Emerging guitarist, singer and composer Camila Meza, originally from Santiago, Chile, migrated to the U.S. to study at New York City’s The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music ten years ago. Since then she’s become a highly regarded creative force and recently performed at Cal State Northridge’s Soraya Center For The Performance Arts with her hybrid ensemble, The Nectar Orchestra. It included Noam Wiesenberg-bass/string arranger, Eden Ladin-keyboards and Keita Ogawa-drums/percussion. They interacted with Los Angeles-based wild Up string quartet consisting of Andrew McIntosh and Andrew Tholl-violins, Linnea Powell-viola and Hillary Smith-cello. Meza and the supporting musicians showcased compositions from her new CD Ámbar.
The bandleader’s angelic English singing, somewhat similar to Esperanza Spaulding, buoyantly floated over a pastoral string backdrop for “Waltz #1” while injecting tasteful guitar runs. Alternately, Milton Nascimento’s sweeping classic “Milagre dos Peixes” was livelier, more extensive and vibrantly sung in Portuguese, as strings flowed along, with piano and guitar soloing coolly.
Taking a break from the new CD, Meza showcased “Transmutation” a beautifully Spanish sung classical-tinged selection from her Jazz Gallery commissioned work Porto that included bass, guitar and piano soloing. Additionally, she showcased her favorite song, Victor Jara’s Chilean folk music classic “Luchín,” with her playing and singing solely.
Returning to the new CD was a lengthy drum solo leading to poetically lyrical and jazz grooving “Awaken,” with the core players jamming away. Wrapping up the set was forlornly Spanish sung “Kallfu” abundantly adorned by the string quartet and Meza’s band’s highly engaging interplay with her soloing and scatting profoundly to impress the crowd. For more info go to: www.camilameza.com.
Kat Edmonson, a singer, songwriter and producer born in Houston, Texas and living in New York City has an aura of innocence and curiosity, intermeshed with 21st century creativity. With Roy Dunlap-piano, Bob Hart-bass, Aaron Thurston-drums and Matt Munisteri-guitar, Edmonson showcased songs from her newly released recording Dreamers Do at Largo at the Coronet. The twenty-song project that combines popular Disney songs and standards is conceptional and focuses, naturally on dreaming. The singer explained it as being, “ The experience of dreaming, envisioning things and also wondering, if there comes a point when someone is unable to dream or it’s impractical.”
With an idiosyncratic singing style that sounds like a unique blend of Eartha Kitt, Madeleine Peyroux and Susie Arioli, with Southern charm (when speaking), Edmonson rendered an airy and wrangling version of “When You Wish Upon a Star.” In a round about way the song is also the title track, featuring the band jamming away. Another Disney tune “In a World of My Own” had western swing tinges bolstered by a tasteful guitar solo. Contrarily, “All I Do is Dream of You” had samba textures and a 60-ish organ solo that roused the audience. Edmonson’s superbly sung original Old Fashioned Gal the title track of an earlier CD overflowed with “old school” sentimentality, merged with lyrics about present day social interactions.
Injected into the program was a lingering and poignant version of “Summertime” accented by a haunting guitar solo, and carefree original “Champagne.” Additionally, Edmonson asked if there were any requests and chose to do her older pop songs easy flowing “Lucky” and introspective “If.” She concluded the show singing vintage sounding original “Sparkle and Shine” that was inspired by her seeing and greeting Fred Astaire from afar when very young. For more info go to: www.katedmonson.com
Among notable millennial players is trombonist/composer/producer/educator Nick Finzer. Based in New York City, he was the 2011 winner of the Eastern Trombone Workshop’s National Competition and works regularly with reedist Anat Cohen’s tentet, along with his own groups. Academically, the trombonist is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, earned his masters at Julliard (mentored by Steve Turre) and currently is the Assistant Professor of Jazz Trombone (new created position) at the University of North Texas. At the Blue Whale, Finzer enlisted regular band member Lucas Pino-tenor sax, Miro Sprague-piano, Alex Boneham-bass and Dan Schnelle–drums to spotlight his freshly released recording Cast of Characters.
Refreshingly, the trombonist was solidly grounded and worked in the somewhat conventional mode of a classic quintet in a post-bop context with touches of hard-bop. Notably, his influences were duos such as J.J. Johnson/Stan Getz and Curtis Fuller/Benny Golson. “Duke” was naturally influence by Ellington and swung hard with modern flair, highlighted by stellar sax, trombone and piano solos. Interestingly, “Brutus The Contemporary” was slyly thematic and at times explosive. The title was derived from Augustus Caesar and how people change in a person’s life. “You’ll Never Know The Alternative” was reflective and self-explanatory with the quintet interweaving in a relaxed, bluesy fashion, with the brass players soloing strongly.
For a change of pace, the bandleader led off with a trad styled muted solo for “While You’re Gone” for his mother that eventually became an elegant ballad from a previous album and grandly showcased his impeccable skills as the other musicians masterfully intervened, including bass turning in a melodic solo. Getting back to new material was somewhat similar sounding, but more modern and upbeat “The Weatherman” for Finzer’s recently passed away grandfather that closed with a drum trade off. “The Evolution of Perspective” finished the set and was the most progressive sounding of the numbers performed, with the trombonist and sidemen intensely blazing away to the audience’s delight. For more info go to: www.nickfinzermusic.com
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:
Singer/lyricist/pianist Dave Frishberg is not doing well at all. If you who have enjoyed the gift of Dave’s music, please feel inspired to help him now that he needs it.
May 13, 2020
Streaming event celebrating the second anniversary of Just Jazz Live Concerts at Mr Musichead Gallery in Hollywood. LeRoy Downs, “The Jazzcat” Los Angeles radio host and curator of the Just Jazz series, will host the virtual program featuring archival and at-home artist performances, special shoutouts, plus music photography and original artwork handpicked by Sam Milgrom of Mr Musichead. Just Jazz would like to continue to support jazz artists during these challenging COVID-19 times that make it difficult for musicians to thrive. The event will stream live on and on Just Jazz TV websites.
Online Music Festival
May 23, 2020
Adam Hawley Back on FB Live: Adam will be back at the same time, same place this Mondays at 7pm PST/10pm EST. He’ll be back with your requests, do another show-and-tell on his studio and recording process, and we’ll definitely see an encore performance from his wife and vocalist extraordinaire Kat Hawley. Just go to his Facebook page!
Jazz Foundation Of America Presents: #TheNewgig Live!
2020 Covid-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund Concert
The bottom has fallen out of the live music industry. Concerts, tours, and festivals have been canceled. Clubs, bars, and restaurants have closed. Our jazz and blues community is one of the earliest to be hit and one of the least equipped to endure such a disruption. The need is unprecedented but reminds us of JFA’s mission and purpose to provide emergency assistance in times of crisis.
In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jazz Foundation of America continues to connect with hundreds of jazz and blues musicians to provide compassionate counsel and offer direct financial support.
We have a large and growing number of clients who rely on us due to illness, old age, lack of work, or other circumstances. These artists live precariously even in good economic times, with no job security and minimal savings. Now they face an indefinite period of financial free fall, with months of gigs lost already.
One after another, musicians are saying the same thing: “I don’t know how I will provide for my family.”
We have established a COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund to help musicians and their families with basic living expenses. Your contributions expand the scope of this effort. Jazz and blues will continue to give comfort and solace to lovers of the music throughout this crisis and beyond it.
May 14, 2020
Fred Hersch on Facebook
During the entire quarantine period, Qwest TV also broadcasts a flagship program from its catalog every day at 9pm (CET) / 3pm (EST), available from the platform’s Facebook and YouTube accounts. Among the Qwest TV gems, Internet users will discover next week:
For more information on Qwest TV, visit qwest.tv.
NEW JAZZ VIDEOS
“Beyond Symphonic Jazz” explores where the worlds of jazz and classical music meet with interviews with some very special composers and performers. The show also features rare recordings along with new works that continue the great American tradition of symphonic jazz. Where the musical lines start to blur, is where things get Interesting.
Hosted by SJO Music Director Mitch Glickman, Beyond Symphonic Jazz radio show features in-depth interviews. The 2-hour radio show on KJazz 88.1 FM airs every Sunday evening from 9 – 11 pm (PST). The broadcasts are archived and can be listened to anytime you’d like. (The archives are available for two weeks following the broadcast.)
The Symphonic Jazz Orchestra’s CD with commissioned works by George Duke Dark Wood: Bass Concerto for McBride, Lee Ritenour Symphonic Captain’s Journey, along with George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue can be purchased on the website.
May Special Guests:
May 3 Saxophonist/composer Miguel Zenon
May 10 French horn player John Clark
May 17 Multi-instrumentalist Ben Wendel
May 24 Composer/arranger Carlos Franzetti
May 31 Bass player Hans Glawischnig
www.SJOmusic.org For extra offers and info, go to Facebook!
Any information to be considered for this column can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org