable Of The Sower
Created By Toshi Reagon and
Bernice Johnson Reagon
Music and Lyrics By Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon
Directed By Eric Ting
Royce Hall

Mar 26, 2020
Fly Higher: Charlie Parker At 100
Co-musical Directors: Rudresh Mahanthappa & Terri Lyne Carrington
Royce Hall

Apr 18, 2020
Perla Batalla
Discoteca Batalla
The Theatre at Ace Hotel

Apr 25, 2020
Anthony De Mare
Liaisons 2020: Re-imagining Sondheim From The Piano
Royce Hall

Subscriptions and individual tickets on sale at: 310.825.2101



“Subtle as smoke itself, the poetry of personal freedom & social justice dance through 100 years of cannabis flavored music and art that will be celebrated in this DTLA Saturday block party,” said David Garza, one of the featured artists. “We are thrilled to kick off the Audacity of Sound at 3pm with our fresh new takes on works varied as 1913 Mexican Revolution soldado’s rowdy ‘La Cucaracha’ through Cab Calloway’s Depression era ‘Reefer Man’ and up to LA Latino Hip Hop legends Cypress Hill.”

Margaret Cho will be among the featured guests for Garza’s set that will also include La Marisoul, Mia Doi Todd, Kenton Chen, Martha Gonzalez and Hope Wright. In addition, the Garfield High School Marching Band will be performing some classic tunes. Grand Performances has also released its official Audacity of Sound Spotify Playlist that features 21 tracks from all of the participating performers giving listeners a preview of this global journey of exploration through North America, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.

The free and all-ages music festival continues Grand Performances’ fearless mission of presenting works from local and international artists that pushes boundaries, opens minds and challenges conventional thinking all within a friendly, inclusive environment. The Audacity of Sound will also feature local food trucks for convenient dining, water stations, a children crafts and reading room and much more. Attendees are encouraged to wear green and bring their own water bottles to reduce the event’s carbon footprint as Grand Performances is dedicated to creating an environmental friendly space for all.

The Artists/Performances and Lineup:


David Garza: Normalize! Harmonize!
Los Angeles & Austin-based singer-songwriter David Garza is a musicians’ musician whose current most visible project is the soundtrack of HBO’s “Running with Beto”. Known for his prolific output of rock, pop, Latin diaspora sounds, and socially conscious lyrics – Garza returns to GP with a set that features a century of songs about cannabis. Garza returns to GP with a fun and surprising set that tells the centuries old story of cannabis through song – roughly a song per decade – featuring music penned by artists ranging from Cab Calloway to Cypress Hill.

Las Musas: Chavela, Joni, Mercedes, Nina and Violeta
Two of our city’s iconic earth-strong LatinX voices pay tribute to the muses that inspire them. Playing the music of legends and musical heroines Chavela Vargas, Joni Mitchell, Mercedes Sosa, Nina Simone, and Violeta Parra, this bilingual musical feast showcases the creative solidarity of feminine and non-binary power. Guatemalan-born Gaby Moreno and L.A.’s own La Marisoul (of La Santa Cecilia fame) serve up their renditions of classic songs layered with jazz, rumba, rock, soul, cumbia and other western and Pan-Latin music styles. This is more than just a tribute performance – it is a reminder of how important the female voice continues to be especially in politically unsettling times. Ensemble: Anna Butters (bass), Barbara Gruska (drums), Nina Diaz (vocals), Dorian Wood (vocals) Madison Cunningham (vocals) and Andrea Cruz (vocals).

Jeremy Dutcher
Fewer than 10,000 Wolastoq people live in First Nations communities and Jeremy Dutcher combines his operatic, piano and composition talents to make music that focuses a much-needed light on the attempt to keep a language alive and reimagine the traditional. His solo classical piano set seamlessly incorporates 100 year old recordings of ancestral songs (learn more about that compelling story) and electronic keyboard, drum, traditional percussion, violin, bass and other samples to create exquisitely lush “post-classical Wolastoqiyik music.” His soaring vocals, tribal songs, opera and pop mix is garnering acclaim around the world and is the reason he joins a distinguished list of important, emerging indigenous and first nations artists that Grand Performances has introduced to Angelenos over the years.

The Gospel of Madame Biddy
Music to Celebrate LA’s Praise Origins and Founding Matriarch
Composer/writer/producer Dexter Story’s Grand Performances programs have paid tribute to everyone from Gil Scott-Heron to Sly and the Family Stone. This program will feature a jubilant, soul-stirring biographical gospel homage to Madame Biddy Mason, whose story of transformation from disenfranchised and displaced slave to wealthy businesswoman and founder of Los Angeles’ First AME Church is brought to life with an all-star lineup of musicians, and a 12-voice choir of Los Angeles’ best faith-based singers. Members of DTLA’s The Urban Voices Project will mingle among the audience encouraging everyone to participate in a mini sing-along. It’s a sonic expression of love and devotion to one of our city’s most extraordinary African-American women.

DjuehDjoah & Lieutenant Nicholson call themselves French-Afropeans and their music, by extension, speaks to who they are. One has to only listen to their last release Aimez Ces Airs to understand. These two dynamic composers and Afro-soul singers’ poppy, trippy, cheeky French sounds fuse jazz, Afrobeat, electronic, and soul. “That’s the Afropean sound” says the group. It’s danceable, it’s fun, it’s perfect summer music. Versatile multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger Jae Deal adds his touch as co-producer to this full-bodied celebration.

Masoud Rezaei
Born in Iran, but now based in Los Angeles, Masoud Rezaei is a composer/setar (Persian Lute) player with unparalleled talents. His journey into the world of tradition Iranian music began when he was only 11 years old, studying the intricate techniques of playing this age-old instrument and understanding how to compose the lush, beautiful scores with Iranian master musicians such as Zolfonoun, Babaei and Shoari. His love of this classic Iranian instrument led him to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Iranian Traditional Music Performance and since the early 2000s, he has been performing on the global stage composing and performing with renowned western and Middle Eastern artists. This set will feature his trademark duet with a Mathias Kunzli on western drum kit.

Sara Naeini
While it isn’t unusual for athletes to share their artistic endeavors, it is unique in Iranian culture, particularly for a female athlete. Sara Naeini (a renowned national champion gymnast since the age of eight) transformed herself into one of her country’s most influential traditional pop/rock musicians. She caught the music bug at 18 and has not looked back. The bedrock of her sound is informed by traditional classical Iranian compositions performed with oud, sifan, daf, other Middle Eastern instruments, and a healthy dose of western keyboards, drums, bass, electronics and guitars. Her ethereal voice, when mixed with pop/rock notes, becomes absolutely transcendent.

Cuban-born singer, writer and composer Erik Iglesias aka Cimafunk is well on his way to stardom having been listed by Billboard as one of the 10 Latin artists to watch in 2019. The name Cimafunk was created from the word “cimarrón” or “renegade” – a name given to African slaves who rebelled and fled from the plantations in colonial Cuba. The name pays respect to his black Cuban heritage but also his willingness to wander from the traditional trova, timba that he loves and informs his aesthetic. While he also cites Prince, James Brown, and Funkadelic as influences, make no mistake, Cimafunk’s sound is definitely his and Cuba’s own. His magnetic, rhythmic, sensual stage presence (with outfits and hair style that can only be described as 21st century funky) to this sparklingly refreshing music, and this presentation holds the promise of being a funky non-stop, in-the-groove party on Grand Avenue.

Audacity of Sound is a free, non-stop, immersive and interactive seven-hour, live musical extravaganza produced by the innovative performing arts organization, Grand Performances. This festival showcases Grand Performances’ joyous love for music from around the world and our own backyard. The festival also seeks to create signature, one-of-a-kind collaborations telling L.A. stories. Featuring jubilant gospel (with a sing-along!) opera, capoeira, a marching band, boogie-woogie piano, food trucks, a facilitated children’s craft and reading room; and more. With an anticipated record attendance this will be one of the largest events in Grand Performances’ history!

Grand Performances Presents Audacity of Sound
July 6

300 S Grand Ave (Street closed from 2nd Street to Hope Place)
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Jazz at LACMA

Red TicketThe Lao Tizer Band
Jul 5
6 pm

Benn Clatworthy and System 6
Jul 12
6 pm

SGC—The Swinging Grooving Collective
Jul 19
6 pm

Anne Walsh
Jul 26
6 pm

Smidt Welcome Plaza | LACMA

Latin Sounds

Gabrielito y La Verdad
Jul 6
5 pm

Soul Sauce
Jul 13
5 pm

One Global Radio
Jul 20

5 pm

Carol Bach y Rita
Jul 27
5 pm

Hancock Park | LACMA

Subaru Summer Jazz Nights is happening Tuesday, July 9th through Tuesday, August 6th. The Series will feature free concerts by top and cutting-edge jazz artists including Jose Rizo’s Mongorama, Bria Skonberg, Boogaloo Assassins, and more every Tuesday from 7 to 9pm in the central courtyard at Hollywood & Highland.

Subaru Summer Jazz Nights at Hollywood and Highland is sponsored by the 3-row 2019 Subaru Ascent. It’s the biggest SUV they’ve ever made. With room for up to eight, choice of second-row captain’s chairs or bench seating, plus standard symmetrical all-wheel drive with up to twenty-seven miles per gallon.


July 9

7pm – 9pm
Hosted by Bubba Jackson

July 16

7pm – 9pm
Hosted by Jose Rizo

July 23

7pm – 9pm
Hosted by Bubba Jackson

July 30

7pm – 9pm
Hosted by Bubba Jackson

August 6
7pm – 9pm
Hosted by Jose Rizo


Subaru Summer Jazz Nights
July 9th-August 6th
Hollywood & Highland Mall

Julianne and George Argyros Plaza-Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Summer Jazz

Matt Forbes and His Vintage Pop Orchestra
July 5

Boyz and the Beez
The Natalie Jacob Jazz Band
July 12

Ron Kobayashi Trio
Cathy Segal-Garcia Band
July 19

Calixto Oviedo and the Cuban Jazz Train
July 26


Segerstrom Center for the Arts

600 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626


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